Hair Loss Is One Of The Most Feared Aspects Of Cancer Treatment
Until you face the risk of losing your hair, you never quite think how important your hair actually is. And if you have cancer and are about to undergo chemotherapy or another cancer treatment, the chance of hair loss is very real, as most cancer treatments, sadly, lead to hair loss or hair thinning. Both, men and women, report hair loss as one of the side effects they fear most after being diagnosed with cancer. We provide an overview of how and why hair loss occurs as a result of different treatments for cancer.
If you or a loved one is dealing with cancer, it may not necessarily be visible to other people, but a head wrapped in scarf is a tell-tale sign of sickness. While hair loss is only a side effect, some people fear it more than other health complications. Educating yourself as whats happening to your hair follicles can put you in an informed seat and help feel in control of your hair growth after the treatment finishes. Talking to your cancer care team about your concerns as well as trusted people and not discounting them as vanity concerns may help you copy with hair loss better. Hair is part of our identity so it is completely acceptable to worry about losing it.
Below are the types of cancer treatments we will be looking at in this article from the perspective of impact they have on hair growth and hair loss:
- radiation therapy
Which Hormone Increases Hair Growth
Androgens, which include a reasonable amount of testosterone, are responsible for stimulating hair growth on the face, body, and head. Women also have adrenal glands, but the androgen produced is of a very small amount. It is important to understand that moth male and female hormones are responsible for hair growth.
Why Does It Happen
FPHL is very common and increases with age and varies across ethnic groups. Although it can happen at any age, the condition occurs most commonly following the menopause. This does not mean that hormones alone are to blame, although oestrogen may have a protective role, helping to keep hair in the growing phase. Age itself is a factor and whilst women can take care of their hair cosmetically, it is one aspect of the ageing process we cannot always control. Genetics are important too and you may notice a family link with both male and female hair loss. Occasionally times of acute stress on the body will influence hair growth, eg illness, emotional stresses and crash dieting. Some medications may have an influence too.
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Can Hormone Imbalance Cause Hair Loss
A2020 studypublished in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences reveals thatboth the hair cycle and hair follicle structure are highly affected by hormone levels.
Can hormone imbalance cause hair loss?
In fact, an imbalance of hormones is the most common cause of hair loss in both men and women.
And in both sexes, the incidence of hair loss increases with age.
If you are concerned about current or future hair loss,Nutrition Response Testingat HealthierU can identify any hormonal imbalance you may have and determine the exact lifestyle and dietary changes you need to make to restore your hair growth.
Solutions For Low Estrogen And Hair Loss
If your doctor suspects that your hair loss is caused by a lack of estrogen then he may offer you supplementary estrogen known as Hormone Replacement Therapy either taken orally or applied topically as a gel or patch.
Some women are given the birth control pill to boost their estrogen levels.
That being said, estrogen supplementation is still somewhat controversial, with some sources pointing out that there are no controlled medical studies supporting its effectiveness, whilst others stating that
estrogen deficiency as a cause of hair loss has not found its way into medical textbooks, but this does not stop it from happening.
Some women report seeing a big improvement in their hair loss once their estrogen levels are supplemented, others not so much.
But its worth bearing in mind that different people react in different ways to supplementation based on all sorts of factors.
Its best not to decide upon YOUR plan of action by comparing yourself to others rather, we recommend discussing the situation with your doctor or even better endocrinologist.
We also recommend ensuring that it really IS low estrogen thats causing your hair loss.
Later in this article well look at other ways in which estrogen and hair loss are connected ways that may explain why supplementary estrogen doesnt work for everyone and may even make hair loss worse.
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Structure Of The Hair Follicle
Hair is a filament consisting mainly of dead, keratinized cells. The hair structure consists of two parts: the hair follicle and the hair shaft .
Structure of the hair: hair follicle and hair shaft .
The structure of the hair follicle can be divided into the upper and the lower parts. The upper part includes the infundibulum and isthmus, and the lower part is referred to as the bulb and suprabulbar region. The hair bulb is built by the dermal papilla and the hair matrix . The follicles of scalp hair are anchored in the subcutis, and they undergo repetitive growth cycles .
The hair shaft is divided into three layers: the cuticle, the cortex, and the medulla. The medulla is the outermost part of the hair which is visible above the skin. It is surrounded by a protective layer called the root sheath. The root sheath consists of two strata: the inner and the outer.
How Your Hormones Are Messing With Your Hair Growth
We’ve already schooled you on the foods and vitamins for long, healthy hair. Now, Kristin Dahl, a Los Angeles-based nutritionist and womens wellness educator, is back again to talk about all things hormones and hair loss. Keep reading for Dahl’s guide to maintaining optimum hormonal balance, how stress can mess with your mane, lock-block hair growth, and more. As the founder of The Womens Wellness Collective and the holistic lifestyle hub, Dahl House Nutrition, Dahl knows what she’s talking about so we’d take notes if we were you.
