Hair loss following hormone replacement therapy (HRT)

General Hair Loss

Hormone replacement has an effect on the overall health of the body and it can depend on why the replacement as to the resulting hair loss

Hair is loss throughout life is a natural event, the hair grows, dies and new hair takes its place. There are conditions, however, when hair does not grow back and can lead to thinning and bald patches. This is not always a permanent condition and when hair is lost it is important to find the root cause.

For some it is genetic but with today’s research and technology hair loss can be slowed down, prevented or hair transplanted. Hair loss can be down to illness, stress, environmental conditions, health to name a few and often the condition can be reversed.

Hair thinning in women can be caused by hormonal imbalances during pregnancy and the menopause. The three phases of hair growth can be interrupted during pregnancy as hormones change to adapt to the growth of a baby. Normal hair loss averages around 50 to a 100 hairs a day but this may not happen through pregnancy and so the hair appears to be thicker. After the birth, the hormone levels start to come back to normal and the natural hair loss cycle recommences. The excess hair that has been kept will fall out and it will appear as if there is thinning of hair. The body’s hormones play a major part in how it works and thrives and any disruptions will inevitably be seen in the condition of hair and skin.

The menopause is another major time when the body has to cope with hormonal changes. The body can become run down and tired, the nutrients required to keep a good head of hair do not reach the hair follicles and scalp and so hair starts to fall out. This does not happen to all women but there is research that claims the hormone balance does change and can have a dramatic effect.

Medication is available to help through this stage in life which will improve overall general health. For women there is only one medically approved treatment that will help to combat this form of hair loss. Minoxidil has been approved for use on treating thinning hair. It is applied directly to the scalp on a daily basis, although not proven it is thought that as minoxidil dilates the blood vessels surrounding the hair follicles it will increase the supply of nutrients and therefore help with hair regrowth.

Hair growth after hormone replacement will depend, to a certain extent, on the condition of hair beforehand. For some hair loss is inevitable regardless of any illness, health or surgery. Male or female pattern hair loss is genetic and will start with a receding hair line, gradually losing hair on the crown to form the common horse-shoe shape for men. For women it is a little more discreet with thinning hair and smaller bald patches. Unfortunately no amount of hormone replacement after an illness will change this condition and it is important to understand the form of hair loss.

Today, with advancements in technology and research, hair lost due to hormonal reasons, with no history of pattern hair loss, can be treated with a high degree of success. Minoxidil, already mentioned, has shown to have success in both men and women by massaging into the scalp on a daily basis. Men can also take Propecia, an oral medication, which inhibits the formation of DHT. There are varying degrees of strengths that can be used for these medications and they should only be used under the advice of a professional who will need to know a full medical and social history before prescribing.

Hormone replacement is often required after an illness or surgery and the stress this causes can be a factor of hair loss. There is no definite yes or no as to whether hair loss can be completely stopped and a full head of hair regrown. It can be treated but how well that treatment goes will be dependent on causes and genetic makeup. However, research is continuous and there are many ways in which to help reduce the look of thinning hair.


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