Hair Loss? Alopecia?
Solution (Hormone Replacement)
Maybe the pile of hair in the shower is getting bigger, or you find too many hairs on your pillow when you wake up. Or perhaps you’ve noticed that your hairline is receding or your hair feels thinner, and you can’t see it, but you suspect others can see your scalp on the crown of your head.
No matter when or how you notice it, hair loss is distressing. A full head of thick, healthy hair is a sign of youth and vitality.
But what’s actually causing your hair loss? It’s not necessarily a genetic fact of life that you have to learn to live with. Let’s explore hair loss, including its causes and what you can do about it.
First, what is hair, and how does it grow?
Your hair is strands of keratin, a tough protein. Each strand of hair starts as a bulb in a hair follicle. The bulb receives oxygen and nutrients from your circulation, which allow it to divide and multiply keratin cells to build each hair shaft.
There are three phases in the hair growth cycle :
- Anagen (growth phase)
- Catagen (transitional phase)
- Telogen (resting phase)
Your hair follicles spend most of their time in the anagen phase. Then, over a few weeks, your hair follicle begins to shrink, and hair growth slows. During the final telogen phase, hair growth stops. However, in most cases, a new growth cycle is starting and pushes your old hair out of the follicle.
Types of hair loss
While the results and emotional impact are often the same, there are several different types of hair loss.
Androgenetic alopecia aka male pattern baldness
This is the type of baldness that men fear. More than 50 million American men  have this primarily hereditary type of hair loss. In most cases, hair loss begins around your temples, spreading around the perimeter and on the top of your head. While your risk of androgenetic alopecia is genetic, the condition is manageable.
Ladies lose their hair, too
Around 30 million American women  also live with androgenetic alopecia. Women tend to lose hair all over their scalp, which makes their hair thin. Eventually, your scalp might be visible through your hair, but most women don’t lose all their hair.
Telogen effluvium occurs when many of your hair follicles enter the resting phase of the growth cycle, but a new growth cycle doesn’t start right away. As a result, your hair falls out, but new hair doesn’t replace it. Telogen effluvium is often due to a hormonal imbalance, vitamin deficiency, or another health issue. It doesn’t usually cause total baldness, but your hair becomes very thin, especially on the crown of your head and near your temples.
Other types of hair loss include:
- Anagen effluvium – temporary, medical treatment-related hair loss
- Alopecia areata – an autoimmune condition
- Tinea capitis – scalp ringworm
- Cicatricial alopecia – inflammation destroys your hair follicles and causes scarring
You can also have hair loss because of abnormalities in the hair shaft. Your hair could be thin and weak, which leads to easy breakage. This could be due to heat or chemical damage from styling your hair, or it could be due to loose anagen syndrome, which affects the way your hair is held in the follicle.
Causes of hair loss
Many factors contribute to hair loss, including your genes, stress, medical conditions, and hormonal imbalances. Even the medications you take for high blood pressure, arthritis, and depression can trigger hair loss.
Testosterone and hair loss
It’s commonly believed that bald men have higher than average levels of testosterone. But this isn’t necessarily the case.
Most of your testosterone binds to sex hormone-binding globulin and albumin. The rest of your testosterone stays in your bloodstream, waiting for your body to use it in other ways. Some of this “free” testosterone joins with an enzyme to form dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Your body uses DHT in its hair follicles.
If you have elevated DHT levels and are genetically prone to sensitive hair follicles, this can trigger androgenetic alopecia.
When to talk to a doctor about hair loss
You can speak to a doctor about hair loss at any time. Your doctor can provide an exam and testing to identify the cause of your hair loss. Understanding the root cause of your hair loss is critical to creating and implementing the most effective treatment plan.
Hair restoration treatments
If your doctor identifies an underlying health issue, like thyroid dysfunction, that’s causing your hair loss, they treat it. After a condition like a thyroid disease is under control, your hair growth should return to normal. It can take up to six months to see a difference in your hair, so be patient.
In other cases, doctors recommend topical treatments, like minoxidil, or oral medications, such as finasteride, to slow or stop hair loss. Finasteride can also stimulate new hair growth.
You could also consider laser therapy or platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatments. Laser treatments use light energy to stimulate your hair follicles and encourage new growth. PRP is a type of regenerative medicine that floods your scalp and hair follicles with the proteins and growth factors needed for cell generation.
Hair follicle transplant surgery is another option. A surgeon can remove hair follicles from elsewhere on your body and transplant them into your scalp.
Hormone replacement therapy for hair loss
If your hair loss is due to a hormonal imbalance, restoring your hormone levels is critical to managing your condition. Hormone replacement therapy needs to be carefully calibrated to address your specific needs.
Too much testosterone can increase your risk of baldness. However, achieving the right balance in your endocrine system can not only help restore your hair, but reduce other distressing symptoms like weight gain, muscle mass loss, and mood disorders.
The physicians at HRT Wellness can order blood work to assess your hormone levels and use that information to create a personalized hormone therapy program. If you’re concerned about hair loss are living with other signs of hormonal imbalance, contact HRT Wellness to start the screening process today.
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