Birth Control Hair Loss: What You Need to Know
If you're like most people, you probably don't think about your hair loss potential when you're choosing a birth control method. But did you know that some types of birth control can increase your risk of hair loss?
In this post, we'll discuss the relationship between birth control and hair loss, and we'll give you tips on how to reduce your risk. We hope this information helps you make the best choice for your health and your hair!
What is birth control?
Birth control is a procedure that uses any kind of product, device, or medication that is used to prevent unwanted pregnancy. Birth control methods include abstinence (not engaging in sexual intercourse), the pill, oral contraceptive, the skin patch, intrauterine devices (IUDs), shots, vaginal rings, implants, and hormone therapy.
There are many different birth control options, but they all work by preventing sperm from reaching an egg. Some methods also prevent the fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus. Birth control can be used by men (IUDs) or women (birth control ring) and is available in a variety of forms, including pills, hormone injections, implants, and patches.
How does birth control cause hair loss?
There are several ways that some types of birth control increase female pattern baldness risk.
Birth control with certain low androgen index progestin can cause you to produce too much of the hormone DHT (dihydrotestosterone). DHT is known to trigger hair loss in both men and women. There are three drugs on the market that contain this type of progestin: drospirenone, desogestrel, and levonorgestrel.
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism showed that women taking oral contraceptives containing drospirenone were more likely to experience hormonal hair loss than those on other types of birth control or no birth control at all.
Birth control with androgenic progestin can make your scalp more sensitive to testosterone (another hormone that is linked to hair loss). Testosterone is converted into DHT when it comes in contact with the enzyme 5-alpha reductase. If you have high levels of 5-alpha reductase, or if your body produces large amounts of testosterone, you might be at increased risk of hair loss.
How common is hair loss with birth control?
Some studies have shown that birth control doesn't cause hair loss in every woman, but it does increase the risk. Some types of progestin can actually help your hair grow faster and thicker, but only when they're given in low doses for short periods of time. Unfortunately, most women are taking these androgen hormones for much longer than they were designed for.
How long after starting the birth control pill does your hair stop falling out?
The length of time it takes for hair loss to begin depends on your hormone levels and your genetics. While women have been known to lose hair after just a couple of weeks or months, the typical timeline is 2-3 months. If you want to know for sure whether or not your birth control pill is making your hair fall out, stop taking it and see what happens.
If you stop losing hair after a short time on the drug, then there's a good chance that the progestin in your birth control pill was causing your hair thinning.
How long does hair loss last after stopping birth control?
If you develop hair loss by the influence of female hormones, it should grow back when you stop taking birth control pills or when you switch to another kind of medication. Even if your hair loss is caused by a medical condition, it should stop once that condition has been treated or resolved.
Causes of birth control hair loss
1) Hormonal fluctuations
Hormonal birth control can cause monthly hormone fluctuations, which can lead to hair loss. This is because birth control pills contain estrogen and progestin, which can stimulate the body's production of DHT (dihydrotestosterone). DHT has been linked to both male hormones and female pattern permanent hair loss.
2) Increase in insulin
Birth control is known to cause a spike in insulin levels, thus increasing the production of DHT. When you have high levels of DHT, your hair thins and falls out.
3) Decreased blood flow to the scalp
Birth control pills can reduce blood flow to the scalp, which in turn reduces nutrient supply and oxygen intake. This causes a reduction in hair growth.
4) Altered levels of cortisol
Birth control pills are known to cause an increase in cortisol, which can decrease the scalp's blood supply and collagen production. This leads to the breakdown of hair follicles, thinning hair, hair shedding, and eventual female pattern baldness.
5) Excessive sebum production
Birth control can increase your body's level of estrogen, which regulates sebum production. When there are elevated levels of estrogen, more oil is produced by the skin. Too much oil on the scalp interferes with hair growth and makes it impossible for new hair to penetrate the surface of the scalp.
