Trichotillomania is a hair pulling disorder associated with anxiety, stress, depression, boredom and frustration. It is where a person manually removes hairs with their finger, either a few strands throughout the day or sometimes many strands at one time during an emotional outburst. This behavior is usually a means of coping with stress or emotional turmoil. However, it can sometimes become a habit that is difficult to break. The eyebrows is a commonly targeted area as is the scalp.
Try out new hairstyles to disguise your thinning hair whilst you recover your hormonal balance. You may also want to consider a hair piece or clip-in extensions if your hair loss is very bad, but these should be used with care in order to prevent traction alopecia. You may also like to try using rollers or a hair volumizer, to add lift to your locks, or instantly hide thin patches with a good hair loss concealer.
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.
Women using oestrogen supplementation or taking birth control pills will also experience hair loss when they cease supplying their body with extra oestrogen. These forms of hair loss may be temporary but this, however, does not mean that there is no link between oestrogen and permanent hair loss. Scientists have noted up to 30 hormones that could play a role in female pattern hair loss – the genetic kind of hair loss – and oestrogen, whilst poorly explored, may be one of them. It’s alright if the excess hairs are the ones that are lost but when normal hair falls out, there’s a problem.
Because too much insulin (which is released by the pancreas in large amounts when we consume foods high in sugar or refined flour) signals the ovaries to produce more testosterone, and because an overload of testosterone increases the likelihood that our bodies may make more of the hair-thinning hormone DHT, work to keep blood sugar steady by eating fiber-rich whole foods. In addition, the Saw Palmetto herb has shown promise for its ability to block the conversion of testosterone into DHT, so it may help androgen-related hair loss. To date, research on saw palmetto for hair loss is limited, but the research that has been done is promising.
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.
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.
In extreme cases, such as disordered eating and anemia, an iron deficiency may be to blame for thinning brows. “Even if you don’t have anemia, and you have low levels of stored iron, that could contribute to hair loss,” says Rajani Katta, M.D., a dermatologist and clinical assistant professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, who studies the link between nutrition and hair loss. Iron is found in meat, fish, and other animal products, plus beans and legumes, so vegans and vegetarians might be more likely to be low in iron. Your derm can do a ferritin blood test to check your iron levels. But don’t start an iron supplement without medical recommendation. Too much iron can also have negative effects, says Dr. Katta.
It is an impulse-controlled disorder characterized by compulsive plucking or breakage of hair. The most frequent site of hair pulling is the scalp, but the eyebrows, eyelashes, and pubic hair may also be involved. Trichotillomania manifests in eyelashes and eyebrows as irregular patches of alopecia containing hairs of varying lengths. Inflammation, scarring, and atrophy are conspicuous by their absence. Patients often attempt to conceal their alopecia by cosmetological camouflage. In case of a diagnostic dilemma, histological features such as increased numbers of catagen hairs, pigment casts, and traumatized hair bulbs provide a clue.
Some medications have side effects that include hair loss. Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing significant hair loss and you think that your medication might be the cause. Your doctor might be able to switch you over to another type of medicine without any reported side effects. Don’t stop taking your medications until you’ve spoken with your doctor, as this could be dangerous for your health.
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.
While female hair loss may not cause physical pain, it does cause mental anguish. Fortunately, in many cases, female hair loss can be successfully treated with today’s advanced nonsurgical and surgical treatment options. After a diagnosis has been confirmed, Dr. Yaker will create a customized treatment plan depending on one’s hair characteristics, the level of hair loss and the aesthetic goals of the patient.
FPHL or androgenetic alopecia is the most common cause of hair loss in women and one of the most common chronic problems seen by dermatologists worldwide (Varothai and Bergfeld, 2014). FPHL is a nonscarring form of alopecia in which the frontal hairline is maintained, but there is progressive hair thinning at the vertex of the scalp. Thinning of the hair is secondary to alteration of the hair cycle with shortening of the anagen phase and simultaneous lengthening of telogen. This increase in the resting phase and decrease in the growth phase of the hair cycle results in the miniaturization of hair because long terminal hairs are gradually replaced by short vellus hairs (Messenger and Sinclair, 2006, Sinclair et al., 2011).