Which Hormone Causes Hair Loss?

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Hair loss can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, medical conditions, medications, and hormonal imbalances. Several hormones can play a role in hair loss, depending on the specific underlying cause. Some of the key hormones associated with hair loss include:

  • Dihydrotestosterone (DHT): DHT is a derivative of testosterone, a male sex hormone (androgen). In individuals with a genetic predisposition to androgenetic alopecia (male or female pattern baldness), hair follicles on the scalp are sensitive to the effects of DHT. Over time, DHT can cause hair follicles to shrink and produce thinner and shorter hair, eventually leading to hair loss.
  • Thyroid Hormones: Thyroid hormones (thyroxine or T4 and triiodothyronine or T3) play a role in regulating metabolism. Both hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid) and hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid) can lead to hair loss. Thyroid-related hair loss is typically diffuse and not limited to a specific pattern on the scalp.
  • Estrogen and Progesterone: Hormonal fluctuations, such as those that occur during pregnancy and menopause, can affect hair growth patterns. Some women may experience temporary hair loss or thinning during these periods of hormonal change.
  • Cortisol: Prolonged or excessive stress can lead to elevated levels of cortisol, a stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands. High cortisol levels can disrupt the normal hair growth cycle and contribute to hair loss.
  • Insulin: Insulin resistance, which is often associated with conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), can lead to elevated insulin levels. This can disrupt hormonal balance and contribute to hair loss in some individuals with PCOS.
  • Growth Hormone: Growth hormone (GH) is involved in cell growth and repair, including the growth of hair. Deficiencies in growth hormone can potentially impact hair growth, although this is relatively rare.
  • Sex Hormones: Changes in sex hormone levels during menopause or as a result of certain medications (e.g., birth control pills) can affect hair growth.

It’s important to note that the specific hormonal factors contributing to hair loss can vary widely among individuals, and many cases of hair loss are multifactorial, involving a combination of genetic, hormonal, and environmental factors. If you are experiencing hair loss and are concerned about its cause or progression, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare provider or dermatologist. They can evaluate your condition, identify potential underlying factors, and recommend appropriate treatments or interventions to address the issue.

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