How to treat hair loss from birth control
There are several ways to treat female pattern hair loss caused by birth control.
1) DHT blockers
DHT blockers work by blocking or inhibiting the production of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), one of the main causes of genetic hair loss in both men and women. Bicalutamide, finasteride, Proscar, and dutasteride are all DHT blockers that are currently on the market.
2) Combination birth control pills
Combination birth control pills contain progestin and estrogen, which actually help to counteract the increased levels of DHT caused by other types of birth control. The hormones in combination pills can also stimulate the growth of hair.
3) Birth control with anti-androgenic progestin
Some progestins can help counteract the effects of five-alpha reductase, which is responsible for converting testosterone into DHT. Drospirenone, desogestrel, and levonorgestrel are considered antiandrogenic progestins because they block the production of DHT.
4) Topical remedies
You can apply minoxidil (Rogaine) to your scalp twice a day if you're experiencing hair loss after taking birth control pills. This over-the-counter medication helps the blood vessels in the scalp to dilate, which encourages nutrient and oxygen supply to improve.
5) Scalp massage
Massaging your scalp can increase blood flow to the area and encourage new hair growth. Try gently massaging your scalp in circular motions with one or two fingertips.
6) Changes in diet
Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet that's rich in vitamins (especially biotin), minerals, and protein can help strengthen your hair and improve its growth. If you plan on getting pregnant, stop taking birth control pills and consult your doctor right away.
7) Take vitamins
Certain vitamins, minerals, and other supplements can help make your hair grow thicker and fuller. Ask your doctor which form of birth control they would prescribe for you if you're planning on becoming pregnant in the near future.
8) Minimize stress
Stress can affect the blood flow to your scalp and increase the production of cortisol, which can cause hair loss. Do your best to keep stress levels under control to avoid further damage to the follicles in your scalp.
9) Keep a healthy lifestyle
Eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, getting plenty of sleep every night, and winding down before bedtime can help keep stress levels down. You should also avoid smoking cigarettes and drinking excessive alcohol, as both of these habits can damage the hair follicles in your scalp.
Products and procedures to support hair growth
You can buy a variety of shampoos, conditioners, and other hair products that are specially formulated to stimulate the growth of thicker, fuller hair. Following are some products and procedures to support hair growth:
1) Ginseng root
Ginseng root is rich in vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that can help stimulate the production of collagen. This ingredient is used in many hair growth products to support thicker, healthier-looking hair.
2) Saw palmetto
Saw palmetto blocks five-alpha reductase, which prevents testosterone from converting into DHT. Some birth control pills also block this enzyme and saw palmetto supplements can help counteract this effect.
3) Horsetail extract
Horsetail extract is rich in silica and vitamin B6, both of which are necessary for healthy hair growth. It's often added to shampoos and conditioners that claim to make hair grow faster.
4) Fennel seed
Fennel seed is packed with nutrients like niacin, thiamine, magnesium, and potassium; it also contains high levels of iron that can help dilate capillaries in the scalp. This helps increase blood flow to the follicles and encourages new hair growth.
Minoxidil is a popular hair loss treatment that helps stimulate hair growth. Ask your doctor whether this medication is right for you.
6) Platelet-rich plasma
Platelet-rich plasma is a liquid that contains high levels of platelets and head or facial hair growth factors. PRP therapy involves taking blood from your arm, separating the plasma, and injecting it back into your scalp. This procedure has been proven effective in reversing hair loss caused by alopecia areata.
If none of these work for you, get your birth control medically reviewed and follow professional medical advice.
The information on mynoophoric.com is for informational, educational and entertainment purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice. Readers should not rely on this information as advice to make health decisions. Noophoric is not responsible for any possible health consequences from any person following information that is presented on this website. Readers should consult with their physician before making changes to diet, nutrition, supplementation, medication or lifestyle.
Our editors have independently chosen the products listed on this page. If you purchase something mentioned in this article, we may earn a small commission.