Category: Hair Loss

Hair Growth Disorder in Women – Tips and Guide

Men grow terminal hair on some parts of the body, after puberty, but some women grow this type of hair on those parts of their bodies as well and this condition is known as Hirsutism. It can be triggered when some factors are present. These factors include hyperinsulinemia, hyperprolactinemia and some disorders related to ovary glands and the adrenal. Hirsutism can also be classified as one of the side effects of danazol, Norplant and some other drugs; the same applies for anabolic steroids.

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Hair Growth Disorder in Women


The common cause of Hirsutism is the Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. This syndrome affects six percent of women of reproductive age. This condition is best known as hyperandrogenism and chronic anovulation. A woman suffering from anovulation may also suffer from infertility. In many cases, but not all of them, increased androgen hormones and insulin resistance are associated with the Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Some people think that hyperinsulinemia can cause an increase in androgen and probably ovarian production.

Hirsutism can also result from ovarian tumors that produce androgen. Women whose testosterone levels are two and a half times higher than normal, should visit a doctor to evaluate the possibility of a tumor. In most of the cases, tumors are not the cause of high testosterone levels; they could be product of simple ovarian hyperplasia. When dihydroepiandrosterone sulfate levels are two times higher than normal values, the possibility of adrenal tumor should be taken in consideration. In the same way, a prolatinoma becomes a possibility if you have high levels of prolactin.

Women with hirsutism may have symptoms that overlap those of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome—the condition in this is caused by congenital adrenal hyperplasia. Partial deficiency of 21-hydrxylase is commonly the enzyme defect. Although dihydroepiandrosterone sulfate may increase with 21-hydroxylase deficiency, 17 alpha-hydroxyprogesterone can be the most specific test for this condition.

Women going through menopause who are not in a therapy to replace hormones with estrogen may notice thinner hair growing in the armpit and the pubic area. This is because of decreasing dihydroepiandrosterone sulfate levels due to increased hirsutism which is caused by high estrogen and androgen levels. Women having this hair growth disorder should also consider evaluating the possibility of tumors related to increased androgen levels.

There is no definable cause of hirsutism in 5 to 15 percent of women. However, idiopathic hirstutism, which is also referred to as ‘unknown hirsutism’, must be diagnosed after going through laboratory and clinical evaluations to rule out the possibility of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and other known cases.


Common Causes of Hair Loss in Women

When you notice that you suddenly lose more hair or that a bald spot develops, this can have various causes. You suffer from hereditary hair loss or it is due to hormonal changes that can be permanent or temporary in nature.

There are different forms of hair loss. Women often have a different form of hair loss than men. Baldness in women is mainly manifested in the midlife of the head. The hair becomes thinner behind the hairline and the scalp shines through. Male hair loss generally starts at the front hairline, temples and crown.

Slow thyroid

Due to a slow thyroid function, there is less good blood flow. As a result, there is also a poorer supply of nutrients to the hair. This can lead to hair loss.

Hair loss due to stress

Stress hormones have a negative effect on hair follicles from which hair grows. When the hair moves from the growth phase to the transition phase and there is stress at that time, it can affect the nerves that surround the hair follicles. This can lead to inflammation of the hair follicles resulting in hair loss.

When your body experiences stress (mental, physical, due to poor nutrition, too fanatic sports or intestinal problems, for example) the stress hormone produces cortisol. This hormone cortisol is ‘made’ from progesterone.
But progesterone is also needed in the process of converting the thyroid hormone T4 to T3 (the active hormone) and during the menstrual cycle.

For example, the functioning of the thyroid gland is negatively affected when progesterone is used to make cortisol. Less progesterone is available for conversion to the active thyroid hormone. And as mentioned above, an under active thyroid gland is also a cause of hair loss.

Crash / underweight the reason for hair loss

Crash dieting or being underweight also causes the thyroid gland to go into low-power mode. And this causes hair loss. A strict diet that causes hair loss is actually a form of baldness that occurs because you do not get enough nutrients (see cause thyroid)

PCOS the cause of hair loss

PCOS is a hormonal imbalance that occurs in about 10% of women of childbearing age. Complaints related to this are; no or irregular periods (less than 8 times a year), acne, mood swings, gaining weight earlier, excessive hair and hair loss.

There may also be cysts (fluid blisters on the ovaries that can be seen on an ultrasound), increased LH level and insulin resistance in PCOS. This alone affects the testosterone level (male hormone) compared to the female hormones, which can cause hair loss.

Women with PCOS are more likely to have increased DHT (dihydrotestosterone). DHT is a stronger variant of the male hormone. This hormone plays a role in hair loss and baldness because it causes a hair follicle to die earlier.

DHT is produced in the body through the conversion of testosterone. The enzyme 5-alpha reductase is required for this conversion. Studies show that women with PCOS also produce more 5-alpha reductase compared to women without this syndrome. As a result, these women also have a higher DHT level, which explains hair loss and excessive hair.

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