Androgenic Hair Loss in Women

There are several types of female hair loss. We will talk about the most common, which is thinning hair due to hormone imbalance in general and testosterone dominance in particular (androgenic hair loss). It can occur anytime hormones are out of balance. Typically it occurs between the age of 45 and 55 as estrogen and progesterone begin to decline but more importantly as a woman may begin suffering low thyroid.

The problem can be solved quite simply by:

  1. balancing estrogen and progesterone with testosterone and
  2. replacing thyroid with natural desiccated thyroid.

It is normal to loose between 50 to 100 hairs a day; this is part of the hair renewal process. Excessive hair loss caused by excess androgens (testosterone) and/or low thyroid, accounts for 95% of hair loss problems. Why does female hair loss occur?

Introduction image from huffingtonpost.ca.

Reasons for Hair Loss in Women

Hair loss in women can occur because of increased levels of dehydrotestosterone (DHT) – a potent form of testosterone. Like some men the hair follicles of the head of some women can be particularly sensitive to DHT. DHT is produced by a conversion of regular testosterone as a result of declines in other hormones such as estrogen and progesterone

Image of woman with hair loss from cornerofhopeandmane.com.

Decline in thyroid hormone. Medical science is quickly moving this into the number one cause of hair loss in women. see Thyroid

What can be done to prevent hair loss?

A good starting point is to check the level of hormones through a reputable laboratory.

In consultation with your doctor get your estrogen, progesterone and/or thyroid balanced at healthy levels. This should correct most, if not all, the problem. This is to say the majority of the problem can be corrected internally. Be careful of advertisements that state they have products that can neutralize DHT externally by use of certain shampoos, creams, etc.

The importance of good diet and adequate levels of nitric oxide in the blood cannot strongly be stated enough. This information was discovered after our research on the importance of nitric oxide to the sexual function of men and women. It appears adding nitric oxide to your circulator system is not only good for your sex life and cardiovascular system, it also aids in preventing hair loss.

Hair Regrowth

Hair re-growth is a separate issue. There are products on the market such as Rogaine that have shown some results. Talk to your doctor before using any of these products.

Select a Physician

Your first decision deals with a physician partner. You need a doctor with whom you can relate to care for your hormone health and to look after the health of your uterus. They do not necessarily have to be the same physician. Key questions on hormone therapy: does the doctor use natural hormones, including growth hormone if that interests you, and will the doctor take the time to work with you? You may also elect to work with one of our doctors. In some cases we may not have a doctor in your area. In such cases we will council with you on the best way to proceed. Our doctors are board certified in family practice, internal medicine or GYN. We look for doctors who will take the time to do it right. GYN practices are typically high volume low patient visit time.
We will take good care of your hormones. We have a well-developed protocol. Most important – it is the one and only thing we do.

Perimenopause image from onlywomenstuff.com.

Early Perimenopause

During early peri-menopause, when the hormone top starts to wobble, you might do very well with a high quality non-prescription Phyto-estrogen (see Estro-Flavone) and progesterone cream. As hormones continue to decline your body will probably tell you that hormones being provided by the non-prescription products are not adequate to relieve symptoms. At that point it will be necessary to find a physician who can work with you and provide the necessary natural hormone prescriptions to replace hormones to a level that will relieve symptoms and achieve balance.

Manage Stress

Our bodies are designed for a simple diet, active lifestyle and moderate stress – the hunter-gatherer. In modern times, what we have is processed foods, inactive lives and multiple sources of daily stress. It is generally accepted that we have the ability to live healthy lives to more than 100 years. If we can give you a mental picture of how that might be, picture yourself as a hunter-gatherer with the medical miracles of today.

Diet is a challenge because our bodies are designed for simple basic foods. With processed and bio-engineered food, leached soils etc., our diets are anything but simple.

Here are some basic guidelines that can aid in your efforts:

  • Balanced Diet

    Maintain a balanced diet – approximately 33% Protein; 33% Carbohydrate; 33% Fat. It is important to minimize refined carbohydrates and limit the amount of saturated fat.

  • Pace Yourself

    Don’t try to make a major change all at once. Know where you are going and do it in small steps.

