Estrogen and combined oral contraceptive (COC) drugs with estrogen or progestogen have been reported as effective, but data are limited (Adenuga et al., 2012, Raudrant and Rabe, 2003, Scheinfeld, 2008). They are thought to function through several mechanisms. Both components of COC drugs increase the levels of sex-hormone-binding globulin (Schindler, 2013). They also send negative feedback signals that suppress the hypothalamic secretion of gonadotropin and releases the hormone and pituitary secretion of the luteinizing and follicle-stimulating hormones, which results in a decreased androgen production (Gilman et al., 1990, Varothai and Bergfeld, 2014). These actions decrease androgen secretion from the ovary and the quantity of free, biologically active androgens, which reduces their effects on the hair follicles (Schindler, 2013). Our practice when prescribing COC drugs is a combination of ethinyl estradiol 20 mcg plus drospirenone 3 mg. Drospirenone is an analogue of spironolactone. This treatment combination is approved by the FDA for the treatment of acne but not alopecia.
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Last week, we schooled you on the foods and vitamins for long, healthy hair. Today, Kristin Dahl, a Los Angeles-based nutritionist and women’s wellness educator, is back again to talk about all things hormones and hair loss. Keep reading for Dahl's guide to maintaining optimum hormonal balance, how stress can mess with your mane, lock-block hair growth, and more. As the founder of The Women’s Wellness Collective and the holistic lifestyle hub, Dahl House Nutrition, Dahl knows what she's talking about so we'd take notes if we were you. 
At Hair Club, we’ll support you throughout your entire hair restoration journey because we know from personal experience what you’re going through. We understand the emotions you’re feeling and we know the questions you have. We’re here for you, every step of the way, offering advice, education and a welcoming space where you can feel comfortable being yourself. Rest assured, we have the answers you need and the solution you want. That’s why we’re the trusted leader in hair restoration.
Spironolactone is a potassium-sparing diuretic that functions as a competitive aldosterone antagonist and inhibits the interaction of testosterone and DHT with intracellular androgen receptors in target tissues (van Zuuren et al., 2012, Yazdabadi and Sinclair, 2011). Spironolactone also weakly inhibits androgen synthesis (Price, 2003). The anti-androgen effect is more commonly used in hirsutism and acne but has been used successfully at 100- to 200-mg daily doses to treat FPHL (Sinclair et al., 2005). One retrospective study of survey data showed that nearly 75% of women reported stabilization or improvement of their hair loss after treatment with spironolactone (Famenini et al., 2015). Similar results were obtained in an open intervention study from 2005 (Sinclair et al., 2005). While the vast majority of published data discusses adult patients, one case report described the visible improvement of FPHL in a 9-year-old patient after 6 months of therapy (Yazdabadi et al., 2009).
The role of estrogen and progestogen drugs in the treatment of hair loss and growth is also unclear. Estrogen is made when androstenedione or testosterone are modified by the enzyme aromatase. It is synthesized in the ovary and other peripheral tissues and then travels to its receptors, some of which are located in scalp hair follicles (Thornton et al., 2003a, Thornton et al., 2003b). At the scalp follicle, estradiol has been reported to induce aromatase activity (Hoffmann et al., 2002). Estrogen has been hypothesized to have a protective role against hair loss on the basis of the observation that patients with lower estrogen levels during menopause, postpartum, or treatment with aromatase inhibitors or selective estrogen receptor modulators are more likely to develop FPHL (Atanaskova Mesinkovska and Bergfeld, 2013, Park et al., 2014). Another supporting observation is that in the frontal hairline of women, which tends to be spared with FPHL, there is a higher level of aromatase enzyme when compared with the rest of the scalp (Levy and Emer, 2013). This variation in hair loss could be the result of locally increased levels of estradiol or decreased levels of testosterone and DHT that is secondary to greater amounts of conversion.
