Can the contraceptive pill cause Telogen Effluvium?

Specific Conditions

Telogen effluvium is a scalp disorder when the hair starts to thin but does not, except under extreme circumstances, lead to baldness.

There are three stages to the hair growing cycle, anagen, when the hair is growing at a rate of around 1 cm a month and can last for up to 7 years, catagen which is the transitional stage lasting around 2 – 4 weeks and finally the telogen which is the resting stage and when the hair is lost. There are many causes that will lead to the hair entering the resting stage before its time thus upsetting the hair’s cycle.

The birth control pill is, as it sounds, a pill to control birth. It has been around for a few decades now but can still cause some controversy in some countries who do not believe birth should be controlled. There are various types of pill but all contain some form of hormone and it is the change of these levels in the body that can upset hair growth. Oestrogen is one hormone that is used to prevent pregnancy and can have an effect on hair growth. At the beginning some experience hair growth as more hair goes into the resting stage.

After this more hair than normal seems to fall out and it can seem as if the hair is thinning when in actual fact it is coming back to normal. However, in others it can cause the thinning of hair known as telogen effluvium but will not cause baldness. Fortunately this is not a permanent condition and once the body has adjusted to the pill hair will come back to normal. In the meantime a change of hairstyle could offer a solution for those who feel that it is affecting their looks.

For some loss of hair can be devastating leading to anxiety and stress and this in turn will also cause hair loss. The body and mind is a complex system that has its own way of ensuring that it is working at its best. As the largest organ the skin is the least important and when there is a change the body’s system will automatically ensure that the vital organs such as the liver and kidneys receive the vital nutrients first.

A good diet is the key to health along with exercise. In order for the body to function it needs a good supply of vitamins and minerals which can be found in many foods. However, not everyone follows this and it causes stress on the body and the hair to suffer. Loss of hair can be a sign either of nutrient deficiency or an illness that has not been detected. Often it is the hair that can lead to a check being carried out as it becomes dull and lifeless and begins to thin. If more hair than normal is seen when brushing or washing then seek the advice of a doctor or hair consultant as there will be a cause.

Taking the pill will also change menstrual periods which in turn can have an effect on the hair as again it is dealing with the body’s hormones. Once it all settles down the hair will come back to its normal state providing the pills are taken as advised and not missed at any time. The general health and well-being of a person also plays a big part as the more vitamins and minerals that are available the more the hair follicles will receive.

There has been much research in recent years into hair and hair growth which has enable specialists to advise on treatments for those losing their hair. There are two medically approved treatments but only one (minoxidil) which can be used by women, which is applied directly onto the scalp which is believed to invigorate the blood supply which carries the supply of nutrients to the hair follicles.


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