The Advanced Guide to Estrogen Hair Loss Connections
Estrogen Hair Loss Connections
The Best Advice You Could Ever Get About What Is Estrogen?
Estrogen or oestrogen is one of two sex hormones that women have. The other one is progesterone. Estrogen is responsible for female physical features and reproductions. Men have estrogen too, but is smaller amount. The term “estrogen” refers to all of the chemically similar hormones in this group, which are estrone, estradiol (primary in women of reproductive age) and estriol.
en is the hormone that controls a woman’s monthly cycle and causes a girl to develop into an adult during puberty. In women, the ovaries are responsible of producing estrogen. Fat cells produce this hormone too. Adrenal glands also make some oestrogen, which is why men will have estrogen in small amounts. At the onset of puberty, estrogen plays a role in the development of the secondary sex characteristics, such as breasts, pubic hair and armpit hair. The blood is responsible of transporting estrogen to the whole body.
Dr. Oz discusses the importance of estrogen, progesterone, testosterone in maintaining good health.
Clearly, estrogen is important to our over all well-being. And our hair can be one of the first areas affected when something upsets the hormonal balance in our bodies. Here is what this hormone is responsible of:
Reduces bodily hair.
Keeps your skin smooth.
Promotes the growth of the hair on your head.
Controls your height (explaining why men are usually taller than women).
Reduces the mass of your muscles.
Promotes the growth of breasts and gives you your ‘womanly curves’.
Helps regulate your menstrual cycle.
Keeps wrinkles at bay.
Keeps the vagina moist and promotes libido.
Helps keep depression at bay and contributes to a positive outlook.
Helps prevent fatigue.
During pregnancy, the placenta produces oestrogen, specifically the hormone estriol. Oestrogen controls lactation and other changes in the breasts, including at adolescence and during pregnancy. This hormone works with vitamin D, calcium and other hormones to effectively break down and rebuild bones according to the body’s natural processes.
Changes In Oestrogen Levels
There are many times throughout a person’s life when oestrogen levels may change. When your body makes too much or too little of this hormone, it can create problems. For example, estrogen levels naturally increase during puberty and during pregnancy. The hormone levels fall after menopause, or when a woman stops menstruating. This reduction in estrogen production can cause symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, insomnia, low libido and loss of sex drive. Mood swings and dry skin are also a problem. Estrogen levels also decrease after childbirth.
Other conditions that can cause oestrogen levels to drop include hypogonadism (or diminished function of the ovaries) and polycystic ovarian syndrome. Extreme exercise and anorexia can also cause a decrease in estrogen levels because women with low body fat may not be able to produce adequate amounts of estrogen.
High levels of this hormone can cause weight gain and menstrual changes, as well as a worsening of PMS symptoms. Cysts in the breasts and fibroids in the uterus can also happen.
Normal Estrogen Levels
The range of normal varies widely depending on a person’s age. For those between 20-29, the average is 149 pg/ml and will increase to 210 pg/ml for females 30-39. The level falls back to 152 pg/ml for women over 40 who are not yet in menopause. These levels are generalizations as the exact level varies on a daily basis and is closely tied to the various phases of the menstrual cycle.
Low estrogen levels
Severe deficiency of estrogen can result in levels as low as 10-20 pg/ml and produce a variety of symptoms including fatigue, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and memory impairment. Some women will experience irritability, mood swings and feel drained and exhausted. Estrogen deficiency can result from eating disorders such as anorexia, menopause, surgical removal of the ovaries and congenital conditions.
Men who have too little estrogen may have excess belly fat and low libido.
High Estrogen Levels
Excess estrogen levels are typically noted when estrogen is in excess of 200 pg/ml. Causes include obesity, exogenous intake (medications), stress, cardiovascular disease and lifestyle. Men with too much estrogen may grow breasts and have poor erections.
A person can take simple remedies to increase or decrease the estrogen level if she/he suffer abnormal estrogen levels.
Three Types of Estrogen
Not all estrogen is the same. The body makes three types:
Estradiol – Common in childbearing women.
Estriol – The estrogen produced during pregnancy.
Estrone – The estrogen produced after menopause.
Estrogen And Hair Loss
Our hair grows in stages, The growing stage is called the anagen phase and lasts for several years. The resting stage is called the catagen phase and lasts for a few weeks.
There is evidence that estrogen actually slows the rate of growth, extending the growth phase so more hair is at this stage at any moment in time. This is why women’s hair is more abundant than men’s. Studies suggest that estrogen doesn’t JUST protect against hair loss, but actually stimulates new hair growth. The relationship between estrogen and hair loss is particularly noticeable during pregnancy, when the higher concentrations give women hair that’s thicker, healthier and more plentiful than usual. However, this extra hair tends to fall out within several months of giving birth.
Whilst elevated estrogen levels during pregnancy encourage hair growth, decreased estrogen levels in the body may contribute to hair loss. This is most noticeable during menopause. Hair loss during menopause is usually a direct result of fluctuating hormone levels. Two main hormones are involved in hair growth: estrogen and testosterone.
Estrogen is not the only hormone that comes into play in menopausal hair loss. Androgen, or male hormones, often increase as estrogen levels decrease. This causes androgenic alopecia, another form of hair loss. An androgen known as dihydrotestosterone (DHT) appears to bind to hair follicles and force them to go into their “resting” phases, or telogen, sooner than normal, causing the new hairs to grow ever thinner with each cycle of hair growth. Testosterone also shrinks hair follicles, causing hair loss on the head but a greater production of facial hair.
Estrogen Supplements And Hair Loss In Women
If your doctor suspects that your hair loss is caused by a lack of estrogen then (s)he may offer you supplementary estrogen known as Hormone Replacement Therapy? either taken orally or applied topically to the skin as a gel or patch. Some women are given the birth control pill to boost their estrogen levels. However, you may notice hair loss if you’re taking supplementary estrogen, then stop. Case in point are women who come off birth control, only to find that their hair begins to shed at a rapid rate. This tends to be temporary, however, and usually corrects itself when the body rediscovers its hormonal balance.
The link between estrogen and hair loss can also be seen in women treated for cancer, when the ovarian function is destroyed, or in menopausal women whose ovaries are removed. In either case, the body’s estrogen levels will drop significantly.
That being said, estrogen supplementation is still somewhat controversial, with some sources pointing out that there are few medical studies supporting its effectiveness. Whilst others stating that estrogen deficiency as a cause of hair loss has not found its way into medical textbooks. But this does not stop it from happening.