This plant is native to North America and has been used for centuries by indigenous people to treat menstrual and menopausal disorders. While modern research results are mixed, some studies do indicate that black cohosh can be effective as a treatment in menopause. While the research focuses on hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause that get more attention than hair loss, it follows that black cohosh could also help to improve hair growth when estrogen levels decline.
There are numerous diseases that can affect the hair and scalp. Hair loss can be caused by a variety of conditions. Diseases such as alopecia areata, anemia, male/female pattern baldness, and infections of the scalp can all cause significant difficulty and loss of daily well-being. Stanford Dermatology has established a special clinic focusing on the diagnosis and treatment of these disorders of the hair.
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.
A number of skin and hair disorders can lead to eyebrow hair loss and sometimes it may be linked to systemic diseases like lupus. Specific skin and hair disorders that are most likely to lead to eyebrow thinning and hair loss have been discussed below but other conditions like psoriasis may also be involved if it occurs on the eyebrow or forehead. Eyebrow hair loss may occur in people on chemotherapy (cancer medication) and with radiation therapy to the head.
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).
Also, what we tend to forget is that while it’s easy for most women to recognize financial, emotional or overwhelm type stress, we also have internal metabolic and biochemical stresses like anemia, inflammation and nutrient deficiencies that we are often less aware of. Diet and exercise can also become stresses. It is well known that low calorie dieting or excessive exercise are commonly associated with hair loss.
Elizabeth Willett is the Senior Herbalist and Lead Educator at NaturalFertilityInfo.com. She holds a BS in Mass Communications (2000) from Minnesota State University, and a Master of Arts degree (MA, 2010) in Holistic Health Studies with a specialization is herbalism from St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN. Liz has written over 200 articles on women’s fertility and brings a vast wealth of knowledge and expertise in holistic health and healing to Natural Fertility Info.com
The different phases may last for varying periods of times from several years in anagen, to a few months in telogen or several weeks in anagen. Fortunately not all hair follicles are in the same phase at the same time. So the majority of the follicles will be in anagen phase, while a smaller amount will be in the catagen phase and a few follicles will be in the telogen phase. This ensures that there is always some hair present even when the follicle is not active and the hair is not growing.
Like with low thyroid, there can be a myriad of imbalances at play with PCOS related hair loss making it a complex issue that’s often written off as merely high testosterone. While androgen excess and hypersensitivity of the hair follicles to these hormones are part of the issue, these are other contributing factors to PCOS related hair loss as well:
Check for hypothyroidism. If you also notice unexplained weight gain, chronic fatigue, feeling depressed, or feeling colder than usual in low temperatures, your thyroid gland may not be producing enough hormones. You may also notice your periods getting heavier or becoming sporadic. Hypothyroidism is most common in women, especially over age 50, and it can be treated with a synthetic hormone.
Atopic dermatitis is a form of eczema that causes red, itchy patches of skin. Involvement of the skin around the eyes can lead to swelling, skin inflammation and loss of the eyebrow hairs, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Skin-irritating cosmetics and soaps may aggravate atopic dermatitis. The eyebrows often regrow when the condition becomes inactive.
Traumas such as major surgery, poisoning and severe stress may cause a hair loss condition known as telogen effluvium, in which a large number of hairs enter the resting phase at the same time, causing shedding and subsequent thinning hair in men and women alike. The condition also presents as a side effect of chemotherapy. While targeting dividing cancer cells, this treatment also affects hair’s growth phase, with the result that almost 90% of hairs fall out soon after chemotherapy starts.
“The biggest mistake I see is people being too heavy handed with their eyebrow products,” says Megan Studabaker, a registered nurse and owner of Finespun Brow Design in Scottsdale, Arizona. “I recommend applying products in hair-like strokes, versus just filling in with powder because it often gets smeared and messy which isn’t achieving the polished look you are going for.” I’ve had good luck using Benefit Precisely, My Brow Pencil ($24) and Foolproof Brow Powder ($24).
If you have any more concerns about licorice, just remember that licorice candies are a Dutch treat, and overseas, plenty of Dutch people are consuming the stuff on a regular basis with no ill effects. In moderation, this may be an effective (and tasty) way to raise your estrogen levels. While you are at it, you can reduce any heartburn problems you happen to have.
What’s more likely is that telogen effluvium is at play (again). In addition to hormone fluctuations, this type of hair loss happens when there is a drastic dip in protein in the diet or sudden weight loss. For example, if you are sick and can only consume liquids for a month. “If you have protein levels that drop dramatically, your hair follicles go into hibernation, and you can see sudden acute hair loss that shows up three to six months later,” says Dr. Katta.
It’s important to keep your stress levels in check to prevent a hormonal imbalance. Reduced estrogen production can affect your brain chemistry and cause mood swings, anxiety, and depression. However, doing yoga and other breathing relaxation methods are especially effective in fighting menopausal symptoms. Exercising regularly can also help reduce stress.
The complex actions of genetics, DHT, shifting of hormone ratios and age-related volume loss can commonly occur in women in their 40’s and 50’s. However, just like in men, genetic hair loss can appear at all ages after puberty. In fact, hair loss occurs with relatively high frequency even in women in their 20’s and 30’s. The majority of women with female pattern hair loss initially develop diffuse thinning over the front and top of the scalp, while maintaining the frontal hairline. This thinning may present with a widening through the central part line while others may present initially with either episodic or continuous hair shedding, prior to any noticeable decrease in hair volume. In addition, thinning may also be seen throughout the scalp, including the temple areas as well as the back and sides.
There is also a different in the form of 5AR enzyme (5 alpha reductase) found on the facial hair follicles vs. the scalp hair follicles. This enzyme converts testosterone into that more problematic DHT. Type I DHT is found in sebaceous glands on the face and genital area whereas Type II is found in hair follicles of the scalp. Type II DHT is typically more of a problem in men, but Type II is increased in disorders with high testosterone like PCOS.
If, however, you aren’t so sure that any of the causes listed above are a problem for you, then a good place to start may be to talk with your healthcare provider about testing. It is important to learn the root cause – especially if dealing with infertility – because that which is causing hair thinning and shedding may also be contributing to your inability to conceive.
It is known that estrogen plays a great role in reducing bodily hair, in promoting the growth of the hair on your head, controlling height, reducing the muscle mass, promoting the breast growth, keeping the skin smooth, keeping away from wrinkles, regulating menstrual cycle in women, preventing fatigue, keeping away depression etc. From all these it can be known that estrogen hormone is important for the overall health of an individual.
Eyebrow loss, also known as superciliary madarosis, can occur with a variety of medical conditions. Madarosis can affect one or both eyebrows with partial or complete hair loss. Infections, chronic skin disorders, hormone disturbances, autoimmune diseases and medications are among the many medical reasons for eyebrow loss. In most cases, identification and treatment of the underlying condition leads to regrowth of the eyebrows. Permanent eyebrow loss can occur with disorders that permanently damage the hair follicles.
While these factors contribute to hair loss for any woman, it’s particularly dicey for those of us with PCOS because when the follicle is exposed to our elevated androgens such as DHT (di-hydro testosterone, an active metabolite of testosterone) it gets damaged. Whenever a cell is damaged it generates oxidative stress which further alters the androgen receptor in the follicle perpetuating the issue.