It’s normal to be worried about hair loss as we age or as our hormones change. Because, yes, hormone-induced hair loss is a real thing.
But, there is a big difference between hair loss and shedding. As part of the hair growth cycle for women, it’s normal to shed anywhere from 50 to 100 hairs per day. So, a full hairbrush or a shower drain that needs to be cleaned out isn’t necessarily a dire warning that your hair is going the way of the Dodo.
No, true hair loss happens when shedding increases, regrowth decreases, or a combination of both happen at the same time. And it all starts with hormones.
See, the hormones in our body regulate everything. And, as women, it can feel like they’re in a constant state of flux. From puberty to child bearing to menopause (and in between… and beyond…), our hormone balances change throughout our lives. In addition to everything else that happens in our bodies when hormones change, the hair regrowth cycle can be impacted.
So, let’s talk about the most common causes of Hormone-Induced Hair Loss and what they look like in real life:
Pregnancy And Childbirth
One of the perks of pregnancy is a luscious head of hair. When you’re pregnant, your estrogen levels increase drastically and your hair stops shedding.
After childbirth, your hormones go back to normal. That’s why so many moms face postpartum hair loss. In fact, most new moms lose up to 400 strands of hair each day. (Yes, four times as much as usual — but remember, shedding often stops during pregnancy!)
For most moms, this isn’t a concern—but if hair loss persists past six or seven months, it’s worth a trip to the doctor to check those hormone levels.
As women approach menopause, they often notice that their hair stops growing as quickly and that they are losing more hair than normal. This can usually be chalked up to the natural decrease in estrogen that accompanies menopause.
But, just like pregnancy and childbirth, menopause can also trigger thyroid issues or other hormonal imbalances.
If you’re panicking about your hair loss, you may actually be making the situation worse! Why? Because stress makes our hormones go crazy, which means it can cause all kinds of issues—anxiety, sleep problems, digestive problems, and of course, hair loss!
Inflammation can be a side effect of stress hormones, hormonal imbalance, or something else altogether. Inflammation prevents follicles from regrowing hair as part of the normal hair growth cycle.
Other Hormonal Imbalances
In addition to normal life changes, like pregnancy or menopause, hormone imbalances can also be triggered by:
- Illnesses and medical conditions
- Medications (especially birth control)
What Can I Do?
If you think you might have a severe hormonal imbalance, call your doctor. Dietary changes, vitamin supplements, and lifestyle shifts can often help address these issues.