What Is An Androgen Rebound
First, lets do a quick refresher on what androgens are. Androgenic hormones include testosterone, androstenedione, dihydrotestosterone , dehydroepiandrosterone , and DHEA sulfate . Despite being considered masculinizing, women need these hormones too, but only in small amounts. Its when these hormones become too high that women may start to notice issues such as irregular periods, acne, unwanted hair growth , and even hair loss.
Androgen rebound refers to the symptoms of high androgens that many women experience after coming off of hormonal birth control and it could help explain hair loss after stopping birth control.
Despite the significant impact that this can have, many of the clients I work with say that they feel dismissed by their healthcare providers. When their symptoms persist, often the only option they are presented with is to go back on hormonal birth control as a way to regulate their hormones.
Unfortunately, options like these only offer women a way to deal with the symptoms and does nothing to address the underlying root-causes of hormone imbalance. In fact, as Ill show you in a moment, this could even make the underlying imbalances worse.
How Does The Contraceptive Pill Affect Your Hairs Volume
Reduced hair volume is caused by a genetic condition, inherited from either parent, in which your hair follicles are sensitive to androgens . All women naturally have androgens in their bodies, but only some have hair follicles that react to them. If you have this sensitivity, once it is triggered, your hair follicles will gradually miniaturise and grow back thinner over the years. This reduces the volume and length of your hair, eventually making your scalp more visible.
Some birth control pills can slow or stop this thinning process, because they increase your oestrogen levels and/or diminish your testosterone levels.
Other contraceptive pills can raise your levels of androgens . These pills may trigger or worsen hair thinning.
Whether or not your hair will react to a birth control pill depends on how sensitive your hair follicles are to the hormones that pill contains. It also depends on your individual body chemistry, and on your bodys metabolism of the drug. Some women find that their hair is not affected at all by the pill.
Treatment For Hair Loss
Hair loss caused by birth control pills is usually temporary. It should stop within a few months after your body gets used to the pill. Hair loss should also stop after youve been off of the pill for a while.
If the hair loss doesnt stop and you dont see regrowth, ask your doctor about Minoxidil 2%. Its the only medicine thats approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to treat hair loss in women.
Minoxidil works by moving hair follicles into the growth phase more quickly. It may take a few months of use before you can see results.
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How Stopping Birth Control Pills Affects Hair Health
To complicate matters even more, after discontinuing estrogen-containing oral birth control, vitamin D levels are at risk to drop. Oral contraceptives containing estrogen are connected to higher levels of vitamin D in prescribed uses, so when women stop taking OC and their vitamin D levels drop, itâs often just back down to a vitamin D level within a normal range.
However, experts believe itâs still worth confirming with your doctor that this potential drop doesnât leave you in the realm of vitamin D deficiency. For your hair health, vitamin D deficiency can translate to weakness, thinning, and potential increase in stress-related hair damage. With so many hair growth processes affected by this nutrient, itâs no wonder your hair sends out a cry for help when levels plummet.
What Your Healthcare Provider Might Say
Birth control pills that contain both estrogen and progestin can be prescribed to treat acne and hirsutism , and sometimes hair loss.
Progestin-only methods such as the implant, hormonal IUD, or shot may worsen acne, hirsutism, or hair loss in some people.
To understand these effects requires a little anatomy and physiology lesson.
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Minoxidil 2% Topical Treatment
Women with diffuse androgenetic alopecia can use minoxidil, and it actually seems to be more effective for women compared to men. The makers of minoxidil recommend women only use the 2% concentration of minoxidil and not 5%. The makers of minoxidil have not received FDA approval for promoting 5% minoxidil or minoxidil extra strength for use by women. Many dermatologists do prescribe minoxidil 5% for women with androgenic alopecia if used under their supervision. Some small clinical trials have been conducted on 5% minoxidil for androgenic alopecia in women showing that indeed the 5% solution is significantly more effective in both retaining and regrowing hair than the 2% solution.