  • Take Vitamins

    Take a sensible regimen of vitamins – This is the best chance of leveling out and balancing the body’s needs as it gets older. We often know what is bad for the body; we seldom know what the body is missing. With a multiple vitamin the idea is that we give the body a variety of things we believe it might need – it will then take what it needs and eliminate what it doesn’t need in body waste. There are many multiple vitamins on the market. We have found it impossible to provide for all needs in a single tablet. We recommend to take a daily packet of vitamins designed to meet a wide variety of needs.

  • Exercise

    Exercise should be done with consistency and moderation. Like diet, determine where you are and where you want to go. If you are a “couch potato”, find ways to put activity back in your day – take the stairs, park in the space farthest from the store or go for a walk with your spouse or dog, as examples. Work up to a level of at least 30 minutes 4 to 5 times per week. Remember there was a time when a machine did not wash clothes, open the garage door or change channels on the TV.

  • Reduce Stress

    Stress is sometimes called a “killer”. It has an element of real truth. Stress causes the body to produce a hormone called cortisol. “Killer Cortisol” as it is sometimes called, is very catabolic – it destroys body tissues. It is destructive to the entire body but principally to the brain. Article coming soon. Cortisol is also the nemesis of growth hormone. Reducing or eliminating the sources of stress can help control cortisol in the body. Learning basic relaxation techniques, such a simple breathing, can minimize the effects of stress.

Female Hormone Imbalance

Following is a chart of female hormone imbalances, root cause and symptom.

Type of Symptom What it may mean:
Hot flashes Low estrogen primarily estradiol
Mood swings Low estrogen primarily estradiol
Vaginal dryness Low estriol
Bleeding May be temporary due to too much estradiol and/or not enough progesterone
Hair loss / Hair on Lip Low estrogen and progesterone creating testosterone dominance and/or low thyroid
Low sex drive Low testosterone i.e. free testosterone
Breast tenderness High estradiol and/or low progesterone
Dry Skin Low estradiol, estriol and/or thyroid
Water retention (weight gain) Low progesterone
Fibroids in uterus or breast cysts Too much estrogen and/or not enough progesterone
Mental fogginess – forgetfulness Low estrogen, testosterone and/or thyroid
Depression Low estrogen, testosterone and/or thyroid
Loss of Energy Low estrogen, testosterone and/or thyroid
Anxiety Low progesterone and/or thyroid
Bone Loss Low estradiol, progesterone and/or testosterone.

Important Elements of Female Hormone Balance

Androgenic hair falling out in women is a symptom of the larger problem of hormone imbalance. Following are many elements that are required to be healthy so that hair loss is discouraged.

Hormone balance photo from lakesidenaturalmedicine.com.

Estrogen

There are three main forms of estrogen.

  • Estradiol

    Estradiol is the strongest and most plentiful. It has the greatest effect in stopping the symptoms of hot flashes and mood swings; but is the most dangerous in terms of potential for cancer.

  • Estrone

    Estrone is produced by fat cells and a woman may therefore continue to produce this naturally even after menopause.

  • Estriol

    Estriol is the gentle hormone that is plentiful in the body during pregnancy. It is the weakest one, but has great potential in reducing the need for estradiol, estrone and relieving symptoms such as vaginal dryness, dry skin and hair loss.

Progesterone

Progesterone is essential to protect against osteoporosis and as a balance to the estrogens.

Testosterone

Testosterone is essential to prevent osteoporosis, boost mental sharpness, muscle retention, metabolism, energy and sex drive.

DHEA

DHEA is necessary to support the immune system and to counter destructive cortisol produced by stress.

Growth Hormone

Growth Hormone, though somewhat expensive, is the “youth elixir”. Working in synergy with the other hormones, it has the potential to return the body to what it was in its 30’s. It is perhaps the most effective weight control a woman can utilize.

HGH Is The “Youth” Hormone

Growth hormone is varyingly referred to as the “youth hormone” and/or “fountain of youthfulness hormone”. Yes this is the “youth” hormone used by the hollywood stars.

