The Relationship Between Hair Loss/Thinning & Estrogen Dominance, PCOS and How to Manage It.
You may have heard that Jamaican Castor Oil helps reduce hair loss, especially in women.
Yes, it does. You might have heard that Biotin supplements help nail and hair growth.
Yes, it does ONLY IF you have biotin deficient, something that is very rare. We have all these in Kenya and they are great products.
The problem with these remedies, they only treat the sign, not the cause
So, What is the Cause and How to Treat it?
Some time back, I wrote an article about estrogen dominance & PCOS.
Hair loss on the scalp and hair thinning is purely a hormonal issue, primarily testosterone hormone.
This is a male hormone which in women, it causes a lot of many other bad issues women deal with like hair loss, acne, weight gain, belly fat, infertility, premenstrual syndrome among many others.
In this article, we will focus on hair loss
Bad Effects of Estrogen Dominance:
Have you found one, two or more symptoms you or a friend has? Please share this article.
These are some of the common problems doctors do not want you to know about... so you can keep going back to them and buying drugs.
It is almost always the case that if you have one of the above symptoms, you have a few more others.
Example, overweight with Acne & hair thinning, Overweight with Fibroids and severe PMS, Overweight & depression.
You can match any combination from the table above. Is this something you have had or observed?
Let's dig into it and remember to share
...And there is a way to naturally treat all these, including infertility!
Hair Growth Cycle
Before we discuss the relationship between estrogen dominance and hair loss, it is important to address the hair growth cycle.
Your hair in the scalp area grows about .3 to .4mm/day or 6 inches a year. While in many animals hair growth and shedding are seasonal, in humans the growth and shedding cycles tend to be more random.
At first, it was believed that hair growth cycles have three stages only (anagen, catagen, and telogen), but there are actually four of them with exogen being the last one.
And what happens at each stage? Here are the explanations:
Anagen – active phase when cells in the root of the hair divide at a rapid rate.
Then, new hair is formed and it pushes the club hair out. Club hair is hair that isn’t in anagen phase or it stopped growing.
During anagen stage, hair grows by 1cm every 28 days and scalp hair stays in this phase for 2-6 years
Catagen – transitional stage and about 3% of all hairs are at this phase at all times.
Catagen phase takes place over 2-3 weeks. At this point, hair stops growing thus causing shrinkage of outer root sheath that attaches to the hair root. This is when club hair usually forms
Telogen – resting phase which accounts for 6% to 8% of all hairs at all times. Telogen lasts about 100 days for scalp hair, but it can take even longer for hair on other parts of the body.
In this phase, hair follicles club hair formation completes, hair doesn’t grow (1)
Exogen – shedding phase, at first it was believed that shedding phase was a part of telogen stage, but science confirmed it is a separate part of the hair growth cycle.
During this stage, you may shed 25-100 hairs each day. After a variable time in telogen, the follicle base cells receive signal (or a series of signals) that initiate exogen.
When this happens, the effectors of shedding are “turned on” and hairs fall out (2).
As you can see above, it is natural for hair to fall out. Hair loss is an unavoidable part of the cycle, but many factors speed up the process.
Disturbance of each of these stages can impair active phase and support shedding stage, and it turns out estrogen is one of them.
Estrogen & Hair Loss
The hormone estrogen is vital for the sexual and reproductive health of every woman, but it participates in many other processes.
That said, its role in hair loss isn’t widely discussed.
How many times have you noticed you’ve been losing more hair than usual and thought it was due to estrogen?
We don’t think that way, but fluctuations in this hormone could be the reason behind hair loss.
Although we tend to attribute hair loss to men only, women can have it too. Venning et al report that hair loss in females is more common than we think.
Their study involved 564 women and 13% displayed frontal and frontoparietal recessions prior to menopause. After menopause, 37% ladies experienced this problem (3).
Low Estrogen & Hair Loss
Estrogen fluctuations cause numerous side effects and hair loss happens to be one of them.
Even low estrogen can contribute to hair loss. For example, a study of the Endocrine Regulations found that low estrogen to androgen ratio triggers pattern hair loss in women (4).
The study enrolled 20 premenopausal women with female pattern hair loss and 9 healthy controls.
