The Pill, Thyroid, and 4 Other Types of Hormonal Hair Loss

hairloss

Hair loss used to be something that women suffered occasionally after childbirth or illness. It is now so common that doctors see it every day.

Hormonal birth control is largely to blame. It damages the hair follicle in a way that can take years to repair.  Other conditions such as PCOS and thyroid disease also play a role.

6 Types of hormonal hair loss

1) Hormonal birth control 

Some progestins are like testosterone, so they shrink and damage your hair follicle. Modern birth control tries to get around the problem by using different progestins, but they are not much of an improvement, and they have the unfortunate tendency to cause fatal blood clots. Ironically, birth control is often prescribed to treat hair loss, in the hope that the synthetic estrogens will counteract the progestins and promote hair regrowth. My advice: Get OFF the Pill and stay off it. Let your body’s own estrogen and progesterone run the show for a change. Yes, stopping the Pill may trigger a temporary increase in shedding (2 to 3 months later), but that will pass. As your own estrogen and progesterone take charge, you will slowly regain your normal hair.

2) PCOS, testosterone, and insulin resistance

Testosterone causes hair loss. This occurs in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome, a condition which, incidentally, is headed for a name change because it has very little to do with cysts on the ovaries. Most PCOS-sufferers have high testosterone on blood test. Some have normal testosterone, but still show signs of testosterone sensitivity such as acne and facial hair. For a discussion of all the different types of androgens, see my latest post: 4 Causes of Androgen Excess.

The testosterone of PCOS is usually caused by insulin resistance, which in turn is caused by sugar, and other factors. The Pill causes insulin resistance, which is why using the Pill to treat PCOS is just bad medicine.

3) Progesterone deficiency

Progesterone is our natural androgen receptor blocker. In other words, it protects the hair follicle from testosterone. Progesterone is why women’s hair grows so thick during pregnancy.  To have adequate progesterone, we must ovulate regularly. Women on the pill and women with PCOS do not ovulate and do not make enough progesterone. (The progestins in the Pill are not progesterone but can be more accurately described as anti-progesterone.) Another cause of progesterone deficiency is stress, which forces the body to convert progesterone into the stress hormone cortisol. Magnesium is essential for progesterone production and calms the stress response. Magnesium is also an androgen receptor blocker. For this reason, I recommend magnesium for any woman trying to recover her hair. Natural progesterone is a treatment option but must be used with caution, because an overdose will worsen the problem (see below). The best way to enhance progesterone is to restore normal ovulation by correcting insulin resistance, thyroid, or other obstacles to normal ovulation.

4) Thyroid disease

Either too little or too much thyroid hormone can result in hair loss. The conventional blood test for TSH is not enough to detect subclinical thyroid disease. I recommend testing for thyroid antibodies, T3 and possibly reverse T3. Once a thyroid problem has been identified, thyroid hormone in the form of T4, T3 or desiccated thyroid can be used. Do not overdose thyroid hormone, because it will then cause the same hair loss problem that it was meant to treat (see below). The best treatment for autoimmune thyroid disease is not thyroid hormone, but instead to lower the autoimmune response (thyroid antibodies). This can be done by removing gluten from the diet, correcting intestinal flora, and supplementing selenium.

5) Estrogen deficiency

Hair follicles love estrogen, which is why the synthetic estrogens in the Pill are often prescribed. If you have low estrogen, then you probably have vaginal dryness and scanty light periods—or no periods at all. Estrogen deficiency is most often caused by low body weight, eating disorder, smoking, low carb diet, gluten intolerance, or stress. The solution is to address the underlying cause and get your periods flowing again. I do not recommend estrogen supplements for young women. The low estrogen of menopause is a different story. Post-menopausal women can consider low-dose body-identical estrogen and progesterone. See my estrogen deficiency post.

6) Hormone overdose

Don’t fall into the trap of causing hair loss with the very hormone that you’re using to treat it. Excess thyroid, estrogen, progesterone and DHEA supplements can all cause hair loss. When the hair follicle is exposed to higher-than-normal levels of hormone, it shuts down and stops responding.  It is a case of hormone deficiency in a sea of hormone. Small doses of thyroid, estrogen and progesterone can be helpful, but there is a small window of therapeutic value. A hormonal sweet spot. If it feels like you might need more, then you probably need less. If in doubt, lower the dose.

Be a detective

Other causes of hair loss include stress, illness, surgery and deficiency of protein, iron or zinc. Hair loss can be a side effect of many medications including anti-inflammatories and antidepressants. Count backwards on your calendar. The problem typically begins 3 months AFTER the cause, but it may be much longer. If the damage to the hair follicle is cumulative—as it is with the Pill—it may take years for the shedding to begin in earnest.

