Guest post and image by Dr Laura Villa; Image by Ryan McGuire from Pixabay
Female pattern hair loss is a common problem affecting many women worldwide.
What is the normal amount of hair loss?
First, let us talk about how hair grows.
Hair grows in cycles. The cycle begins with the anagen phase, where the hair is actively growing. Then we enter the catagen phase, an in-between phase; it signals the end of the active hair growth. The telogen phase is the third and resting phase of the hair follicle. Last is the exogen phase, where hairs are actively shedding from the scalp.
With that said, it is reasonable to shed between 50 and 100 hairs a day as our bodies are continually growing new hair and shed old hair.
Believe it or not, but stress is a common cause of hair loss. The stress hormone cortisol is known to affect the hair follicle’s function and cyclic regulation. Stress occurring because of hair loss can lead to further hair loss. It ends up being a vicious cycle between stress and hair loss. Stress comes in many forms: physical stress from trauma, chemical stress from medications, and emotional stress.
Micronutrients play a role in cellular turnover at the hair follicle. The cells are rapidly dividing and require essential elements, such as proteins, vitamins, and minerals, to efficiently produce healthy hair. Micronutrients to assess are b-vitamins, biotin, vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, and iron. A deficiency of any of these can lead to hair loss.
Hair loss in menopause is highly related to hormonal fluctuations. Estrogen and progesterone play a role in follicle health. Estrogen promotes hair growth leading to thicker, healthier, faster-growing hair. Progesterone has been shown to block the negative effects of testosterone on the hair follicle. Without progesterone, testosterone binds to the hair follicle and forces them to go into a resting phase. Further, as women age and with increased stress, there is a gradual increase of testosterone and adrenal hormones, which promote hair loss.
Another hormonal issue that can lead to hair loss is hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland, which is found in the neck, doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone. One of the many symptoms it causes is hair loss. Those with hypothyroidism might also have fatigue, constipation, and hair loss at the outer corner of the eyebrow.
Harsh hairstyling and over-processing also contribute to hair loss. Over-processed hair is hair that is damaged by dye, bleach, heat, and other styling processes.
So, what can you do?
- Comprehensive lab testing to assess hormones and nutrient status.
- Compounded scalp blends to prevent further hair loss and promote hair regrowth.
- Stress management.
- Optimize nutrition.
Treatment for hair loss depends on the cause and requires a personalized approach. Call the office today at 520-261-5790 to find the root cause of your hair loss.
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- Thom E. Stress and the Hair Growth Cycle: Cortisol-Induced Hair Growth Disruption. J Drugs Dermatol. 2016;15(8):1001-1004
- Shapiro J. Clinical Practice Hair loss in women. N Engl J Med. 2007;357(16):1620-1630
- Gg A. Diffuse alopecia; nutritional factors and supplements. Turkderm-Turk Arch Dermatol Venerol. 2014;48(Suppll):45-47
- Alopecia in Menopause – Naturopathic Doctor News and Review (ndnr.com)