Anyone who’s experienced hair loss can tell you that it’s a problem that’s much more than skin deep. What’s not always clear though, is that there’s an underlying cause for changes in your hair–whether it’s thinning, dry & brittle, or falling out.
Hormone imbalance is one of the most common problems that causes hair loss and once you get to the bottom of the hormone imbalance, you can often completely reverse your hair loss and regrow a healthy, bountiful head of hair.
4 Causes of Hair Loss in Women
Hormones naturally fluctuate throughout life, but what happens when they fluctuate just a little too much in the wrong direction? We start to notice symptoms all over our body, and this often includes our hair.
When hormones are imbalanced, you might notice dry or brittle hair if it’s your thyroid, or sometimes your hair will look sparse and thin. This can also occur if you have PCOS, a condition marked by excess inflammation and a change in hormones which alters hair growth.
Having a baby, menopause, and perimenopause can all cause a decrease in estrogen, which can cause hair loss. Below are the most common causes of hormonal hair loss, and how you can reverse hair loss completely naturally by healing the root cause.
I’ve included these East West methods in my 21-day course to reverse hair loss. In this course you’ll address the root causes for hair loss, and use the natural remedies I’ve developed to restore hair growth. (Plus, this course now includes a 30-day supply of Lush Locks!)
Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, is the most common type of thyroid disorder, but an overactive thyroid, called hyperthyroidism, can also cause hair loss.
Your thyroid produces your body’s master hormone, which impacts the function of dozens of other tissues, including hair follicles. Healthy levels of T4, one type of thyroid hormone, increase the time hair follicles spend in their growth (or anagen) phase (1). So without enough thyroid hormone, individual hair follicles don’t have the support they need to grow.
Hair loss due to hyper- or hypothyroidism is usually uniform all over the entire head, with sparse or thinning hair visible all over the scalp. If you experience fatigue, dry skin, or difficulty losing weight, you’ll want to explore other symptoms of thyroid problems, and speak with an integrative or functional medicine doctor about healing your thyroid.
Delivering a Baby
Or more specifically–the postpartum period. Pregnancy alters your hair’s normal growth cycle, and prevents it from shedding the usual amount of hair. During pregnancy, you might have a full, lustrous head of hair.
After delivery, several hormones–including estrogen–decrease rapidly. In addition to changes in mood, metabolism, and sleep schedules, this change in hormones also causes all the hair that wasn’t lost during pregnancy to enter it’s shedding phase. And surprise! You have a shower drain and hair brush full of hair!
What can you do about postpartum hair loss? The great news is that this is completely natural, usually peaking 2 to 5 months postpartum, and lasting for an average of 6 to 24 weeks (2). To best support this process, make sure you’re getting plenty of quality proteins, healthy fats, and adequate calories to replenish nutrients, and support healthy hair regrowth.
Menopause or Perimenopause
Another type of hair loss also affected by estrogen levels happens during menopause and perimenopause. Menopause occurs after you’ve gone one full year without a period, but leading up to that time many women go through a transition period called perimenopause, which can cause side effects like weight gain, mood swings, and hair loss.
When your body is transitioning into menopause, your ovaries gradually cease production of estrogen, one of the main hormones for healthy hair. At the same time, your adrenal glands take over a small amount of estrogen production that’s still necessary for essential functions (3).
If you experience any dysfunction in your OAT axis, which primarily occurs through things like diet, stress, or thyroid imbalance–your adrenal glands may have trouble producing the necessary hormones.
Properly supporting adrenal function during this time can make this transition more comfortable as your body adjusts to its changing hormones. Adequate intake of healthy fats ensures enough nutrients for your adrenal glands to produce hormones, and quality proteins provide amino acids like L-cysteine, which promote a lengthened growth phase for hair follicles (4).
Hormone imbalance is a one hallmark of PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome, in which inflammation and increased insulin secretion cause changes in the ovaries, affecting ovulation, weight, and frequently–hair growth.
If you’re experiencing hair loss due to PCOS, you’ll likely see hair loss and thinning especially around the crown of the head. This is due to greater androgen secretion by your ovaries. Androgens are male hormones, like testosterone, and high levels can shrink hair follicles, as well as decrease the length of their growth cycle.
Can Hormone Imbalance Cause Hair Thinning?
Maybe your hair isn’t actually falling out, but you notice it’s thin, brittle, or just not as healthy as it could be. If your hair is thinning, a hormone imbalance is likely to blame, although factors like diet and stress should be addressed as well (5).
Thyroid problems are the most common source of dry, brittle hair, and can cause hair to appear sparse all over the scalp.
Prolonged stress can also cause hair loss or thinning hair, as the body will deplete nutrients necessary for hair loss in favor of maintaining other more biologically essential functions.
Reversing Hair Loss with East West Medicine
The great news about hormonal hair loss is that it can often be reversed by correcting the hormone imbalance. Since hair loss or thinning hair is a side effect of another underlying condition, once you heal the underlying condition, your hair should begin to regrow naturally.
Of course, there are ways that we can help this process along, and a few things you can remedy at home to both balance your hormones and reverse hair loss.
Natural Hair Growth
Lush Locks works to replenish hair nutrients, control inflammation that impairs follicle function, and support healthy keratin production within the interior hair shaft itself.
This powerful support for healthy hair growth is packed with biotin, Ayurvedic botanicals, and nourishing amino acids.
Lush Locks also contains B vitamins and magnesium which promote the metabolism of amino acids (like keratin and collagen), healthy thyroid function, and DNA production and repair. B6, folate, B12, and iron support the health and production of red blood cells, which deliver nutrients and oxygen to hair follicles.
Healing Causes of Hair Loss
Different types of hormone imbalances can cause hair loss, or an unhealthy hair appearance or texture. New moms, those with thyroid conditions, or navigating menopause or PCOS may notice more hair fall than usual. And while not all hair loss is due to hormone imbalance, the above are common causes that are likely to play a role.
Hair loss causes in women should always be evaluated on an individualized basis. Hormone imbalance conditions like PCOS, estrogen dominance, or insufficient levels of sex hormones can be improved by optimizing diet and lifestyle, and a functional medicine doctor can perform tests to help you find out your individual hormone levels.
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