Results showed that androgen hormones (testosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone or DHEAS) levels were normal, but the ratio of estrogen compared to them was low.
Despite small study sample, these findings confirm that low estrogen concentration can, indeed, contribute to hair loss.
Estrogen slows anagen (active phase) meaning your hair could be in a growing stage at any time.
Therefore, women have more hair than men (6) and don’t experience drastic hair loss.
The importance of estrogen for hair growth is the major source of confusion.
Yes, estrogen is important for hair growth, but hormonal fluctuations induce counterproductive effects.
Estrogen dominance is a common problem indicated by excess estrogen and low progesterone.
In some situations, women can have normal estrogen levels and little to no progesterone too.
What happens in estrogen dominance?
Under normal circumstances, the body breaks down estrogen and uses it before the hormone accumulates.
However, in estrogen dominance, the body is unable to metabolize this much-needed hormone as efficiently as it should.
This can contribute to depression, fatigue, hair loss, hair thinning and other symptoms (7).
It would be impossible to pinpoint a single cause of high estrogen; more factors play a role.
For example, abnormality in stress hormone cortisol induces a domino effect on feedback loops involving the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis.
As a result, estrogen becomes elevated (8). In other words, unmanaged stress can contribute to high estrogen.
Excess body fat can lead to elevated levels of this hormone too. Besides regulating blood sugar, insulin also plays a role in fat storage. Increased body fat contributes to overweight and obesity.
Excess weight is a major risk factor for hormonal imbalances including high estrogen levels (9).
Other factors that contribute to high estrogen include an imbalance of gut microbiota, sluggish liver, just to name a few.
PCOS & Hair Loss
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that affects 1 in 10 women of reproductive age.
Women who are affected by this disorder experience not only hormonal imbalances but also changes in their metabolism and difficulty conceiving (10).
Estrogen dominance is strongly associated with PCOS. Lack of ovulation enhances estrogen levels, but progesterone remains low.
Hair thinning or hair loss is a common consequence of this disorder in women. In fact, a study from the European Journal of Endocrinology discovered that 67% of all women who suffer from alopecia or hair loss also have polycystic ovaries (11).
One study showed that although most patients with female pattern hair loss don’t exhibit signs of hyperandrogenism, hair loss is common in persons with hyperandrogenic conditions such as PCOS (11).
As you can see, several studies confirm the link between PCOS and hair loss, thus adding more evidence that this uncomfortable symptom is deeply associated with your hormones.
It is important to mention that patients with PCOS have a sensitivity to androgenic hormones (12) and your body needs androgens to produce estrogens.
More research on this subject is necessary to uncover how estrogen, androgens, and PCOS really trigger hair loss.
Natural Remedies for Hair Loss
Hair loss isn’t dangerous or life-threatening, but it can be uncomfortable and affected women feel subconscious about their appearance.
Thinning hair followed by faster hair loss has a negative influence on a woman’s self-esteem and you assume everyone’s looking at your hair.
In most cases hair loss is temporary and there are many things one can do to support hair growth.
Below, you can see some useful solutions that will take care of hair loss if your estrogen levels are high or you have PCOS.
Progestin-Only Birth Control Pills
As seen above, estrogen dominance is market by high/normal estrogen and little to no progesterone and taking estrogen-based birth control pills could aggravate the condition.
Not only does high estrogen contribute to hair loss, but it is deeply related to PCOS which is also associated with hair thinning/loss.
One way to take care of this problem is to consult your doctor about taking progestin-only birth control pills (13).
These pills enhance progesterone levels and contribute to hormonal balance.
Since hair loss in your case is caused by hormonal imbalance, then estrogen-progesterone equilibrium is an important strategy for addressing hair-related problems.
Dietary supplements are products with natural ingredients and are formulated to address some problem without causing side effects.
Women with PCOS can use different kinds of supplements to balance their hormones.
When estrogen and progesterone levels are normal, other functions in your body will develop properly, including hair growth cycle.
The food you eat can either support your health, skin, hair quality and growth or it can impair them.
Weight management and insulin regulation are important for PCOS women and both symptoms also affect estrogen levels.
