A lot of the women who have taken my quiz to learn their hair loss type are finding that they’re the “hormonal” hair loss type and may be experiencing something called androgenic (or, androgenetic) alopecia.
Androgens are sometimes called ‘masculinizing hormones’ and they include testosterone, androstenedione, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and DHEA sulfate (DHEA-S). Despite being considered masculinizing, women need these hormones too, but only in small amounts. It’s when these hormones become chronically high that women may start to notice issues such as irregular periods, acne, unusual hair growth (hirsutism), and hair loss (sometimes called female pattern baldness or androgenic alopecia).
The way that androgenic hormones can lead to hair loss is because of their ability to shut down hair growth. Androgenic hormones, like DHT, can bind to the hormone receptor on our hair follicle. When this happens out follicle’s growth phase is shortened and the rest phase gets extended. Less growing and more resting results in thin, sparse looking hair.
Are androgens the only type of hormones that can lead to hair loss? Read more here.
Quick sidebar: Many of the women I speak with are convinced that they have abnormally high levels of androgens that are contributing to their hair loss even though they’ve never had a comprehensive hormone panel run. It’s best not to make assumptions about the root-cause of your hair loss. There are many different reasons that women can experience hair loss and the best way to resolve it is to learn more about what is happening with your body. If you’re ready to start learning more about the root-causes of your hair loss, download your copy of my eBook Girl’s Guide to Reversing Hair Loss.
So, we know that getting hormones tested is a very important step towards addressing the root-cause of hair loss. But, if you’ve had your androgenic hormone levels tested and they are abnormally high (maybe you’ve even been diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome, PCOS) can we say that this is the root-cause of our hair loss?
Simply knowing that our hormones are imbalanced and are contributing to hair loss is not the root of the issue. To help clients understand this, I like to say that hormone imbalances are the “WHAT” of hair loss. But next we need to find the “WHY” of hair loss, and that’s the real root-cause of our symptoms.
Even though everyone is going to be different, and I can’t tell you what your individual root-causes are in a blog post, there are certain elements that commonly lead to hormone imbalance and high levels of androgens. Ask yourself how many of these bullet points you can identify with and where you’d like to improve. It’s likely that you’ll find at least one where you can make changes and have a positive impact on your hormonal hair loss.
Here’s a list of things to try to STOP doing if you have high androgens:
- Sleeping less than 8 hours
Letting stress run rampant, unchecked
Hitting the gym too frequently or too hard
Eating too many highly-processed carbohydrates
Cutting out healthy fats
Exposing your body to high levels of toxins
All of these habits can push our bodies to produce more hair-growth-sabotaging androgens like DHT. If you’re experiencing hormonal hair loss, it might be time to realign your habits to be more balanced.
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