Mane is human pride. It is the crown nurtured by nature that everyone likes to show off. Besides, who wouldn’t want to be complimented for their gorgeous long and shining hair? However, finding strands of hair stuck on the pillow, helmet or in the towel and comb can be frightening too.
Do you know that every person typically sheds 50 to 100 strands of hair daily? However, if the hair fall is more excessive than usual, it means you suffer from a hair fall issue. This medical condition is called telogen effluvium. In addition, there are multiple reasons for hair fall, which include hormonal changes, medications, and heredity.
But do you know when it is the right time to visit a doctor for hair loss? How to understand what causes hair loss and how to prevent hair fall? For this, it is essential to know everything about hair loss and which are the hormones that trigger it.
Read the entire article till the end to learn more about the causes and play of hormones in triggering hair loss.
The cycle of hair growth
Before we head to the causes of hair fall, it is imperative to understand the overall hair growth cycle. Our hair goes through three phases which are:
- Anagen phase: Also known as the growing phase, it lasts from 2 to 8 years. A person during this phase has over 85% to 90% of the hair on their scalp.
- Catagen phase: The transition phase (Short Resting Phase) leads to shrinkage of hair follicles and lasts for 2 to 3 weeks.
- Telogen phase: The resting phase takes two to four months. During the end of Telogen, the hair falls out. A person during this phase has over 15% of the hair on their scalp.
What are the Common Causes of Hair Fall?
Telogen Effluvium is a condition caused while the hair remains in Telogen during the natural shedding phase of the growth cycle. It tends to get resolved with time. Some of the most typical causes include:
- Thyroid issues
- If you have undergone recent surgery, leading blood loss
- If you are suffering from emotional distress
- Rapid weight loss
- If you are under certain medications
- Crash diet
Two types of telogen effluvium are, Acute (Eg: Post febrile illness, Post-Partum) and Chronic ( Eg: Iron deficiency, Thyroid disease).
Most women tend to experience hair loss post-delivery. It is reasoned to decrease estrogen (conversion of Hair follicles to Telogen ) levels and gets resolved within a year.
Androgenetic alopecia is commonly known as a male or female pattern of baldness due to an imbalance in hormone levels. Although it happens to people across ages often begins after puberty. In the case of women, androgenetic alopecia develops when they are going through menopause. Furthermore, changes in hormones like thyroid and estrogen also trigger hair fall.
People experience sudden onset loss of plenty of hair during the anagen phase of hair growth. It is caused due to radiation, chemotherapy, autoimmune disease, or protein energy malnutrition.
It is witnessed in women who like tying their hair tightly. Besides, tying different hairstyles tends to loosen the hair from the roots causing hair loss.
Another reason for hair loss is side effects caused due to certain medications. For example, consuming medicines like warfarin (a form of blood thinner), Accutane, antidepressants such as Zoloft and Prozac, Lopid (cholesterol-reducing drug) and beta blockers lead to hair fall.
Deficiency of nutrients
Dietary deficiency of essential minerals or vitamins like iron leads to excessive hair loss.
Consuming birth control pills
Women may experience hair loss when using birth control pills. This is because these contain higher levels of Androgen, increasing hair fall risk.
The Impact of Hormones on Hair Fall:
The hair follicles and hair growth cycle is affected by different hormones. One such hormone is Androgen which includes dihydrotestosterone (DHT), testosterone (T) and its prohormones, androstenedione, and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS). These hormones block the usual hair growth cycle by transitioning hair follicles from the growth stage to the fall stage directly.
4 Important Hormones that trigger Hair Fall!
Cortisol is a form of stress hormone released by the adrenal gland. It helps the body handle stressful situations when the flight or fight system of the brain is switched on. When the body triggers the hormone, the cortisone signals the hair follicles to shift from the growth phase into catagen and then to the telogen phase.
Which are the best ways and food to reduce cortisol?
Being mindful of food will help reduce stress and manage cortisol levels. Here are ways to reduce cortisol:
- Consume whole grains, vegetables, grains and polyunsaturated fats
- Green tea includes L-theanine, that not only reduces stress but also increases mental alertness
- Food high in fiber supports the development of healthy gut microbes along with managing blood sugar levels
- Dark chocolate includes a high amount of flavonoids that act as a buffer in lowering the cortisol release
High androgen levels, including DHT, shrink the hair follicles and shorten the hair growth cycle. As a result, it causes the hair to look thinner and brittle leading to speedy fallout. In addition, DHT restricts the scalp from growing new follicles after the old ones fall out.
Which are the best ways and food to reduce DHT?
The human body converts 5% of testosterone into DHT using 5-alpha reductase, a form of the enzyme. Some of the best food to reduce cortisol include:
- White onions contain antioxidant quercetin, which inhibits the DHT production from testosterone. In addition, it blocks the alpha 5 reductase enzyme and thereby decreases oxidative stress.
- Green tea contains a chemical called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which protects the hair follicles from hair loss
- Coconut oil includes a high level of fats which enables in blocking of DHT
- Turmeric contains curcumin that helps in blocking DHT and prevents hair loss
Health conditions like hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism lead to hair loss. In addition, an imbalance of thyroid secretion from the glands obstructs the usual hair growth cycle and directly transitions hair from the growing phase to Telogen, causing telogen effluvium.
Which are the best ways and food to reduce Thyroid Hormones?
- Brazil nuts are a rich source of selenium which speeds metabolism and antioxidant function.
- Consuming sardines, which are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, allows the thyroid gland to remain healthy.
- A diet rich in eggs that are packed with selenium, iodine, and omega-3 fatty acids turns the thyroid gland healthy.
- Apples are loaded with iodine which helps in reducing thyroid-related issues.
Estrogen allows hair growth during the anagen phase or growing phase. A drop in the level of estrogen slows down the growth of hair, leading to hair thinning. Conversely, it triggers an increase in androgen levels, a form of male hormones that tend to shrink the follicles leading to hair loss.
Which are the best ways and food to reduce estrogen?
- Exercise regularly to prevent mood swings and the impact of hormonal imbalance, thereby promoting hair growth.
- Eat low-fat and balanced diet comprising of fruits, whole grains, and vegetables to restore hair growth.
- Drink at least 8 ounces of glasses each day to regulate hormonal function.
- Stay away from excessive heat and hair smoothening tools, which contribute to hair breakage
When Should You See a Doctor?
Hair Fall is caused because of stress and other underlying health conditions. However, hair fall itself can be a significant cause of stress. Therefore, if you are experiencing continuous and excessive hair loss and receding hairline, it is time to consult a dermatologist to take preventive measures.
You should speak to a healthcare professional if you notice patchy hair loss or unusual hair fall stuck in your comb while washing hair or on the pillow. It may reflect an underlying health condition or hormonal imbalance which requires immediate treatment.
Allevia Medical Center is a renowned health care provider and the best dermatology hospital in Qatar. They comprise expert dermatologists and medical professionals who offer timely diagnosis and treatment to resolve hair fall issues.
Different hormones impact hair follicles in different ways. A slight imbalance in hormones like estrogen, DHT, cortisol, thyroid, etc., reverses the hair growth pattern by directly transitioning hair from the anagen phase to the telogen phase. While finding a few hair strands is normal, losing excessive hair is alarming and dips your confidence.
Understand the commonest causes of hair fall and the effect of hormones on hair growth. Then, wait no longer and consult the best dermatologist in Qatar to immediately address the hair fall issue.