Scientific research is increasing in the realm of hair loss. Lets face it…we are all pretty attached to our hair and notice if it starts to look dull, dry or is thinning.
There is evidence that suggests that hair loss and hormone imbalance are connected. Hair loss is a symptom of an androgen estrogen imbalance.
Androgens are a class of hormones produced by the adrenal gland in both sexes, in the ovaries in women, and the testes in men. Testosterone is an androgen. The cycle of hair growth is controlled by an enzyme called 5 alpha-reductase type 2, which converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
DHT is the active form of testosterone in both men and women. New studies have shown that DHT plays an important role in hair loss. In the coarse of a few hair cycles high DHT levels cause hairs to become finer and shorter. It also shortens the growth phase and accelerates the number of hairs entering the resting phase.
Many of the commercial hair restoration products such as finasteride, and Propecia, block the formation of DHT. This allows hair follicles that are inactive to become active again and make new hairs.
Estrogen can also suppress the availability of androgens. This is due to the complexity of a feedback mechanism that results in high estrogen levels reducing testosterone production. High estrogen also increases sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) which binds to sex hormones (such as testosterone) and prevents it from converting into its active form. Too much estrogen can put hair in the resting phase and prevent it from growing. Progesterone on the other hand, may block the production of DHT and enable new hair to grow. Balance is key!
Women in the transition from perimenopause to menopause may experience thinning of the hair due to fluctuation and imbalances between estrogen, progesterone and testosterone.
Two other causes of hair loss to be aware of is high stress and hypothyroidism. Talk to your practitioner if you are experiencing hair changes. Get your hormone levels measured to determine imbalances that may help you regain healthy strong hair.