In clinical studies of mostly white women aged 18-45 years with mild to moderate degrees of hair loss, the following response to minoxidil was reported: 19% of women reported moderate hair growth after using minoxidil for 8 months . This compares with 7% of women reporting moderate hair regrowth after using the placebo, the liquid without the active ingredient in it, for 8 months .
What Are Birth Controlpills
Birth Control pills are a hormone based pill that prevent pregnancy. They can work in different ways, contain different hormones, and need to be taken on a different schedule, depending on the pill you use. Essentially, theres two main types of birth control pills combination pills and the minipill.
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What Is Hormonal Hair Loss And What Causes It
Some women can develop an autoimmune condition called androgenetic alopecia, or female pattern baldness. In autoimmune system disorders, the body attacks its own cells and systems. In the case of alopecia, the body attacks hair follicles. Hair loss can happen on a persons head or their body. With this disorder, hair falls out in clumps the size of a quarter or larger. Usually, the hair will eventually grow back. But having this happen can be incredibly distressing and scary. Fortunately, the pill can be prescribed for female pattern baldness.
Seeing Excessive Hairfall Your Birth Control Pill May Be To Blame
Since their FDA approval in 1960, oral contraceptives have become a popular birth control method for women, as they promise a balanced menstrual cycle, clearer skin and a better mood overall. But they often come with a host of side effects we wellwith hair loss being a common concern among users. We spoke to experts about how birth control pills affect your mane, and what you can do to treat any resultant hair loss.
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Estrogen Levels In Birth Control Pills
Oral contraceptives can be further classified by the amount of estrogen contained in each pill. Low-dose formulations contain 20 micrograms of estrogen alongside progestin. Regular-dose contraceptives contain 30 mcg to 35 mcg of estrogen, while high-dose formulations contain 50 mcg.
It’s important to note that even the lowest dose of estrogen is effective in preventing pregnancy and may be less likely to cause side effects such as bloating, weight gain, and mood swings. By contrast, high dosages may increase the risk of irregular periods rather than reduce it.
On the flip side, low or ultra-low estrogen is associated with a risk of breakthrough bleeding, which can cause some women to stop taking them.
Risk Factors For Hair Loss
Women who have a family history of hormone-related hair loss may lose hair while on the pill or just after they discontinue it. Some women lose a little bit of hair. Other women lose large clumps of hair or experience a lot of thinning. Hair loss in pregnancy is also hormonally related to hair being in the resting phase for longer periods.
Hair loss can also happen when you switch from one type of pill to another.
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What Are Common Side Effects Of Birth Control
For many women, birth control pills dont cause any side effects. Some women experience mild side effects in addition to or other than hair loss such as acne, weight gain/weight loss, irregular periods, spotting between periods, nausea, moodiness, decreased sex drive, headaches, breast tenderness or soreness, etc. Serious side effects can include high blood pressure, slightly increased risk of breast, cervical or liver cancer, as well as an increased risk of blood clots in your leg or lung. Birth control pills that have a higher androgenic and lower estrogen effect are more likely to cause hair loss, unwanted hair growth and acne side effects. Progestin with higher androgenic effects tend to produce less breast tenderness, bloating and mood changes.
When To Seek Professional Treatment
If you’re experiencing hair loss as the result of hormonal contraception, you should seek treatment if the issue has not resolved within a few months of being on hormonal birth control, or a few months after you stop using hormonal contraception. This is uncommon and may be the sign of an underlying issue.
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Can Birth Control Change Your Hair Texture
In some cases, birth control can change hair texture.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article intend to inform and induce conversation. They are the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Pandia Health, and are for informational purposes only, even if and to the extent that this article features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.
The Impact Of The Contraceptive Pill On Hair Loss
Here at the Simone Thomas hair loss clinic in Bournemouth, we help hundreds of cases of hair loss in women a month. We know that many women find themselves suffering from thinning hair and hair loss and want to know what causes hair loss in women. There are many things that can contribute to female hair loss, and hormones can often be a key factor.