Madarosis has also been described in phthiriasis of the eyelid. Phthiriasis palpebrarum is the term used to denote infestation of the eyelashes by the pubic louse or Phthirus pubis, also known as crab louse. The parasite is usually transmitted by sexual contact or through fomites. Heavy infestation may result in involvement of axillae, eyebrows, and scalp. When eyebrows and lashes are involved, blue-gray macules or maculae caeruleae may be found on the shoulders, arms, and trunk.[89] The louse can be identified under the microscope as having a wide body and strong second and third pair of legs.[90]
Here is one small European study which looked at 20 pre-menopausal women with female pattern hair loss to check their serum levels of estradiol, free and total testosterone, SHBG, LH, FSH, and DHEAS. These levels were compared to those of a control group without hair loss. Estradiol is one of the three naturally occurring forms of estrogen found in the body.
Thinning hair, noticeable bald spots, receding hair line, large clumps of hair showing up in your hair brush or shower drain, these are typically things you hear about from men, not women. More and more though, we are contacted by women who are experiencing hair loss who want to know if this is a sign of something wrong with their hormones and how they can fix the problem. Fortunately, hair loss is not a sign of infertility, but is a side effect of hormonal imbalance which can impact your fertility.

This is most commonly found in women wearing ponytails, tight braids or any hairstyles that typically pull on hair with excessive force. In addition, rigorous brushing, heat styling and rough scalp massage can damage the cuticle, the hard outer casing of the hair. This causes individual strands to become weak and break off, reducing overall hair volume.


It is known that during pregnancy, because of an increased level of estrogen, there is a tremendous growth of new hair. However, during menopause it is noticeable that the reduced level of estrogen hormone tends to cause hair loss. When the estrogen hormone levels tend to drop, the hair follicles fall under the influence of the male sex hormone or the testosterone, which cause the shortening of the growth phase of hair. Subsequently there is a noticeable hair loss. This hair loss caused due to the drop down of estrogen levels may cause patchy hair loss or complete baldness.
Well, maybe that’s a new adage from instagram, but it’s true all the same: eyebrows are the essential defining feature of every woman’s face. That’s exactly why eyebrow loss can feel like a death sentence to the beauty-conscious woman. With thick, lush eyebrows in style, eyebrow loss can feel more traumatizing than ever. Hair one day, gone the next!
Cyproterone acetate works in several ways. It not only competitively blocks DHT from binding to its receptors at target tissue (Gilman et al., 1990), but it is also a progestogen that lowers testosterone levels by decreasing the release of luteinizing and follicle-stimulating hormones through pituitary-mediated supression (Gilman et al., 1990, Varothai and Bergfeld, 2014). An open intervention study of 80 women who received treatment with spironolactone (200 mg daily) or cyproterone acetate (50 mg daily or 100 mg for 10 days per month if premenopausal) showed that three of four patients demonstrated an improvement or stabilization of their disease with no difference of effect between the therapies received (Sinclair et al., 2005).

Hair loss may also occur due to dieting. Franchised diet programs which are designed or administered under the direction of a physician with prescribed meals, dietary supplements and vitamin ingestion have become popular. Sometimes the client is told that vitamins are a necessary part of the program to prevent hair loss associated with dieting. From a dermatologists’s standpoint, however, the vitamins cannot prevent hair loss associated with rapid, significant weight loss. Furthermore, many of these supplements are high in vitamin A which can magnify the hair loss.


It is perfectly normal for people to shed 50 to 100 hairs per day. This generally doesn't cause noticeable thinning of scalp hair because new hair is growing in at the same time that hair is shedding. However, hair loss occurs when this hair growth cycle and shedding is disrupted or when the hair follicle becomes destroyed and replaced with scar tissue. Female pattern hair loss (androgenetic alopecia) is the most common form of hair loss in women. This occurs gradually and is caused by genetics (from either side of the family), age, and the action of a specific male hormone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This hormone is found in lesser amounts in women and it preys on the hair follicles, preventing them from receiving vital nutrients for proper hair follicle growth, leading to the hairs shrinking, and resulting in a shorter lifespan. Interestingly, DHT does not need to be elevated to generate hair loss. Estrogen, when lowered as commonly seen in menopause, creates a change in the ratio of male to female hormones, giving an edge to these male hormones. Compounded with the sensitivity of DHT to the hair follicles, heredity can affect the age at which a woman begins to lose her hair, as well as the rate of hair loss and the extent of baldness. 
