Alopecia, hormones and pregnancy

Specific Conditions

Around 90% of the hair grows whilst the other 10% is resting. After 2 to 3 months the resting hair will die and fall out leaving room for new hair to grow. During pregnancy the rise in hormones can upset this pattern, as can the physical trauma of childbirth

During pregnancy a woman’s body changes to cope with carrying a baby. The rise in hormones during pregnancy has an effect on every part of the body. It is important during this phase that a good healthy diet is followed so the nutrients and vitamins reach the outer extremities. During the pregnancy the hair becomes thicker as hair is not following the normal cycle and falling out. A few months after birth hair will be lost a lot quicker as hormones come back to normal and the hair cycle comes back to normal. The hair that has been stored will fall out.

If hair continues to fall out long after childbirth and is becoming a lot thinner then advice should be sought. The body goes through a lot of changes during and after pregnancy and there can be a number of simple reasons as to why hair is not growing properly. Lack of vitamins and nutrients in the diet can be detrimental as the body needs a good supply to keep working properly. If these are not in good supply the skin and the hair can suffer as they are the body’s extremities and last to receive.

When the hair follicles are not receiving the nutrients they require, the follicles begin to shrink and eventually are unable to hold hair roots in place. This can happen when the body’s hormones are not working properly and upsetting the balance of the system.

The oestrogen hormone in a woman’s body can be disrupted in different situations and when this happens it can upset the cycle of the hair. As soon as a woman becomes pregnant the oestrogen hormones increase. Unfortunately, if the pregnancy does not go to full term or the baby is stillborn these hormones are still present in the body. During this time the hair is thickening and once the hormone levels come back to normal the hair that has been kept will be lost. The hair cycle will then return to normal.

Birth control pills can change the hormone levels in a woman’s body and when the pills are stopped the hormone levels change again. The hair cycle can become confused giving a thicker head of hair and later the extra hair falls out as the cycle comes back to normal. This is normal unless it carries on for a long length of time at this point professional help should be sought in case of underlying causes.

The menopause is another time when a woman can experience a change in hormone levels and see a change in the hair. Both men and women tend to see their hair thinning with aging and this is a normal process. As a woman goes into menopause the female hormones progesterone and oestrogen start to fall which upsets the hair cycle and causes hair to thin or fall out. In some cases it can be severe and to that person it can be very upsetting. This causes more stress which is also related to hair loss.

Polycystic ovaries are another problem that can cause hair loss in women. The male hormone testosterone is produced in greater quantity and this will have an effect on the body’s system. The hair follicles will, once again, be disrupted and can also produce excess facial and body hair and adversely loss of hair on the head.

Once hormones in the body either over or under produce, there can be a problem with the way hair grows. If hair is growing too thick or falling out in greater quantities then this can be a sign that the hormones unbalanced. Advice should be sought immediately as there is medication that can help with imbalances.

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