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).
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.
There is some evidence of a link between baldness and prostate cancer and other diseases. Harvard Medical School reports that men with vertex baldness have 1.5 times more of a risk of developing prostate cancer than men without bald spots. The risk of coronary artery disease is also more than 23 percent higher in men with vertex bald spots. Investigations are ongoing as to whether there is a link between DHT levels and metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and other health conditions.

Topical estrogen and progesterone creams and oral medications are generally the forms prescribed for post-menopausal women with androgenetic alopecia. But HRT will rarely, if ever, be prescribed for treatment of hair loss alone.] If you have other bothersome symptoms which might warrant HRT, in addition to hair loss, you'll first need to undergo a thorough gynecologic and physical exam, and will likely have blood tests done to measure hormone levels before these drugs are prescribed.

Infestation with the mite D. folliculorum which inhabits the eyelashes is well known. Two species are known to inhabit human beings—D. folliculorum and Demodex brevis.[29] It might either be asymptomatic or may cause symptoms of blepharitis. Kemal et al. report an overall prevalence of 27.4% in their study group.[88] Gao et al. have reported a 100% prevalence of the mite when there is cylindrical dandruff.[29] Patients with demodicosis can develop madarosis.[29] 

Additionally, two other considerations are important for a patient who receives treatment for FPHL. First, there is a set of reasonable expectations in patients. Maintaining the current hair density can be considered a successful treatment because women tend to have further thinning as they age (Harfmann and Bechtel, 2015). Second, it is important to ensure that patients understand that progress is slow, and months or years can be required to see a significant improvement (Boersma et al., 2014, Yeon et al., 2011). In our practice, we wait at least 6 months to assess treatment efficacy.
Both of these hairy issues are related to excess androgens that are part of PCOS.  Our hair follicles respond overzealously to testosterone creating both hair loss and hair growth. This is because the follicles on the face tend to stretch and grow causing the hair to get stuck and not fall out when they should. Conversely, the scalp hair follicles actually shrink in response to androgens and the hair can fall out or just not be as robust.
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.
The hormonal process of testosterone converting to DHT, which then harms hair follicles, happens in both men and women. Under normal conditions, women have a minute fraction of the level of testosterone that men have, but even a lower level can cause DHT- triggered hair loss in women. And certainly when those levels rise, DHT is even more of a problem. Those levels can rise and still be within what doctors consider "normal" on a blood test, even though they are high enough to cause a problem. The levels may not rise at all and still be a problem if you have the kind of body chemistry that is overly sensitive to even its regular levels of chemicals, including hormones.
When this process is disrupted you end up with thinner hair, increased hair loss, a failure to regrow new hair and all in all a super sad experience! No one love losing their hair and it’s such a huge source of upset for women I work with but I’ll be honest, it is often the last thing to change as we work through getting your hormones and metabolism more balanced. It’s simply not your body’s priority.
Take extra care in looking after your hair. Use a gentle, nourishing shampoo (we love Bumble and Bumble Gentle Shampoo) to promote good condition and prevent breakage. Try using a silk or satin pillowcase. Avoid harsh styling products and techniques that apply heat to the hair (blow drying, curling irons etc) as these can cause more damage to fragile hair.
When you see more hair in the shower drain, in your hair brush or your ponytail holder goes around an extra time all of a sudden this is typically low thyroid, high stress or low estrogen. It can also be the increased inflammation or oxidative stress or as a result of nutrient deficiencies especially anemias (low iron, B12, etc.). Let’s dig into each of these.

These are only a few of the common myths heard by physicians and other hair loss specialists on a daily basis. The American Hair Loss Council suggests that you first have your hair loss diagnosed by a competent dermatologist who sees hair loss patients on a regular basis. Once you know the diagnosis you will have a better understanding of exactly which treatment option may be best for you.
Insulin, that helper hormone in charge of regulating blood sugar levels, also affects a number of different body processes, including fat storage, heart health and, you guessed it, hair growth. One study published in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Risk found that women with some markers of insulin resistance have a greater risk for androgenic alopecia (AGA), or female pattern baldness. 

Lichen planopilaris and frontal fibrosing alopecia inflammatory conditions, in which the inflammation destroys the hair follicle, can cause a scar or permanent hair loss (usually present as red patches with redness and scale around each hair follicle). In the very advanced stages, they may appear as smooth, bald patches where the hair follicles have been destroyed. Androgenetic hair loss is another non-scarring type. The most common type of hair loss, it is due to the complex interplay of genes, hormones, and age.

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


Eating too many high-glycemic foods for too long (often in combination with other lifestyle factors, like being sedentary and experiencing chronic, unremitting stress) can cause an overload of insulin in the body—and too much insulin disrupts ovulation and signals the ovaries to make testosterone. More testosterone predisposes the body to more DHT conversion, and, hence, more hair loss.