Telogen effluvium, a type of scalp hair loss characterized by hair shedding, may affect the eyebrows as well. It can be caused by any emotional or physiological stress, for example acute or chronic illnesses, hormonal changes, nutritional deficiencies, and medications that alter the normal hair cycle and cause the hair the enter the telogen phase prematurely.
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Yes. Hyperandrogenism, a medical condition characterized by excessive production of male hormones called androgens, can cause hair loss in affected women. The most common cause of hyperandrogenism in women is functional ovarian hyperandrogenism, also known as polycystic ovary syndrome. In addition to hair loss, other signs include obesity, acne, and irregular menstruation, and it is one of the most common causes of infertility.
But, interestingly — and what most people don't initially realize — is that eyebrow hair loss is often a sign of an internal disease. The classic example of this is an under-active or over-active thyroid. Loss of the outer third of the eyebrow, in particular, is a characteristic sign of an under-active thyroid. Fortunately, thyroid conditions are easily treatable, usually with oral medications, but the medications generally have to be taken for life. The eyebrows should grow back, but there is always the possibility that they may not. The thyroid gland plays a huge role in our bodies, so it is important to have any thyroid issues treated.
In men, finasteride (originally marketed as Proscar) is approved for hair loss associated with androgens. In one study, 62% of women also taking oral contraceptives containing the synthetic progestin drospirenone reported improvement. So it may be effective for female hair loss in the setting of increased androgen. But studies are limited and it is harmful to the male fetus so should not be used by women thinking about becoming pregnant or who are pregnant.
The hormone imbalance known as hypothyroidism is a common cause of abnormal eyebrow thinning, especially in women; roughly 27 million Americans suffer from thyroid disease, and about 80 percent of them are women. Thinning eyebrows appear as a symptom of both hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid production) and hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid production), alongside issues such as excessive fatigue, difficulty losing weight and constantly feeling cold. If your brows appear particularly thin around the edges, visit your doctor for a thyroid screening, which should include thorough blood work. With prescription medication, your eyebrows should fill back in over the ensuing months.
Giorgos Tsetis: When you want to solve an issue, you must first thoroughly understand the problem. A lot of times, especially in the pharma world, everybody is trying to identify the magic pill that targets a single trigger. But, that's the exact reason there hasn't been a drug that holistically and indefinitely ends the problem. You can't zero in on one specific trait or symptom, you really have to solve for the many causes. When it comes to hair loss for men and women, there are several causes that disrupt the natural hair growth cycle. Basic vitamins and minerals only act as a temporary bandaid for hair health deficiencies, which is simply not enough. Hair loss and thinning hair means your body is imbalanced and there's something off, because hair follicles are mini organs.
Also called “chastetree,” Vitex is an herb which is typically prescribed to treat estrogen dominance. It seems to be recommended as a remedy for especially low levels of estrogen as well however, and does seem to have a general balancing effect on the overall ratio of estrogen to progesterone. Vitex’s balancing effect is thought to result from the stimulation of dopamine production.
Thank goodness! I am a teacher which requires me to get up about 5:30 during the school year. This summer, I will turn 62 and although I’ve always had problems waking up early in the morning – he it is so severe that I am sleeping 12 to 14 hours a day! This is terrifying as school starts in less than two weeks. I am postmenopausal for close to 20 years now and recently found out that my estrogen level is elevated. Your article is a godsend; I will now be able to have an intelligent discussion with my gynecologist and hopefully become a morning person for the first time in my adult life!