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How Do Hormones Influence Hair Growth And Loss
Hormones affect almost every part of the body, not just the reproductive process. Hair growth, hair loss, and hair integrity are all influenced by hormones, too. Birth control pills and other hormonal birth control products contain a cocktail of different hormones either estrogen and progestin, or progestin only. Although the express purpose of the pill is to prevent ovulation and thus, fertilization, the pill influences other physiological processes too.
While the female reproductive system is most heavily influenced by progesterone and estrogen, female sex hormones, androgens also play a significant role. Androgens are male sex hormones, such as testosterone. They are also present in the female reproductive system, although at minimal levels. Men also naturally produce estrogen, too, but it is in minuscule amounts. Androgens, however, significantly influence hair loss and growth. The presence of male sex hormones is one of the biggest reasons why men are prone to hair loss and baldness. While women only need to produce a tiny amount of androgens for reproductive health, higher levels of androgens can trigger alopecia in women. Women who experience hair loss tend to have thinning of all of their hair, where balding occurs around the entire head. For men, baldness tends to happen in specific areas of the head, such as the temples, the crown, or the back of the head.
Pcos Testosterone And Insulin Resistance
Testosterone causes hair loss. This occurs in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome, a condition which, incidentally, is headed for a name change because it has very little to do with cysts on the ovaries. Most PCOS-sufferers have high testosterone on blood test. Some have normal testosterone, but still show signs of testosterone sensitivity such as acne and facial hair. For a discussion of all the different types of androgens, see my latest post: 4 Causes of Androgen Excess.
The testosterone of PCOS is usually caused by insulin resistance, which in turn is caused by sugar, and other factors. The Pill causes insulin resistance, which is why using the Pill to treat PCOS is just bad medicine.
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The Pill Thyroid And 4 Other Types Of Hormonal Hair Loss
Hair loss used to be something that women suffered occasionally after childbirth or illness. It is now so common that doctors see it every day.
Hormonal birth control is largely to blame. It damages the hair follicle in a way that can take years to repair. Other conditions such as PCOS and thyroid disease also play a role.
Can The Birth Control Pill Cause Hair Loss
In some cases, starting the birth control pill can trigger hair loss in women who are sensitive to hormonal fluctuations, especially fluctuations of androgens. Women who do not have any problems with alopecia or hair loss can experience some hair loss when first starting the pill, or if they are on the pill for a period of time and then stop taking the pill. Hair loss in these cases is typically not permanent. But, for women who are prone to hair loss stemming from hormonal issues, they need to be aware of the risk of hair loss when starting or stopping the pill.
A hair cycle consists of a growing and a resting phase. There is a chance birth control pills can cause hair to switch from the growing phase to the resting phase too soon and for too long. This is a form of hair loss called telogen effluvium.
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Preventive Measures Against Hair Loss
- Consume food, which is rich in vitamin A, B, C, E, protein and iron.
- Intake flaxseeds, fish and walnuts to get fatty acids, which is essential for natural health of hair.
- Increase the quantity of biotin, silica and zinc in your meal as it induces hair growth as well as keeps the scalp healthy.
- Avoid using hot or warm water for hair wash as it increases hair loss.
- Do not use very hard shampoos on hair instead, go for mild ones that contain moisturizer.
- Use steam to rejuvenate your hair. Dip a clean towel into hot water, squeeze the excess water and cover your hair with the towel. Leave it till the towel cools down. This increases blood flow towards the scalp and even clean the pores, present on the scalp.
- Rubbing of fingers vigorously on the scalp after washing hair also increases blood circulation and prevents hair loss.
- Drink adequate amounts of water, based on your weight and sodium intake.
- Keep your scalp clean and avoid dirt and dust.
- Hair trimming is again a good option for preventing loss of hair.
- Do not tie back your hair tightly.
- Do not comb your hair when it is wet, and do not even towel-dry it again and again roughly.
- Avoid blow drying on a daily basis. It damages hair follicles and makes the scalp dry.
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