Hair Loss and Hormone Imbalance

Healthy Hair

 Hair loss in peri and post-menopausal women is often caused by hormone imbalance.  Estrogen, testosterone and thyroid deficiency (or thyroid excess) can also cause hair to become finer, loosing body, wave and shine.  It becomes dry and brittle, breaking easily.  The scalp becomes dry and may flake or itch.  Every single cell in the body depends on adequate levels of hormones to remain healthy and this includes the hair follicles.   Even after a patient receives hormones, the damaged hairs may continue to ‘fall out’.  What is important is the new, healthy hair growth.  With thyroid deficiency or excess, this may take months.  When testosterone is replaced, the skin and scalp become healthier within days to weeks and new hair growth is noticeable within a month.

 Some people may be confused over the term ‘androgenic alopecia’.  This refers to male pattern baldness and is not usually associated with testosterone or androgen excess.  Alopecia, or hair loss, in postmenopausal women is NOT associated with androgen excess.  In fact, at the Deja Vu Med Spa we see the most significant hair changes in women who are testosterone deficient.  In fact, 65.7% of patients with ‘thinning’ hair report hair re-growth on testosterone pellet therapy.  In rare cases, some pre-menopausal women with extremely high levels of androgens may experience hair loss if they genetically convert testosterone to DHT in the hair follicle.  Very rarely, a woman on testosterone therapy, who has this same enzyme system, may lose hair if levels get too high.

 Healthy Hair Recommendations:

  1.  Most important: HORMONE BALANCE  (thyroid, testosterone, estrogen) 
    • Too much thyroid medication is a common cause of hair thinning*
  2. Diet: whole foods (fat and protein) eggs, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables 
    • Avoid ‘processed’ carbohydrates and sugars
  3. Supplements (Most of these nutrients are found in eggs and nuts!
    • Biotin 5-8 mg per day (not the microgram dose found in a Multi-vitamin)
    • Zinc 30 mg per day
    • B-vitamin complex (B6, riboflavin, folic acid)
    • Magnesium 500 mg per day
    • Essential fatty acids (Nordic Natural Fish Oil Capsules, Flax seed)
    • Iron, if iron deficient.  Iodine, if iodine deficient.
    • Absorbable silica (5 drops per day
    • Vitamin D 3:10,000 IU per day (2 drops)
  4. Topical Minoxidil (Rogaine) OTC
    • Available at Walmart, Target and various drug stores
  5. Exercise
  6. Stress reduction (STRESS, including surgery and anesthesia, is a common cause of hair loss)
  7. Avoid chemicals (Chlorine, permanents, color) and harsh shampoo on hair.
  8. Water softener (hard water strips oils from hair making it dry and brittle)
  9. Avoid dry heat.  Humidifier in the winter

 

* The most common cause of hair loss in our practice is too much thyroid hormone.  Often TSH is < 0.6.  Restoring hormone balance, with testosterone, helps the thyroid to function better by freeing up more thyroid hormone.  Doses may have to be lowered.  High levels T3, (found in Armour/Natural thyroid and Cytomel) often cause hair loss. 

8/2010