A. It certainly is an option for women, although it's very expensive and not covered by insurance. I'd make sure the surgeon does women patients, because … their thinning pattern is a little different so a different strategy is needed and familiarity with how women thin is important. Again, if you're going to pursue this, don't wait until you're hair loss is really bad.
Hair loss in women can be related to genetics, hormones and age. Androgenetic alopecia, also known as female pattern hair loss, is one of the most common causes of hair loss in women. Hair loss in women may be caused by a serious medical condition that needs proper attention and treatment as early as possible. The hair loss patterns in women usually differ from those in men. Find out more about hair loss in women.
A decline of estrogen, whether due to menopause or other hormonal imbalances, can also affect hair growth. You'll experience a thinning or loss of pubic hair as well as hair on your scalp if you have low levels of estrogen in your body. You might also experience unwanted hair growth on your face during menopause, when your estrogen levels are at their lowest. This phenomenon occurs because the lack of estrogen leaves you with a hormonal imbalance of sorts; you have more androgens, or male hormones, than female hormones in your body, which contributes to some male-like symptoms such as body and facial hair.

The term “common baldness” usually means male-pattern baldness, or permanent-pattern baldness. Male-pattern baldness is the most common cause of hair loss in men. Men who have this type of hair loss usually have inherited the trait. Men who start losing their hair at an early age tend to develop more extensive baldness. In male-pattern baldness, hair loss typically results in a receding hair line and baldness on the top of the head.
Despite the name androgenetic alopecia, the exact role of hormones is uncertain. It is well known that androgens affect the growth of the scalp and body hair and even Hippocrates observed 2,400 years ago that eunuchs did not experience baldness (Yip et al., 2011). However, hyperandrogenism cannot be the only pathophysiologic mechanism for FPHL because the majority of women with FPHL neither have abnormal androgen levels nor do they demonstrate signs or symptoms of androgen excess (Atanaskova Mesinkovska and Bergfeld, 2013, Schmidt and Shinkai, 2015, Yip et al., 2011). Furthermore, cases have been reported in which FPHL developed in patients with complete androgen insensitivity syndrome or hypopituitarism with no detectable androgen levels (Cousen and Messenger, 2010, Orme et al., 1999).
But there’s load of hope! Just know it takes time and first and foremost it takes knowing the cause of the hair loss. That’s the only way to get on top of the issue. The type of hair loss you have (all over, patchy, thinning, losing only at temples, lack of new hair growth after shedding, etc.) points to the underlying cause of your shedding locks. So always start there.
Hair loss may also occur due to dieting. Franchised diet programs which are designed or administered under the direction of a physician with prescribed meals, dietary supplements and vitamin ingestion have become popular. Sometimes the client is told that vitamins are a necessary part of the program to prevent hair loss associated with dieting. From a dermatologists’s standpoint, however, the vitamins cannot prevent hair loss associated with rapid, significant weight loss. Furthermore, many of these supplements are high in vitamin A which can magnify the hair loss.
What she doesn’t mention is how to regrow your brows after chemo-related brow loss! If you have recently undergone chemotherapy, your brows may be a bit wonky in the beginning, but you still want them, right? They are the frame for your beautiful face. Every October we host a “Buy One Give One for the Cure” campaign, where for every bottle of WINK  sold, we donate one to a cancer survivor. If that’s you, shoot us an email so we can get you hooked up.

Hansen's disease, also known as leprosy, is an infection of the skin and nerves caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium leprae. The disease often affects the skin of the eyebrow region, leading to loss of sensation and permanent loss of the eyebrow hairs. There are numerous other rare and uncommon causes of eyebrow hair loss, including vitamin A toxicity, nutritional disorders and other dermatological disorders. If you experience loss of eyebrow hair, see your doctor to evaluate the cause and to discuss a treatment plan.
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