Estrogen Levels and Hair Loss
When hormones are off balance, our hair tends to be dry and thinning. For example, women with thyroid imbalances, new mothers, or menopausal women may experience hair loss due to a drop in levels of estrogen.
Androgen hormones like testosterone and DHEA are the major hormones that dictate hair growth. In women, the ovaries and adrenals are responsible for producing these hormones from cholesterol. An excess in these hormones can lead to unwanted hair growth on the face and body, but not having enough can lead to thinning and dull hair.
Check Your Stress
Stress reduction may be the most important step to hormonal balance. Stress, whether it be mental, physical or emotional all takes a toll on how balanced our hormones are. Find a relaxation activity you enjoy and practice it daily. Some examples are yoga, meditating, walking in nature, and deep breathing.
And Blood Sugar Levels
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How Hormone Replacement Treatment Affects Your Hair
Most of us have heard about hot flashes and mood changes during menopause, but what about hair thinning? Many women experience hair loss during menopause, but hormone replacement treatment may be able to help. Thinning hair during menopause can seriously affect your sense of well-being and your self-esteem. However, youre not alone with menopausal hair loss. An estimated 21 million women in the U. S. will experience hair loss at some point in their lives, many of them during and after menopause. Our providers can help you determine underlying causes of hair thinning during menopause and help you find personalized treatment plans to help you feel better.
Hormone replacement treatment can help improve your quality of life during menopause.
Is Hair Loss Related To Menopause
Two things can happen to a womans hair during menopause. First, and certainly unwelcome, is the growth of new hair where you didnt have it before, such as the chin. Second, the hair you have will begin to thin. Its thought that both of these changes in hair growth are due to changing hormone levels during menopause. Estrogen and progesterone levels fall, meaning that the effects of the androgens are increased. This is the reason for new hair in odd places.
The aging process often causes female-pattern hair loss, or androgenetic alopecia. This type of hair loss can worsen with the hormone changes of menopause. Unlike male-pattern hair loss, which occurs usually on the front crown of the head, female-pattern hair loss begins along the part in the center.
During and after menopause, hair might become finer because the hair follicles shrink. When this happens, hair grows more slowly and falls out more easily.
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What Role Does Hormone Replacement Treatment Play In Hair Thinning During Menopause
Hormone replacement treatment during menopause may help with thinning hair if its related to hormone changes. Our provider may prescribe estrogen replacement therapy to help bring your hormones back into balance and back up to healthy baseline levels if you have low estrogen during menopause. This may help your hair in a few ways.
First, as we learned, estrogen plays a significant role during hair growth. Increasing estrogen levels during hormone replacement treatment may help your hair stay in the growing phase for longer than it would without hormone injections. It can also help your body keep testosterone levels in balance to help reduce the shrinking effects testosterone can have on hair follicles. In addition, some studies show that if you start hormone imbalance treatment early on for menopause symptoms, it may help you maintain your current hair density. This can help you reduce how much hair you lose throughout the course of menopause.
How Common Is Female Hair Loss
Just like male hair loss, female hair loss becomes more common with age. Studies show that only 12% of women between the ages of 20 and 29 show some degree of hair loss, from loss around the hairline or temples to diffuse, overall thinning.
On the other hand, women aged 80 and up have a more than 60% chance of experiencing some degree of hormonal hair loss. Because hormonal hair loss is partly caused by a genetic sensitivity to DHT, your risk of hair loss could be higher if your mother, siblings or other female relatives have hair loss.
If youre concerned about hair loss, its important to take action quickly. Because hair loss is gradual and affected by DHT, acting quickly allows you to minimize hair loss and maintain as much of your hair as possible.
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What Causes Hair Loss
The causes of hair loss can be broadly divided into two groups. One is a temporary effect and the other involves a prolonged action, usually involving genetics. In most cases when the hair loss is temporary it can be cured by medications and treatments. In contrast, long-term hair loss may require long-term treatment, and sometimes, surgery such as hair transplantation may be required.
Practice Yoga And Contemplation
Rehearsing yoga and contemplation routinely can assist with lessening feelings of anxiety in your body. Since stress and thyroid have a solid connection, consequently, reflection and yoga can assist with dealing with your thyroid manifestations and can work on your general wellbeing. Whats more, that implies you will see an extensive contrast in your balding!
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How Hormones Affect The Growth Of Your Hair
At Honest Hair Restoration in Bradenton, Florida, we understand how thinning hair and hair loss can change your confidence levels and negatively impact your life. Led by board-certified hair transplant specialist and medical director , our team offers comprehensive hair restoration services to patients in the Tampa, Sarasota, and Ft. Myers areas.
If youre struggling with hair loss, you may wonder about the causes and whether theres anything you can do to prevent it. Although hair loss is common, different risk factors and underlying issues may cause changes in your hair growth, including your hormones.