Once hair loss is established, it is often not enough to treat just one thing. You may need to line up a few treatments to get results Example: stop the Pill, take zinc, and address an underlying eating disorder.

Play the long game

Hair loss is distressing because it takes SO LONG to respond to treatment. The most perfect treatment cannot start to work any sooner than 3 months, and it may take more than a year. My message to women is this: Play the long game. Identify the underlying hormonal cause of your hair loss, and correct that. Stick with it. Stopping and starting many different treatments will get you nowhere.

Stay calm. Trust your body.

Don’t miss Part 2 of my hair loss series: 9 Things to Know about Female Hair Loss.

You might also want to read my posts about Androgen ExcessSpironolactone, and Treatment for 4 Types of PCOS.

Lara Briden, women's health doctor and period revolutionary

309 thoughts on “The Pill, Thyroid, and 4 Other Types of Hormonal Hair Loss”

  1. I’m not sure whether I have low estrogen because I do have light periods and don’t produce any fluid during sexual arousal. However, I experience breast pain in the week up to menstruation and a few days in which improves with estrogen detoxification supplements e.g. broccoli powder. So it would seem that my problem is high estrogen but this doesn’t explain my lack of fluid during arousal.

    What do you think?

  2. I have been experiencing significant hair loss since a cortisone injection in June of 2015. I have other symptoms such many food sensitivities, depression, anxiety and skin issues. I was recently told I have adrenal fatigue syndrome and progesterone deficiency (I’m 46 years old and this was discovered via saliva cortisol test). My dr told me to take chase tree berry (increased depression and hair loss) and progesterone cream of 20 mg/day. Since the chaste tree berry made my symptoms worse my dr told me to up the pro cream to 30mg/day. I only went up to 25 and found that it also increased the hair loss which in turn increased the anxiety and depression. She told me that my body has a problem detoxifiying and I need to find someone to help me with that (literally told me that and walked out of the office as I sat there crying my eyes out). Anyway, I was only on the cream for 3 months (second half of cycle, was having regular monthly cycles before the chaste tree & pro cream. Haven’t had a cycle since 6/27) and I stopped using it when she told me I should stop. The hair loss is literally getting worse by the day and I’m at my wits end. This is increasing my stress and anxiety which is the opposite of what I need to do to heal from AFS. How long will the excessive shedding last in your opinion? I’m trying to find a practionier that can help me but in the I meantime, I’d just like to know how bad this extra bad shedding will last given the limited time on the cream. Thank you!

  3. I’ve been reading a lot about higher doses of progesterone cream, 100-200mg per day for hair loss. Your position is that this dosage could cause more hair loss?

    Thanks!

  4. Finding the sweet hormonal spot – very important. My hair was falling out a lot, once I started thyroid medication it stopped completely but I over did it and raised my dose too high and hair started to fall out again. So yes, you can have the same symptom from too much or too little. I reduced my dose and trying different thyroid and it stopped falling out very quickly. My body responded rather fast to the change. Years and years of untreated hypothyroidism left my previously gorgeous hair a dry thin mess. I’m hoping to get it back once optimally medicated. Also taking bio identical progesterone as it is low as a result of low thyroid. I know progesterone is really good for thyroid too. I feel that most of our hormonal problems always point to thyroid. Thyroid is like a software quietly running the whole show while the whole medical world is obsessing over stupid TSH and leaves many people undiagnosed and sick.

  5. I just don’t trust any type of doctor’s now days! I believe most cheat the insurance companies saying you have stuff that you really don’t to get paid more.Its so sad that I’m seeking legal advice! They love pulling woman’s female organs out instead of working with alternatives that don’t cause life long complications O.k.! So I learned to make healthier food choices not that I was over weight or anything.I believe it would of helped my uterine fibroids, but NO at 41 I had not been given any options like fibroid embolism.🤔

  6. Hi Sarah,

    I am so glad I stumbled upon your posts about hair loss and hormonal imbalances.
    I decided to go back on the pill two months ago and stopped it after one month because I noticed my hair was starting to fall out. Since finishing the pill I’ve still noticed significant hair loss. I’ve been going around in circles with my GP and my blood tests haven’t been giving me any useful information.

    I am due to see a dermatologist this week but now I’m keen to see a naturopath as well. Can you recommend anyone down in Melbourne?

