Hair Loss, Menstrual Cycle and Hormones

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 11/23/2023

Ever feel like your hair has a mind of its own, thinning and shedding with the waxing and waning of the moon?

You're not alone. It's no myth that hormonal changes can play tricks on our tresses.

A twirl in front of the mirror might make you ask: "Why is my once lioness-like mane now more akin to a sparrow’s feathers?" Well, let me tell you, it's not magic or mystery but science - a dance between hormones and hair follicles.

In our shared journey, we're diving deep into why women experience hair loss during their menstrual cycle and menopause. We also cover dietary strategies to help prevent this while balancing post-menopausal imbalances.

Don't worry if you've recently stopped birth control pills - we haven't forgotten about you! On top of that, we'll be managing high estrogen levels and exploring more related topics.

Understanding Hormonal Changes and Hair Loss in Women

Hormonal fluctuations, such as those experienced during menstrual cycles or menopause, can cause hair loss due to their significant role in governing bodily functions like growth.

When these hormones fluctuate, as they do during specific periods of a woman's life, like menstrual cycles or menopause, it can result in hair loss.

Hair Loss During Menstrual Cycle

In the second half of the menstrual cycle, there is an increase in androgens - male hormones that both women and men have. This spike can lead to thinning hair or even noticeable hair loss for some women.

Menopause and Hair Loss

During menopause, a decrease in estrogen and an increase in testosterone result in higher levels of DHT (dihydrotestosterone), which is known to shrink hair follicles, causing hair loss.

The higher testosterone level converts to DHT (dihydrotestosterone), which is known to shrink hair follicles, causing hair loss.

Remember: hormonal changes are natural occurrences; you're not alone. There are strategies out there ready to help manage these shifts.

Dietary Strategies for Preventing Hair Loss

One way to prevent hair loss is by adopting dietary changes. Specific diets like low-carb or intermittent fasting can help reduce insulin levels, lowering androgens.

Ketogenic food

The Keto Diet and Intermittent Fasting

A high carb intake increases your insulin levels, which might lead to higher amounts of DHT - an enemy of hair growth. But the keto diet, being low in carbs, helps keep your insulin under control.

Fasting intermittently also plays its part. Extending the time between meals gives our bodies more opportunities to dip into fat stores for energy, leading to lower overall insulin production.

Inositol Supplementation for PCOS

Supplementing with Inositol could be beneficial if you're dealing with PCOS-related hair loss. It improves pituitary and ovary communication, which may balance out hormones that contribute to hair thinning.

Hormonal Imbalances Post-Menopause and Postpartum

In post-menopausal women, progesterone levels may drop while androgens increase, resulting in hair loss. But it's not just about these two hormones; estrogen plays a crucial role.

Post-Menopausal Hair Loss

The cessation of menstruation brings about significant hormonal changes that impact various body functions, including hair growth. As the levels of female hormones drop, there is an increase in male hormones or androgens, which can lead to thinning hair.

Postpartum Hair Loss

A sudden dip in estrogen post-childbirth may trigger temporary but noticeable hair loss among new mothers. This condition, known as telogen effluvium, happens when more hairs than usual enter the shedding phase at once.

Beyond alarming for many women, this rapid change could have longer-term implications on their overall health. Luckily, DHEA supplementation has shown promising results by restoring hormone balance and promoting healthy hair growth.

Managing High Estrogen Levels

High estrogen levels can have a significant impact on your hair health. Heavy periods often indicate heightened hormone levels and may contribute to hair loss.

Heavy Periods and Hair Loss

A surge in estrogen can lead to heavier-than-usual menstrual cycles, which might be a sign of hormonal imbalance. This situation can escalate into an iron deficiency due to excessive blood loss during these heavy periods, ultimately causing thinning hair or even outright hair loss.

The good news is that help is at hand with DIM supplements. DIM helps manage high estrogen levels effectively, offering potential relief from symptoms like hair fall associated with this condition.

High Estrogen Levels and Thyroid Function

Besides leading to heavier periods, elevated estrogen slows down thyroid function. An underactive thyroid contributes further towards worsening the state of your tresses.

Studies suggest that using bile salts and selenium could support thyroid functionality despite high estrogen counts, thereby preventing additional damage to your mane's vitality.

Hair Loss After Stopping Birth Control Pills

Many women report hair loss after stopping birth control pills. This can be a stunning and upsetting event, yet it's essential to comprehend its explanation.

The body undergoes significant hormonal changes when you stop taking these pills. By taking birth control pills, the body is tricked into believing it's pregnant due to increased estrogen levels, which prevent ovulation.

When you stop taking them, your estrogen levels drop dramatically. This sudden change can shock the hair follicles into a resting phase known as telogen effluvium, resulting in noticeable hair loss. 

However, all hope is not lost. One can take steps to help manage and potentially reverse this type of hair loss. One solution could be Inositol, which may help reset hormone flow and promote healthier lock growth patterns.

Nutrient Deficiencies Contributing to Hair Loss

Did you know your hair can suffer if you lack certain nutrients? That's right, deficiencies in trace minerals and B vitamins, including biotin, can lead to hair loss. It seems shocking, but let me break it down for you.

The deal with B vitamins is simple: they play a crucial role in creating red blood cells that transport oxygen and nutrients to the scalp and hair follicles - vital for healthy hair growth.

When we lack these critical players like biotin (Vitamin B7), our body has trouble producing enough new hairs to replace those naturally falling out.

Trace minerals also have their part in this stage. Zinc helps keep hormone levels balanced- preventing excessive shedding, while Iron ensures an optimal environment for hair cells by contributing oxygen delivery through the bloodstream.

Now tell me, are your nutrient levels checking all the boxes?

Hormone imbalance

Hormonal Imbalances and Probiotics

The potential connection between hormonal imbalances and probiotics is an area of growing interest in women's health. Research is underway to explore how probiotics may influence hormonal regulation, including menstrual cycles.

While studies are ongoing, some evidence suggests that maintaining a healthy gut microbiome through probiotic supplementation may positively impact hormonal balance, potentially leading to more regular menstrual cycles.

However, it's essential to note that individual responses to probiotics can vary, and more research is needed to establish concrete recommendations. So, can probiotics affect your menstrual cycle and help address hormonal imbalances?

While promising, individuals dealing with hormonal concerns should consult with healthcare professionals who can provide personalized guidance and treatment options tailored to their specific needs.

Hormonal imbalances are complex, and a comprehensive approach to management may include dietary changes, lifestyle modifications, and medical interventions, in addition to probiotics if deemed appropriate by a healthcare provider.

Conclusion

Unraveling the tangle of hormonal changes and hair loss in women can feel overwhelming. But you've taken strides to understand it.

You now know that fluctuations during menstrual cycles, menopause, and postpartum periods can impact your hair health.

Yet remember - knowledge is power! You've learned about dietary strategies like the keto diet or intermittent fasting, which may help balance those hormones.

You’ve discovered supplements such as Inositol for PCOS or DHEA for post-menopausal imbalances. Remember how managing high estrogen levels with DIM might support your thyroid function?

In essence, while hormone shifts may be inevitable parts of life’s journey, there are steps you can take to manage their effects on your hair health. Keep learning and stay empowered!

Supporting Data

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18333699/

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