Human Growth Hormone photo courtesy of easyhealthoptions.com.

Like other key hormones, it starts to decline in the late twenties. This age marks the point in the life cycle where the dreaded “aging process” begins. Produced by the pituitary gland (the body’s master gland), growth hormone impacts nearly every cell and stimulates the release of a few hundred growth factors in the body. It also helps other hormones penetrate into cells and react more efficiently.

Growth Hormone Deficiency Syndrome

So fundamental is this hormone to proper physiological function that its decline in the body correlates directly to the aging process. In recognition of this connection, scientists have designated it as a specific clinical syndrome – Growth Hormone Deficiency Syndrome. Looking at yourself in the mirror and comparing it to a picture at age 30, the difference is largely attributable to a decline in growth hormone. Replacing growth hormone can move the body to what it was at age 30.

Though somewhat expensive, it is one of the best weight control and body sculpting elements known to medical science. It is particularly effective on women and men in reducing that difficult area around the middle. Testosterone builds muscle, growth hormone sculpts the muscles to a younger age.

Relief Offered From Replacing Lost HGH

  • Increased metabolism – coupled with testosterone, growth hormone is perhaps the best weight control known to medical science. The relationship of the two hormones is 1+1=3. This means that growth hormone and testosterone work better when used together. There is an average gain in muscle mass of 9% and loss of 14% body fat without doing anything different!
  • Younger, thicker skin and fewer wrinkles
  • Higher energy, exercise performance and cardiac output
  • Improved mental sharpness and memory
  • Stronger immune system (resistance to disease)
  • Improved sex drive
  • Tissue regeneration and healing of wounds
  • Regeneration of internal organs all of which shrink with age
  • Stronger bones
  • Enhanced “can do” attitude (some have describe it as “the invincibility of youth”)

Thyroid Hormone

Thyroid Hormone is critical to overall hormone function. As people age this hormone tends to decline, producing a condition known as hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism can contribute to hair loss in women. Treating this condition can help to restore hair growth.

Explaining the function of the thyroid is complicated at best, however, we must talk about it because of its importance. We will endeavor to make it understandable and in general terms.

The thyroid gland and its hormones are the traffic direction center of the hormone system. It is important in its own right, but more so in its relation to the function of other hormones. Put simply, a healthy thyroid function is critical to a healthy function of the hormone system in general.

In women, the thyroid probably is the most important of all hormones as it relates to how a woman feels and the least diagnosed problem. Low thyroid in very common in women over age 40. Adding to the problem is a lack of knowledge and fear in the doctor community regarding treatment of thyroid deficiency.

Hypothyrodism diagram from centerfornaturalhealthcareredwing.com.

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

As people age, like other hormones, thyroid hormones tend to decline. Women in particular tend to become hypothyroid. A few symptoms of hypothyroidism:

  • Fatigue
  • Low basal temperature — general sensitivity to cold
  • Thinning hair — A major issue often ignored by doctors
  • Dry skin and hair and brittle nails
  • Anxiety and irritability – Sleep problems
  • Depression
  • High cholesterol
  • Mental fogginess
  • Metabolic rate falls – weight gain – increased body fat

Simple Test to Determine Whether You Might Be Hypothyroid

Adding to the frustration of treating Thyroid, is the fact that thyroid tests can be normal and a person/woman can still be hypothyroid. Here is a simple test you can do at home to check for possible hypothyroidism.

Take a thermometer and place it by your bed. When you wake in the morning – before getting out of bed – place it under your armpit for 10 to 15 minutes. Do this for three mornings. If your average temperature is less than 97.8 degrees, you may very well be hypo-thyroid. This simple test sometimes will show problems that do not show up on lab tests. Be careful to work with a doctor who knows the importance of lab testing backed up by checking axial temperatures. Menstruating women should do this on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th day of the cycle.

Replacement is simple but requires a doctor’s prescription. Avoid synthetics such as Synthroid– and use the natural desiccated thyroid medication such as Armour.

I’m a sex enthusiast, published fantasy writer and the editing director of Brewin’ After Dark. I write about topics surrounding sexual health. Thanks for reading and add me on Twitter!

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