    Thankyou

    • Hi Tess, Im from Melbourne and have been following this post. I am still suffering from hair loss and had to seek treatment on my own as my GP dismissed my hair loss. I went to Sinclair Dermatology – every single GP I saw would recommend them, they will basically offer the medical treatments listed in this thread – minoxodyl / spironolactone. I also saw a Naturopath from Melbourne Natural Medicine in North Melbourne who was amazing and worked with me to try and narrow down the issue using blood tests and analyzing lifestyle and diet – none of which my GP’s or Sinclair dermatology even inquired about. Hair loss is different for everyone and I really suggest pushing for blood tests to check your iron, zinc, thyroid and hormones – testosterone, estrogen etc. because you may not need the medication.

  7. Lara, Whats the reason some women lose tons of hair during hormonal shifts (like 4 months postpartum) and some dont?

    Do you think placenta encapsulation would help keeping hormones at a nice level postpartum?

  8. Hello Laura

    I’m 19 years old and I have loss hair since 2011. In 2011 I started using contraceptive (Diane 35, Iumi) because excessive and irregular menstrual flow.
    I never stopped using contraception because doctors told me that contraceptives improved hair.
    I have excess body hair and acne but no ovarian cysts have been found…

    I stopped using contraception last year (July) and also my loss hair sttoped.

    I started the pill again 3 months ago (acne) and the hair loss came back in the last few days (very strong). I sttopped using contraceptive today.

    How long I will lose hair?
    How to minimize the loss hair until my body produces its own hormones?

    English isn’t my first language, so please excuse any mistakes.

  9. Thank you very much for the information! Do you think it’s possible that the hair loss (androgenetic alopecia) is due to the Nuvaring?

    I’ve always had such thick hair and now it’s falling out mostly on top. One year ago I noticed a lot more hair in the shower drain and on my hair brush than was normal for me. Also my mom noticed that my hair didn’t look as thick as it had, months earlier. I was on it for over 5 years before my 4th dermatologist came to the conclusion that the Nuvaring might be the case. I don’t have a family history of androgenetic alopecia or diffuse hair loss. And what I’ve recently discovered is that, of the many birth-control pills on the market, Nuvaring (etenogestrel) is one of the most androgenic available! Just 5 months ago I was diagnosed with androgenetic alopecia (had a scalp biopsy – so it is definitive).

    • Yes, Nuvaring is the progestin drug etonogestrel, which has a “high androgen index”, which means it’s quite testosterone-like and can cause hair loss.

    • And doesn’t reverse the effects it caused when you stop? High cortisol “flight mode” high dhea normal testosterone, total and free. But since starting bio progesterone my head itches burns and doomed feeling my progesterone is low I’m only taking 20mgs one ovary and still cycle I can’t afford any more hair loss. Aga is reversible if it’s just from a hormonal imbalance? I need hope

  10. Hi lara
    Have you worked with any women who have recovered from post Pill thinning? I stopped the pill in December 2015, went through a few months of telofen effluvium but nothing too drastic. My progesterone was low, my testosterone normal but I think it was elevated in sense because it was relatively imbalanced compared to the low estrogen. So I dealt with horrific scalp sebum for over 8 months and I think I am still seeing the effects of that. I have visible thinning and can see my scalp after a shower or when my hair is in a ponytail. And my hair is wispy and fine so I think it’s safe to assume the androgen overdrive had a miniaturizing effect on my hair. I’ve tried supplementing with guidance from my naturopath, no results. Diet isn’t helping either.

    Do you have any experience seeing women recover from this sort of thing? The hormonal trigger should be down, but the effects seem permanent. I’m desperate for any hope.

    • Do you have regular cycles now? That’s how you can make the estrogen and progesterone you need for hair.

      • Hi Lara,

        With the exception of two later periods due to travel/stress etc., I have had regular 28-32 day cycles for over 15 months.

        My progesterone was very low when I came off the pill (unsurprisingly), and my testosterone was considered normal. However, given the low progesterone and the proportion I suppose it would be elevated in a sense, in the comparison.

        I feel like the 8-9 months of elevated scalp sebum has basically killed/miniaturized my hair follicles. I have fine wispy hairs at my temples, something I never recalled previously.

  11. Hi Laura,

    First I’d like to say I loved your posts about hair loss.

    And here’s my case… I’m 24 yo, and my hair started to fall (much) more than the normal 2 years ago. I went to many dermatologists, took vitamins, biotin, minoxidil, special shampoos, etc etc… One of them even said it was because dandruff, which I also treated. But no success…

    After one year like this, I went to a endocrinologist and I found out my DHT was high. So I also took finasteride 1 mg with all the rest. After 8 months on finasteride, and some months without it, my hair started to fall again and I found out the DHT was the double than before. I was desperate. 50% of my natural hair was lost, I see hair everywhere in my bedroom… Even the texture was different (it was straight with some light curves and oily, now its normal and more curvy, even with some curls).

