Hair thinning is one of the most natural things that happens to the body. In a regular day, you lose 50 to 100 older hairs that are constantly being replaced by new hair. There are about 100,000 hairs growing out of your scalp at any given time.
But as you age, hair that is lost does not always get replaced by new hair growth.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, nearly half of all male and female Americans will begin showing signs of baldness by age 40.
What Causes Hair Loss?
Hair loss can be caused by a number of different factors; there is not one defined cause. However, the four main factors for hair loss are hormone levels, genes, age, and stress. Your lifestyle—including your diet, where you live, alcohol intake, and how much you sleep—can also play a part in hair loss.
Sometimes it can be hard to determine why exactly you are experiencing hair loss, so it’s important to understand just exactly what hair loss is in order to address it.
Male pattern baldness is often genetic. It’s called androgenic alopecia or androgenetic alopecia.
Another cause of hair loss is alopecia areata, an autoimmune skin disease causing hair loss on the scalp, face, and sometimes other areas of the body.
Hair loss can be one of the signs of andropause, the male equivalent of menopause. Like women, men’s hormones fluctuate on a monthly and even daily basis. They also affect biological processes, moods, and emotions in many of the same ways they do in women.
As they age, men also experience a drop in hormone production, especially testosterone, which in some cases can lead to hair loss and the growth of hair in places where you don’t necessarily want it, such as your ears.
DHT, or dihydrotestosterone, is a derivative or by-product of testosterone. While the entire genetic process of male pattern baldness is not completely understood, scientists do know that hormones such as DHT shrink hair follicles, and when DHT levels are suppressed, follicles continue to thrive.
Women Suffer From Hair Loss Too
But it’s not just men who suffer from hair loss; women can experience it too. For women, an underactive thyroid can be one of the factors contributing to hair loss, but in most cases, for both men and women, androgenic alopecia occurs because of a genetically determined shortening of anagen, a hair’s growing phase, and a lengthening of the time between the shedding of a hair and the start of a new anagen phase.
About one-third of women experience hair loss at some time in their lives; already struggling with hot flashes, as many as two-thirds suffer hair thinning and bald spots. Hair loss often has a greater impact on menopausal women than it does on men, because society is more accepting of men with thinning hair. A woman’s emotional wellbeing and quality of life can be severely affected due to alopecia.
Hair loss in women can be due to a hormonal imbalance called hypothyroidism, when the thyroid’s production of body-regulating hormones decreases, and which can be addressed with the application of suitable bioidentical hormones to replace the thyroid hormone that your body is no longer producing or is producing in diminished quantities.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism develop slowly, often over several years, and can severely affect a woman’s health. They can also be very similar to menopausal symptoms, so it’s important to consult with a professional. At first, you may feel tired and sluggish. Later, you may develop other signs and symptoms of a slowed-down metabolism, including:
- Feeling cold when other people do no
- Muscle weakness
- Weight gain, even though you are not eating more food
- Joint or muscle pain
- Feeling sad or depressed
- Feeling very tired
- Pale, dry skin
- Dry, thinning hair
- Slow heart rate
- Less sweating than usual
- A puffy face
- A hoarse voice
- More than usual menstrual bleeding
- High LDL or “bad” cholesterol, which can raise your risk for heart disease
Another hormonal imbalance women struggle with as they approach menopause is a drop in progesterone levels, which can lead to estrogen dominance and can trigger excessive hair shedding and ultimately hair loss.
As women age into the natural process called menopause, having to deal with the discomfort of hot flashes, the symptoms that arise with a reduction of thyroid hormones and the very real worry about breast cancer shouldn’t be compounded with the social anxiety that comes along with female hair loss and even the loss of pubic hair.
A BodyLogicMD-affiliated clinician can diagnose female pattern hair loss by taking a medical history and examining the scalp and follicles. She or he will observe the pattern of hair loss, check for signs of inflammation or infection, and possibly order blood tests to investigate other possible causes of hair loss, including hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, and iron deficiency. A women’s health professional can help diagnose female pattern hair loss by observing the pattern of hair loss and ordering and evaluating blood and/or urine tests to investigate possible causes of hair loss. Your physician may then help you consider a hormone replacement therapy program to assist you.
When Hormones and the Environment Conspire
While hair loss in men can be genetic, it may also result from an underlying hormonal imbalance. In men, a hormonal imbalance often means that testosterone levels drop while estrogen levels rise. But men can also ingest estrogen from their environment and from their lifestyle choices.
Air fresheners, birth control pills, canned foods, cosmetics, and plastic containers all contain foreign estrogens that contribute to a phenomenon known as estrogen dominance.
This form of hormone imbalance can contribute to hair loss.
Managing naturally occurring estrogen, also called oestrogen, and limiting or eliminating foreign estrogens is one of the strategies that can be utilized to limit or reverse hair loss.
Stress, depression, and anxiety can also contribute to hair loss
Depression and hair loss are linked, and depression can affect the quality of your hair; hair can become dry and break very easily. Prescription anti-depressants such as Prozac can also have side effects that cause hair loss.
Anxiety and stress are technically two separate conditions. However, they do overlap. The key issue between anxiety and hair loss is stress, especially persistent stress, which can affect the growth of your hair.
Emotional stress can significantly slow, or even stunt your hair’s normal growth cycle. Once the hair has stopped its growth cycle, it lies dormant and eventually sheds after around two months.
Stress is a huge contributor to a variety of different mental illnesses, including depression, anxiety, and insomnia. In most cases, it is stress that will cause you to lose hair. The most common type of hair loss is telogen effluvium, in which stress can be a potential cause.