Telogen effluvium is a condition where a large number of hair follicles enter the resting phase known as telogen. As these hairs may fall off, it is not replaced with new hair at the same area and this leads to a bald patch on the eyebrows. A number of hormonal factors (like with hypothyroidism and pregnancy) may be responsible and it is also related to certain diseases, nutritional deficiencies, chronic medication use and even metal toxicity. It is now also known that stress can push many more hair follicles than normal into this phase.
There is pilosebaceous inflammation[45] with both scarring and non-scarring alopecia depending on the degree of inflammation. Most commonly, there is involvement of the head and neck, though widespread involvement is also seen. Eyebrow loss is a prominent finding and may be the presenting symptom when the eyebrow region is involved in the acute benign form of follicular mucinosis.[46]
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These are only a few of the common myths heard by physicians and other hair loss specialists on a daily basis. The American Hair Loss Council suggests that you first have your hair loss diagnosed by a competent dermatologist who sees hair loss patients on a regular basis. Once you know the diagnosis you will have a better understanding of exactly which treatment option may be best for you.
The most common type of hair loss seen in women is androgenetic alopecia, also known as female pattern alopecia or baldness. This is seen as hair thinning predominantly over the top and sides of the head. It affects approximately one-third of all susceptible women, but is most commonly seen after menopause, although it may begin as early as puberty. Normal hair fall is approximately 100-125 hairs per day. Fortunately, these hairs are replaced. True hair loss occurs when lost hairs are not regrown or when the daily hair shed exceeds 125 hairs. Genetically, hair loss can come from either parents side of the family.

Changing the shape, thickness and length of the eyebrow is a commonly practiced beauty technique. Some people even remove the eyebrow entirely only to replace it with a pencil-drawn mark (eyebrow pencil). As with any part of the body, repeated irritation can eventually lead to hair loss. Sometimes this is due to manual trauma, chemicals from cosmetics or even infections that arise when breaks in the skin occur. While eyebrow modification will not stop as a commonly practised beauty technique, it should at least be minimized.
The term superciliary madarosis is often used describe abnormal eyebrows and eyelash hair loss which can be partial or total. Depending on the cause, the can be weird since besides the hair breaking and falling out easily, some people may end up with a part, half, inner, outer third or one on or both eyebrow missing. In fact,  thinning at ends is common.

Madarosis is a clinical sign that has become pathognomonic of leprosy in countries like India. However, this apparently benign clinical sign has wider ramifications in many systemic and dermatological disorders. Hence, establishing a proper diagnosis and appropriate management is mandatory. Though management of the primary disease results in regrowth of eyebrows and eyelashes, many require surgical management. Thus, the management of a patient with madarosis requires a coordinated effort from the dermatologist, ophthalmologist, internist, and reconstructive surgeon.
The tricky part is that it is believed that the cause of hair loss most likely happened three months prior to beginning to see hair fall out. So, the underlying cause may not be easy to pinpoint. Natural hair re-growth will take time. Just as it can take 3 months after an event to realize that hair is falling out, it can take just as long, or longer, to begin seeing hair re-growth if the cause has been addressed. It is important to be patient! There is hope!
If you’ve gotten through this list and still don’t know what’s going on, it’s time to talk to your doc. Unfortunately, madarosis–typically used to mean the loss of eyelashes, but also referring to the loss of brows–may be due to many, many things, including a number of vision and life-threatening conditions, like herpes zoster, leprosy, HIV/AIDS, trachoma, malignant eyelid tumors, discoid lupus, scleroderma, and hypothyroidism (Khong, Casson, Huilgal, Selva; Survey of Opthamology, 2006). Brow and lash loss are both indicators of underlying diseases, so yes get to your doc stat.

Skin Conditions: There are tons of skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis or an infection in the hair follicle that can cause itching, redness, and inflammation around your eyebrows. Scratching the skin around that area can cause your hair to fall out. However, since you’re not damaging your hair follicle in this case, your eyebrow hair can grow back in a few weeks’ time.
“A scalp biopsy is the gold standard for diagnosing hair loss,” said Dr. Marc Avram, a dermatologist in private practice with offices in Manhattan and Brooklyn. “The test examines the follicles themselves and can help determine whether the hair loss is genetic, inflammatory, infectious or due to an unusual physical or emotional shock to the system.”
If you’re experiencing hair loss, topical treatments like minoxidil (Rogaine) and others tend to only be partially effective, if they are effective at all; they don’t address the root causes of hair loss; they target androgenic alopecia (which only accounts for some cases of hair loss); and they come with a host of unpleasant side effects—side effects that can worsen the aesthetic problem you were hoping to fix. Rogaine can cause hair to grow in different colors and textures than the surrounding hair and can cause unwanted hair to grow on your cheeks and forehead.
Hypoproteinemia[71] causes loss of hair due to premature onset of telogen. Loss of eyebrow hair has been reported due to chronic zinc deficiency in a patient receiving only parenteral nutrition for 2 months.[26] Acrodermatitis enteropathica is an inherited disorder of zinc deficiency which shows loss of eyebrows and lashes in addition to cutaneous manifestations.[72,73] Biotin deficiency can result in encephalopathy, neurological disorders, skin desquamation, and loss of eyebrows and eyelashes.[74] Iron deficiency may be a possible cause for diffuse telogen hair loss; its exact role however is subject to speculation.[75]
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