The effects of estrogen on hair

Oestrogen is a hormone that occurs naturally in the body and is also developed as a replacement therapy for certain conditions. It is abundant in women and found in small amounts in men. Oestrogen is crucial for specific body functions involving reproduction in particular, but it also has an effect on less critical body systems such as the nails and hair.

Hair Loss

Alopecia might occur in women who are low in oestrogen levels. An increase in male androgens, specifically dihydrotestosterone, might cause follicles to revert to a resting phase more frequently, causing hair to fall out. Oestrogenic alopecia in particular is caused by low oestrogen levels. Some instances when alopecia is likely to occur are when hormones are out of balance after pregnancy or during menopause. Oestrogen replacement therapy or treating the underlying condition might alleviate the condition's symptoms. Excess androgens, not an overabundance of oestrogen, is most often responsible for male pattern baldness.

Dry Hair

Low oestrogen levels and some oestrogen treatments might lead to dry, dull and lifeless hair. If you experience dry hair after oestrogen treatments, discuss adjusting medication levels to achieve optimal oestrogen balance. Menopausal or post-pregnancy women might experience dry hair and could possibly benefit from treatment.

Excessive Hair Growth

Hirsutism is growth of hair in atypical areas on the female body such as the upper lip, chin or chest. This condition is related to an imbalance in oestrogen and testosterone levels. Oestrogen replacement in the form of birth control pills or supplements to treat menopause symptoms might decrease excessive hair growth.

Hair Retention

Treatment with oestrogen therapies might help you keep your hair if you are suffering from low oestrogen levels. Oestrogen can help the hair grow faster and stay thicker and fuller. Check with a doctor if you experience hair loss to rule out any hormonal imbalances. Consider oestrogen therapy for treatment of conditions such as hysterectomy or menopausal symptoms that might lead to hair loss.

Side Effects

Oestrogen therapy might have side effects that will contribute to hair loss. In addition, new areas of hair growth can occur in undesirable bodily areas. New oestrogen replacement therapies, or ERTs, are available that might have fewer associated adverse effects. Talk to your doctor about what is right for your specific symptoms, and report any problems immediately.

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About the Author

Robin McDaniel is a writer, educator and musician. She holds a master's degree in higher educational leadership from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton as well as a bachelor's degree in elementary education. She is pursuing a Ph.D. in adult in community education. McDaniel enjoys writing, blogging, web design, singing and playing bass guitar.