Therefore, it’s practical to avoid sweets, junk foods, sugary beverages, and other unhealthy foods in favor of fruits, vegetables, and well-balanced diet.
Eat fiber-rich foods that support gut health, try probiotics, and limit intake of bread and pasta.
Physical activity is important for hormone balance. Not only will it balance androgens, but estrogen and progesterone in your body.
It’s never too late to start exercising and there are no rules that limit the type of activity you’ll do.
You can jog, run on a treadmill, do strength training exercises, HIIT, or something else.
Getting 30 minutes of exercise a day is enough to achieve benefits and manage your weight.
Water is the healthiest beverage on our planet, but it is underappreciated.
Most of us fail to drink enough water during the day and it shows on our skin, bodily functions, and even in the hair.
If you’re dealing with hair loss, then staying hydrated is extremely important. The reason is simple; hair shaft itself is largely comprised of water.
Also, hormonal fluctuations induce fatigue and they can make you thirsty faster so you have yet another reason to stay hydrated.
If you forget to drink water, then you can set up a reminder that will remind you.
Don’t perm, dye, or bleach hair too often
Limit the number of hair products you use
Take any natural oil (coconut, almond, olive), add a few drops of lavender or rosemary essential oil to it, and massage the mixture into your scalp. Put on a shower cap and leave it on for an hour, then shampoo your hair.
Massage essential oils such as lavender, thyme, or rosemary into the scalp after shampooing.
Apply green tea on the scalp and rinse after an hour
Estrogen has a crucial role in a woman’s health and wellbeing. Fluctuations in this hormone are accompanied by different symptoms including hair loss.
Both low estrogen and elevated levels of this hormone can cause hair thinning or loss, but it is a temporary change. There are many things you can do to support hair growth.
References Hair loss: the science of hair, WebMD https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/hair-loss/science-hair#2
 Milner Y, Kashgarian M, Sudnik J, et al. Exogen, shedding phase of the hair growth cycle: characterization of a mouse model. Journal of Investigative Dermatology 2002 Sep;119(3):639-664. Doi: 10.1046/j.1523-1747.2002.01842.x
 Venning VA, Dawber RPR. Patterned androgenic alopecia in women. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 1988 May;18(5):1073-7. Doi: 10.1016/S0190-9622(88)70108-5
 Riedel-Baima B, Riedel A. Female pattern hair loss may be triggered by low oestrogen to androgen ratio. Endocrine Regulations 2008 Mar;42(1):13-6 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18333699
 Menopause, University of Maryland
 Estrogen and hair loss in women explained, Viviscal.com https://blog.viviscal.com/estrogen-hair-loss-in-women-explained/
 The horrors of hair loss, Huffington Post https://www.huffingtonpost.com/sara-gottfried-md/women-hair-loss_b_2597382.html
 Plechner AJ. Cortisol abnormality as a cause of elevated estrogen and immune destabilization: insights for human medicine from a veterinary perspective. Medical Hypotheses 2004;62(4):575-81. Doi: 10.1016/mehy.2003.12.005 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15050110
 Dağ ZÖ, Dilbaz B. Impact of obesity on infertility in women. Journal of the Turkish German Gynecological Association. 2015;16(2):111-117. doi:10.5152/jtgga.2015.15232. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4456969/
 Polycystic ovary syndrome, WomensHealth.gov
 Cela E, Robertson C, Rush K, et al. Prevalence of polycystic ovaries in women with androgenic alopecia. European Journal of Endocrinology 2003;149:439-42 http://www.eje-online.org/content/149/5/439.full.pdf
 Ramos PM, Miot HA. Female Pattern Hair Loss: a clinical and pathophysiological review. Anais Brasileiros de Dermatologia. 2015;90(4):529-543. doi:10.1590/abd1806-4841.20153370. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4560543/
 Swellam M, Khaial A, Mosa T, El-Baz H, Said M. Anti-mullerian and androgens hormones in women with polycystic ovary syndrome undergoing IVF/ICSI. Iranian Journal of Reproductive Medicine. 2013;11(11):883-890. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3941393/
 What’s the best birth control for women with PCOS? Healthline https://www.healthline.com/health/birth-control/best-birth-control-for-pcos