If the cause is stress and it is addressed, your hair can resume its normal growth phase, but it usually takes three to six months for regrowth or longer.
Is Medication the Right Solution for Me?
Medications are a common treatment for hair loss in men and women, but they aren’t always the best solution.
They include minoxidil, the active ingredient in Rogaine. Research has confirmed that when applied directly to the scalp minoxidil can stimulate hair growth. People who took minoxidil, which was initially introduced as a medical treatment to help with high blood pressure, noticed that new hair growth was stimulated in areas that it had previously been lost.
While the new growth of fine hair in some people can be produced with minoxidil, it can’t restore the full density of the lost hair. It’s not a quick fix, either, for hair loss in women. It’s important to understand that this is not a quick-fix for hair loss in women. The drug must be used for at least two consecutive months to notice a difference, and the effect is usually noticed around the four-month mark, but it could possibly take longer. A six to 12-month trial is recommended. To maintain those results, you will need to consistently use it, or your hair may begin to lose hair again.
Women suffering from hair loss can also take what are known as anti-androgens. Women suffering from hair loss can also take what are known as anti-androgens, and because women living with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) tend to produce excess androgens, this is especially true.
Are You Looking for a Way to Grow Your Hair Quickly?
Sticking to the right vitamin regimen can actually work wonders for your hair growth, while helping to address menopausal symptoms and increasing overall well-being.
A whole host of vitamins and minerals support the well-being of your luscious locks. When it comes to vitamins for hair health and growth, keep vitamins D, B, A, C, and E at the ready. Don’t forget about the importance of zinc and fulvic acid, either, when it comes to maintaining cell health and balancing hormones.
B vitamins are essential when it comes to vitamins for hair growth and health. The B vitamin biotin, in particular, is essential when it comes to preventing hair loss and promoting keratin production. These vitamins can also aid in the production of red blood cells, which are important nutrient transmitters to hair follicles and head tissues. They are water-soluble, making for easy ingestion.
Support your vitamin regimen with a diet rich in B vitamins. You can find biotin most prevalently in meat, but it is also in certain fruits, vegetables, and even grains.
While it is possible to source a lot of these vitamins from common foods, your physician may also suggest bolstering your diet with supplements. BodyLogicMD’s Cosmedix vitamins are a good source of B vitamins and promote healthy hair, skin, and collagen formation with appropriate amounts of biotin, saw palmetto, and other phytonutrients.
Vitamin C is indeed a powerful antioxidant that can protect your cells from all kinds of damage. So what does this have to do with hair health? Vitamin C is integral to keeping cells safe from free radical damage, which can inhibit healthy hair growth and production. It is also a key player in the formation of collagen, a protein that your body needs to form hair and skin.
It’s possible to acquire vitamin C through a variety of food sources, particularly citrus fruits like oranges, strawberries, and lemons. You can also find vitamin C in high amounts in certain vegetables.
Your physician may recommend taking vitamin C as a supplement to support hair growth. Because the human body struggles to synthesize vitamin C in this modern age, BodyLogicMD’s buffered C capsules are designed to maximize intake.
Just like vitamin C, vitamin A is integral in cell growth cycles. And, much like B vitamins, vitamin A can help people struggling with hair loss and deficiency. Vitamin A is vital in the body’s production of sebum, a natural oil that creates the right environment for hair growth. A happy scalp is much more likely to produce hair at a healthier and faster rate.
Fulvic acid is a vital element in optimum hair growth. It promotes the cells’ intake of the vitamins and nutrients they need to function at their best. Fulvic acid is also essential for fending off toxins that can get in the way of hair growth and follicle formation. In particular, fulvic acid can aid in cell reparation after free radical damage. It can even promote scalp nerve health and supports healthy immune function. In addition to helping with hair health, fulvic acid can also aid in brain, gut, and skin health.
Vitamin E plays a key role in preventing free radical damage, particularly cell damage that results from high levels of stress in the body. Vitamin E is known for its ability to promote collagen production and stimulate hair growth, especially when ingested consistently over long periods of time. Some people find value in applying vitamin E oil to their scalp to directly promote hair growth.
Zinc is a mineral that contributes to consistent, healthy hair growth. People who are deficient in this mineral are actually at higher risk of experiencing hair loss. Zinc deficiencies can also deteriorate protein structures of hair follicles, resulting in hair loss and shedding. On the flip side, zinc supplements can promote RNA and DNA production, essential for the creation of hair follicle cells. Zinc can help hair retain its luster, prevent dandruff, and keep hormones in balance.
Vitamin D is the one vitamin that most humans are deficient in. It can create new hair follicles, which can promote more extensive and long-lasting hair growth. It can also revive dormant hair follicles, reducing the effects of balding and aging hair. Exposure to sunlight and consumption of fish or mushrooms can boost your levels of vitamin D. Before starting a supplement regimen, you should be evaluated by a physician to develop a tailored treatment plan suited for your needs.
You Are Not Alone
The effects of a hormonal imbalance can be difficult to deal with. Fortunately, there are treatments available that can reduce, eliminate, and even reverse these symptoms.
BodyLogicMD-affiliated practitioners take pride in offering science-backed vitamins and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy to maximize your holistic wellbeing.
The process starts with a detailed analysis of hormone levels through blood, saliva, and/or urine tests followed by a treatment program tailored to your needs with a unique nutritional plan, supplements, and bioidentical hormones.
Throughout the treatment, your individual needs are monitored and evaluated to make sure a perfect balance is achieved. You don’t need to be a victim of your fluctuating hormones. Men and women both can benefit from an individualized plan that can halt or even reverse hair loss. What are you waiting for?