Although it's generally only prescribed as a last resort for menopausal symptoms, hormone replacement therapy is a common and very effective hair loss treatment for some women — as long as they are menopausal or post-menopausal and are not at higher risk for adverse effects from HRT.
Certain HRT products can help to treat female pattern hair loss. The hair- friendly ones are Premique and Indivina (both of these products contain the anti- androgen medroxyprogesterone acetate) and Angeliq (containing drospirenone).
HRT and Hair Regrowth
Estrogen and progesterone are hormones that aid in healthy hair growth, so when your body stops producing these, it can cause hair loss. Taking HRT can help prevent this loss and may even help regrow hair. In fact, some trans women with androgen alopecia who underwent HRT saw hair regrowth3.
It's important to understand that this is not a quick-fix for hair loss in women. The drug must be used for at least two consecutive months to notice a difference, and the effect is usually noticed around the four-month mark, but it could possibly take longer. A six to 12-month trial is recommended.
Effects of Hormone Replacement Therapy on Hair Loss
While trans women who were suffering from androgenetic alopecia prior to starting HRT may see a reversal of their hair loss, the results have not been universal. More interestingly, blocking DHT in men tends to only slow hair loss.
Generally, women find that HRT improves the symptoms of menopause, including hair thinning, although this of course depends on the cause of your hair loss. However, some women find that HRT makes their hair thinning worse.
Many people want to know if hormonal hair loss can be reversed. The answer is yes! Fortunately, unlike genetic hair loss, most hair loss caused by hormonal imbalances is reversible.
When the levels of estrogen and progesterone drop, hair grows more slowly and becomes much thinner. A decrease in these hormones also triggers an increase in the production of androgens, or a group of male hormones. Androgens shrink hair follicles, resulting in hair loss on the head.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can affect weight loss in women. In addition to having less abdominal fat, the same study found that women undergoing HRT were almost one whole point lower on the body mass index (BMI) scale, and they had nearly 3 pounds less of fat mass.
By supplementing your body's natural hormone levels, HRT can help you maintain a more youthful body composition. While this effect is particularly evident in men, research suggests that women can also benefit. HRT is also known to help women maintain softer, smoother skin, resulting in a younger look.
Androgens, such as testosterone (T), dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and their prohormones dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) and androstenedione (A) are the key factors in the growth of terminal hair.
As with male pattern baldness, female pattern baldness comes from hormone imbalances, specifically dihydrotestosterone imbalances, or DHT. This hormone is similar in structure to testosterone, but it is significantly more potent . DHT can attach to receptors on the hair follicles, causing the follicles to shrink.
The telogen phase
While this two- to four-month phase begins with rest and ends in hair loss. According to the Cleveland Clinic, somewhere around 4 percent of your hair is in this phase at any given time. Knowing this helps with perspective, especially since you're shedding hair every single day.
There is new evidence to support the previous observational studies that HRT reduces the incidence of heart attacks. Estrogen therapy has a beneficial effect upon collagen, thus improving the texture of the skin, the nails, the intervertebral discs and bone matrix.
There are various treatment options for female hair loss, including topical medications, such as Rogaine. Other options include light therapy, hormone therapy, or in some cases, hair transplants. Eating a nutritious diet and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can also help keep hair healthy.
Weight gain and HRT
Many women believe that taking HRT will make them put on weight, but there's no evidence to support this claim.
Muscle mass and strength will decrease. Additionally, arms and legs will appear smoother. This is because the fat below the skin becomes thicker. As the fat under the skin increases and moves, the eyes and face may take on a more “feminine” appearance.
HRT does not cause weight gain. Side effects of HRT may feel like it but the reality is that bodies change in midlife. In fact, many women lose weight and feel considerably fitter on HRT. Dr Liz Andrew has worked as a GP for over 12 years and developed a passion for offering women menopause care.
Hormonal Hair Loss: Gradual Thinning Of Hair
In women, androgenic alopecia begins with a gradual widening of the part line, followed by increased thinning starting at the top of the head. “A patient may begin to notice a thinner ponytail or may say 'I see more of my scalp,'” St. Surin-Lord says.
Estrogen and Progesterone
These hormones also help with hair growth. Estrogen and progesterone can help keep your hair in the growing (anagen) phase. Therefore, these hormones can help your hair stay on your head longer and may even help your hair grow faster.
Fortunately, menopausal hair loss isn't often permanent. However, if you're looking for a shorter-term solution, there are a variety of lifestyle adjustments and treatment options that may help. Adjust Your Hair Care Routine: Treating your hair with care can help prevent further damage.
Minoxidil (meh-nox-eh-dil): Long used to treat male pattern hair loss, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved this non-prescription treatment for women. Today, it is the most-recommended treatment for FPHL. Products containing either 2% or 5% minoxidil have been approved to treat FPHL.
Pantothenic Acid also known as Vitamin B5 is important for healthy hair during menopause. Pantothenic Acid strengthens the cells in your hair follicles and combats menopause hair loss. Vitamin A can increase the speed of cell regeneration.
Midlife Hormonal Changes May Contribute to Thinning Hair
Androgens, a group of hormones that include testosterone and androstenedione, don't increase during the menopause transition, but the ratio between estrogen and androgen changes, so you have less estrogen and relatively more androgen, she explains.