Hormone imbalance and hair loss.
The hormone estrogen is the key to growing long hair. When estrogen levels are optimal, your hair keeps growing. It's normal for hair to grow for two to four years before follicles fall out.
When estrogen levels are low, follicles will stop working in your scalp and the hair shaft falls out.
The result is shorter hair.
Women have higher estrogen levels, so their hair gets longer than men.
Normally, about 100 follicles are lost per day. The result is hair shredding onto your pillow or comb. You have about 100,000 follicles on your scalp, so you have some to spare. But if follicles are lost at a faster pace, or fail to return, you'll have a thinner head of hair.
About 40 to 50 percent of women have some hair loss by the time they reach 50.
Shredding may be sudden or gradual, depending on the cause.
Child birth and hair loss
Child birth can promote loss of follicles. Gradual declines in estrogen that herald menopause lead to gradual thinning.
Talk to your doctor about your thinning hair
If you seem to be losing your hair, don't panic. Talk to your doctor. Your doctor likely won't test your hormone levels unless you're experiencing other symptoms such as irregular menstruation, excessive body hair growth, severe acne, or other signs of hormone imbalance.
Alopecia areata is hair loss in sharply defined areas, usually the scalp or beard. If you suspect alopecia areata, your doctor may need to test for antithyroid antibodies and antimicrosomal antibodies.
Thyroid supplements and other medications are often effective, along with medications applied to the scalp.
Your pattern of hair loss, particularly where you're losing it, where it started, and so on will help pinpoint the cause. Your doctor will also have to rule out nonhormonal conditions such as anemia, intense stress, crash dieting, surgery, and high fever, which can all trigger shedding.
With some trial and error and patience, you can work with your doctor to find a treatment that works for you.
Androgenetic alopecia and testosterone
The male hormone testosterone is what many experts believe to be the most common form of hair loss in men and women. Androgenetic alopecia is called male-pattern baldness in men and female-pattern baldness in women. Alopecia is simply science-speak for hormone imbalance and hair loss.
Having androgenetic alopecia doesn't mean you have above normal levels of testosterone, it just means your hair follicles are genetically predisposed to damage from a by-product of testosterone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is an enzyme made within hair follicles that promotes thin hair shafts of colorless hair.
If you're diagnosed with androgenetic alopecia, don't take the over-the-counter supplement DHEA that's sold as an anti-aging remedy because it can increase your testosterone levels and speed up your hair loss.
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