On average, a person loses between 50 and 100 hairs a day. Losing hair is natural: it’s part of a healthy hair growth cycle. But what do you do if you’re losing too much hair, and you don’t know what’s causing it?
You might not have thought of this first, but it might be your hormones. We’re going to take a look at the connection between hormones and hair loss. Keep reading for everything you need to know about your hormones and how you can support healthy, happy hair.
How Does Healthy Hair Grow?
Each of your hair follicles goes through its own growth cycle. This growth cycle has three phases: anagen, catagen, and telogen.
The anagen phase is when your hair is growing. For a hair follicle, this is a period of about 2-7 years when the hair is growing actively from the root.
The catagen phase is a transitional phase. Hair follicles enter this phase after active growth. It lasts for about 2-3 weeks, and this is when hair stops growing and becomes known as club hair.
The telogen phase is a resting phase. Club hairs rest in the roots but allow new hairs to grow underneath. After this phase, which lasts about 3 months, club hairs fall out to allow more space for new hair growth.
Sometimes, though, something affects this hair growth cycle and we end up with thinning or damaged hair. Sometimes, it’s our hormones.
Hormones Related to Hair Growth
With many of our bodily systems and functions, there isn’t one thing responsible for changes. The same is true with hair growth. While hormones play a role, they aren’t the only thing that affects hair growth, and it’s not just one hormone, either.
Some of the hormones involved in hair growth include:
- Thyroid gland hormones
This isn’t even an exhaustive list. The way that our hormones interact is complex, and when some levels become a little out of the ordinary, it can set off a chain of effects throughout the body.
Can a Hormone Imbalance Cause Hair Loss?
Since both the hair growth cycle and the follicles themselves are impacted by hormones, they can certainly be affected if we find our hormones are out of balance.
In women, it’s most common to experience hair loss if hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone become unbalanced. The female population goes through a number of changes in these hormones due to the nature of pregnancy and the reproductive cycle. Estrogen, for example, increases the number of hair follicles in the anagen phase, meaning hair might fall out if estrogen declines.
Thyroid hormones also play a big role. They dictate our metabolism, and if the thyroid becomes underactive, our metabolism slows down. When this happens, certain body functions, such as maintaining skin and hair, get less attention.
What Causes Hormonal Imbalance?
Hormone levels are affected by a number of things, including pregnancy, menopause, or changes in the thyroid as touched on in the last section. But causes of hormonal imbalance aren’t always as predictable as a woman’s reproductive cycle.
It’s not necessarily normal for the hormone levels of your thyroid to be off, for example. If your thyroid is underactive, this is called hypothyroidism. If your thyroid is overactive, it’s called hyperthyroidism.
In both cases, you may notice various symptoms from the change in thyroid hormone levels. It’s best to talk to a doctor about regulating these hormones.
Stress can also have an immense effect on hormone levels. As mentioned previously, cortisol (the stress hormone) plays a part in hair growth, so unbalanced levels of stress can cause temporary hair loss. There are three types of hair loss associated with unbalanced levels of stress, particularly elevated stress.
Alopecia areata is a condition in which the body attacks its own hair follicles. This impedes their ability to grow hair and results in a substantial loss of hair.
Telogen Effluvium occurs when excess stress forces hair follicles to enter their resting (telogen) phase. This causes a more gradual loss of hair.
Trichotillomania is a psychological disorder, but it’s deeply connected to stress. People with trichotillomania have an irresistible urge to pull out their hair. They may use this as a means of dealing with negative emotions or coping with stress.
In many cases, hair loss caused by stress is not permanent. Once someone has gotten their stress under control, they will usually see a period of hair regrowth.
Addressing Hormonal Imbalance and Promoting Hair Regrowth
If you’re worried that your hair loss is being caused by a hormonal imbalance, there are steps you can take to support your hormonal health and take care of your hair.
First and foremost, a healthy diet is crucial for healthy hormones and healthy hair. A balanced diet of protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, and plenty of nutrients from fruits and vegetables can help even out your hormone levels. Protein and healthy fats in particular can also support your hair.
If you can tie your hair loss to stress, then it’s important to work on lowering your stress levels. This might be easier said than done, but it’s not a lost cause. Focus on activities you find relaxing or consider starting short, daily meditations to increase mindfulness.
Finally, there are certain vitamins and minerals that support healthy hormones and hair growth. Vitamin D, for example, helps stimulate hair follicles. You can find this vitamin in egg yolks, salmon, cheese, or through a dietary supplement.
Keeping your iron levels from getting too low is something else you can do to help prevent hair loss. Make sure to include foods like dark leafy greens, whole grains, and pumpkin seeds in your diet to keep your iron intake on track.
Understanding Hormones and Hair Loss
Now that you understand the connection between hormones and hair loss, you can take steps to make sure your hormone levels are balanced and you’re supporting healthy hair growth.
When it comes to healthy hormones, balancing your stress levels is one of the most important things you can do. But you might find that the hair loss itself is stressing you out.
If you’re currently struggling with hormonal hair loss, specifically Telogen Effluvium, and nothing seems to be working, we have a solution for you. Check out our tablets to help reduce hair shedding and promote hair growth.