Learn what you need to know about how hormones affect the growth of your hair.
Does Hair Grow Back After Hormonal Imbalance
Although most people think of estrogen or testosterone when they think of a hormone imbalance, issues with your thyroid can also lead to hair thinning. Once your hormonal imbalance is corrected, your hair should begin to grow again plus youll probably feel more energetic and better overall.
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Are There Other Causes
Nutritional deficiencies are definitely something that you should look into if you have hair loss.
Iron deficiency anaemia can cause hair loss so always check your iron levels. Dr Philip Kingsley, Trichologist, states that ferritin levels also need to be checked and that, Even if the ferritin is within the normal range, the level may still not be adequate for optimum hair growth.
He states, Hair loss due to low ferritin is one of the most common types of hair loss we see in women. 3 Be careful when supplementing with iron as it can be toxic Toxic something poisonous, very harmful or bad .
B12 deficiency may cause hair loss although evidence is sparse.4
Biotin deficiency has also been reported as a cause of hair loss and some people found that it improved after taking supplements. You need to be aware, though, that taking biotin Biotin a vitamin found in small amounts in many foods such as eggs, milk, or bananas. Commonly used for hair loss, brittle nails, nerve damage, and many other conditions can show skewed levels in your test results. 5,6
Other vitamin deficiencies that may play a role in hair loss are vitamin C, vitamin D and vitamin E.4 The mineral, zinc, also plays a part in hair loss.4,5
Taking vitamin supplements may not always be helpful, though. Too much Vitamin A has been reported as causing hair loss so be careful with this vitamin.4
What Are The Types Of Hair Loss
There are three: anagen effluvium, telogen effluvium and FPHL.
- Anagen effluvium: This is caused by medications that poison a growing hair follicle .
- Telogen effluvium: This is caused by an increased number of hair follicles reaching the telogen phase, which is the stage where hair falls out.
- Androgenetic alopecia/female pattern alopecia/female pattern hair loss /baldness: This type is the most common. Hair thins over the top of the head and on the sides.
The Hormone Imbalances & Nutrient Deficiencies Behind Hair Loss
Several different types of hormonal imbalances can lead to thinning hair. Understanding them is the first step in knowing how to treat them with lifestyle, nutrition and supplements.
The male hormones, called androgens, have long been associated with scalp hair. Historically, experts blamed hormonal hair loss across both genders on too much testosterone, but that is only part of the story.
The real culprit appears to be dihydrotestosterone , a more potent form of testosterone. DHT is made from testosterone by a specific enzyme in the body, and while both testosterone and DHT are known to have a weakening effect on hair follicles, there appears to be something unique about the conversion process of testosterone to DHT that relates to thinning hair. This is why some drugs that are marketed for hair loss block the conversion of testosterone to DHT.
This is all to say that high levels of testosterone, high levels of DHT , and the conversion of testosterone to DHT, all appear to play a role in the thinning hair for some women with hair loss.
Insulin is one of the bodys master hormones. Its released every time we eat food and it allows our cells to utilize the energy we get from food. Its released in smaller amounts when we eat low-glycemic foods and in higher amounts when we eat high-glycemic foods .
Thyroid hormone imbalances
How Common Is Hair Loss In Women
Many people think that hair loss only affects men. However, it is estimated that more than 50% of women will experience noticeable hair loss. The most significant cause of hair loss in women is female-pattern hair loss , which affects about one-third of susceptible women, which equals out to some 30 million women in the United States.
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Dr Roach: Hair Fullness Often Returns After Estrogen
May 14, 2013 05:40 PM
Dear Dr. Roach: For the past five years, I have been using vaginal estrogen. I was first given Estradiol Cream. I have always had very thick, curly hair. In less than a week, I started noticing hair coming out in my hands when washing it. Within a couple of months, my hair started to look thinner. Five years after starting the cream, my hair is noticeably thinner.
My urogynecologist said that topically applied estrogen cream could not cause hair loss, since only trace amounts get into the bloodstream. He agreed to change to a bioidentical estriol cream made by a compounding pharmacy.
The same problem occurred with the estriol. If I discontinue use of the creams, will my hair eventually revert to its usual thickness?
Most women use estrogen cream to combat a thinning of the lining of the vagina vaginal atrophy. This is something that happens after menopause due to a decline in estrogen levels. It can cause painful intercourse, a feeling of dryness or even a burning sensation. Topical estrogen is used to relieve the symptoms by improving the elasticity of the vaginal tissue.
Estradiol and estriol certainly are absorbed by the body, even when used topically. The blood levels are measurable, and they are shown to be absorbed nearly as well as they are orally enough to affect other hormones in the body.
Since systemic estrogen can cause hair loss, I think its entirely plausible that the estrogens you have used are causing your hair loss.