    I’m taking everything again, the finasteride, biotin, other vitamins, minoxidil… And my hair is still falling…

    A important thing to consider: I take pills for 10 years because of PCOS, for almost all this time it was the yaz, now its the diane 35 (I changed by my gynecologist for other problems). And sometimes my scalp hurts, like if had pulled my hair tightly.

    I don’t know what to do anymore… It’s destroying my confidence, my self steem…

    Do you have any idea what can be causing it and what more I could do?

    Thanks!

  12. Hi Dr Briden,
    I am wondering, is it possible for withdrawal of an anti-androgen contraceptive pill like Diane-35 to cause androgenetic alopecia? Can androgens be elevated to higher levels shortly after stopping the pill to trigger this hair loss?

    • Yes, absolutely. Withdrawal from anti-androgen pills can cause a temporary period of excess androgens and androgenetic alopecia.

      • Does that mean that if triggered, the alopecia will get progressively worse even after hormones balance out, and there is not much that can be done about it?

          • Thank you for your response! Just to clarify, by ‘treatment’ do you mean the body’s natural production of hormones like progesterone?

          • Lara,

            Do you think the miniaturizing effect of androgenetic alopecia is permanent, even when the temporary trigger is gone? Just wondering what your thoughts are on long term regrowth and rethickening of the hair follicle……I seem to find different answers. I definitely have androgen related thinning, but I don’t know if the shrunken follicle is permanent or just a temporary side effect.

  13. Yes obviously I would love to come off the pill but I CANT. doctors have no solution for me. I don’t get my period and I get extremely bad pain to the point that I can’t do anything. I don’t want to put these hormones in my body anymore but doctors are useless. Yes the pill fixed all my problems but now I am scared and want to come off instead of putting these hormones in my body. But i really feel like I have no choice :-‘(
    What am I supposed to do. I have been on the pill for 8 years.

  14. Hi Lara, Im 31 years old and have been suffering hair loss for the past 11 months. I was on Yaz for 2 years and switched to a different pill Zoely about 3 months before my hair started falling and thinning. I have had four blood tests and am very low in iron, zinc and B12. My thyroid came up fine and Im a healthy body weight. I started supplementing iron and zinc 10 months ago but have not noticed a change. I recently stopped taking the Zoely pill and had a saliva test done that showed high testosterone but low androgen and low DHT, which was confusing as I assumed these would be high in the case of my hair loss? I then saw a dermatologist who recommended Spironolactone and Minoxodyl. Both of which I do not want to take because of the side effects and increase in hair loss. I have lost about 50% of my hair, its growing back very fine but im afraid it will all fall out before I’m 35. Im terrified and its difficult not to stress and think about it everyday. Is there anything safer out there than Spironolactone you can recommend?

  15. Hi Lara,
    Some advice please. I had a baby a month ago and have suffered hair loss in the past. I have endometriosis that destroyed my left sided female organs. My dr. wants me to take birth control pills to help control the endometriosis and prevent pregnancy after my c section. Which birth control pill do you know to not cause hairloss? I am afraid of losing the rest of my hair as it never regained fullness. I took YAZ once and was sick sick sick. I am afraid of taking BE again but feel I have no choice. Please help….

  16. It’s been 10 months since I have gotten of BCPs (Loestrin FE 20/1). The shed stopped 5/6 months ago. My period snapped back to normal immediately after getting off the pill (I was only on it for 4 months). I started on Biotin 10mg/day 8 months ago. I’ve been TRYING to just wait it out and let my hormones fix things but my hair is as thin as it has ever looked. At what point should I just admit that given the pattern of my loss and that after 10 months of a regular (painful mind you) cycle and decreased shedding but no regrowth – this is probably androgenic alopecia? Am I being impatient? Because it feels like I’ve waited a long time here.

  17. Hi there, since giving birth to my daughter last October I have experienced significant hair loss. It does seem to finally be slowing a bit but I was wondering what I might do to help prevent post partum hair loss. I would appreciate any advice you might have.

  18. Hi Dr Briden,

    Can “hormone overdose” be caused by plants? I took yarrow supplements for nearly 3 years to treat post-pill acne and hair loss. I stopped taking it over 2 months ago and my skin looks a lot better (although in the beginning of the treatment it was very helpful), my eye lashes seem to grow thicker and I have more hair growth. The problem is that my hair keeps shedding a lot. It really worries me. I was hopping that stopping yarrow could help my hair grow back…. do I have any hope?

