Although heredity is by far the most common cause of balding in both men and women, sometimes the hair loss has less to do with genetics and more to do with factors such as a hormonal imbalance or stress. Thinning hair can serve as one of the first indications of a hormonal imbalance.
For example, women who are going through menopause or have been diagnosed with an underactive thyroid, or anyone who experiences a traumatic event – such as the death of a loved one or a severe accident – are susceptible to hair loss.
When hormones are functioning normally, they regulate various functions, such as your appetite, fluid balance, sex drive, fertility, moods, and – yes – your hair growth. That’s because a hormone is one of more than 200 different types of stimulatory cellular messengers that originate in a gland somewhere in the body, such as the pituitary or the thyroid, and travel through the bloodstream to produce an effect elsewhere.
Can Menopause Cause Hair Loss?
Women naturally produce a large amount of the estrogen hormone but also a small amount of testosterone hormone. However, as their estrogen levels decrease during and after menopause, the relative effect of their testosterone increases. Consequently, the testosterone within their hair follicles is converted into a strong hormone – dihydrotestosterone (DHT) – which can inactivate hair follicles, thus leading to hair loss.
How Does Stress Cause Hair Loss?
Stress hormones can be just as harmful. Your hair follicles need a continuous supply of oxygen, protein, vitamins, and minerals to nourish their cells. When you experience extreme stress, blood is diverted from your skin to your muscles and brain as part of the natural fight-or flight response, so the blood vessels supplying your hair follicles will constrict. The resulting reduction in the flow of nutrients causes your hair to lose its luster, and to become limp and thin.
Stress also disrupts the natural life cycle of your hair follicles, causing them to enter the telogen or shedding phase – so you lose more hair than usual. Normally, the follicles around your head are all in different growth phases, so some follicles shed their hair while most are growing normally, and you only lose a certain number of hairs per day; if the body has experienced a stressful event, you will likely shed many more hairs suddenly.
Hair Restoration Doctor in Seattle, Tacoma, and Spokane
Hair loss of any kind is fixable. If you suspect that you have a hormone imbalance, or if you are noticing much more hair loss than usual, seek the advice of an experienced hair restoration doctor. If either hormonal imbalance or stress is causing noticeable hair loss, there are treatments that can stem the tide and restore your hair to its more youthful appearance.
To schedule a consultation with hair specialist Dr. Robert Niedbalski, contact Northwest Hair Restoration today by calling us at (253) 572-2949 or use our convenient and confidential online appointment request form. We look forward to seeing you and helping you get your hair back again.