  19. Hi Dr. Briden,
    What do you think about evening primrose oil for hair loss? I see this suggested a lot for hair loss, but it contains omega 6. Is this inflammatory like the omega 6 veg oils? I have pcos and heavy periods (I am taking tumeric, magnesium, omega3, vitamin D3 and progesterone cream- also gluten free & dairy free diet) Would this be beneficial to add or possibly make things worse with inflammation? Thank you for all if the help you give to so many.

  20. Dr. Briden,

    Are there accurate tests to test both DHT and biotin? Are these worth testing? I am completing many of the labs you have recommended and I am trying to get all the tests I need to start to find the root cause for hair loss.

    Thank you!

      • Since stopping contraception at the age of 48, I have never felt worse. I have gained a huge amount of weight without any change in lifestyle. This has also resulted in many more connective tissue diseases that are not mild, they are life threatening. Couldn’t care about the hair as there are many wigs around that are so well made you wouldn’t know. The most hideous factor is the huge weight gain and a slower metabolism. I am wretched.

  21. Thank you so much! When you say, “When the hair follicle is exposed to higher-than-normal levels of hormone, it shuts down and stops responding,” do you mean permanently? As in, the hair can never regrow?

  22. This post had so much valuable information. I could identify my own problems with the loe estrogen and hair loss problems. Thank you

  23. Hi! You’re writing here about how essential magnesium is for progesterone, can you recommend on a right dosage? And also,does it make sense to just rub several drops into skin (magnesium oil), rather than getting a supplement?

    Thank you so much!
    Liubov

  24. Dissipated thyroid did not help and the use of it instead of seeking a specialist led to a worsened case of hypothyroidism. I should have seen an endocrinologist right away.

  25. Hi,

    I need to know. Last year i underwent an abortion due to varying reasons. Shortly after i then took up the pill (Yaz) to which i had crazy response to and requested a new pill (Minesse) from my Gynie. The period in which i was on Yaz was 3 months then i stopped and took up Minesse a month later. Same scenario so i decided to forgo the pill. My hair started falling out in January of this year. I went to a specialist who prescribed me all sorts of things had said i was suffering from DHT. I finished the course of treatemnt and my hair is still thinning drastically.
    My main concern is that obviosuly i am bound to go bald. If this continues, my once super thick hair has now gone to nothing .
    What i wanted to know if anyone has gone through similar occurances and if they have seen any change in hair growth coming back after a year?
    Thanks so much with the article i am going to be trying these remedies.

  26. Hi. I made a horrible mistake and took a “vitamin” with testosterone that claimed to improve my libido. I took it for two weeks and stopped because my scalp was itching and burning horribly. That was almost 1 year ago. Since then, my scalp has gone through these cycles of itching and burning but only recently began shedding. My question is, since I only exposed myself to excessive testosterone for 2 weeks, will this end? any information you have is welcomed. Thanks.

      • Im not clear on the dose, but here is a link to the product:

        m.vitaminshoppe.com/m/p/high-t-high-t-women-60-capsules/hm-1027

        I was wondering if maybe I triggered some response in my body that wouldn’t stop or could there be something else wrong? Also, thank you so much for responding to my comment. I haven’t really known where to turn.

        • As far as I can tell, that product does not contain testosterone. It’s a herbal formula. I doubt that you would have any effects from it a year later. Was there anything else that changed with your health around the same time? Had you recently started or stopped hormonal birth control?

  27. Jennifer -Has the iron helped your hair? Have you found some success? I have had hair loss since stopping progesterone cream two years ago. I have tried a number of vitamins/supplements with Evening Primrose and Fish Oil helping the most. I went off of them when they started to change my periods and I was worried that I was doing more damage than good by further unbalancing my hormones. But my hair loss came back when I stopped. I am seeing an Integrative Dr now who is running plenty of tests and working on adrenal fatigue and digestive issues (inflammation, overgrowth of bacteria) before hormonal. I have not used rogaine, done a scalp biopsy, or any other traditional approach but I am wondering what my options are at this point. My iron was 42 and Vit D 39 last time I was tested. My estrone (4) and estriol (<5) levels were both depressed. DHT was 30 (normal). Free Testosterone was 20 (normal).Progesterone 172 (normal). I'll have a more comprehensive fatty acid profile done next, along with a more comprehensive hormonal test. Just not sure if I could continue to do more damage by using fatty acids (do they mess with hormone levels) and vitamin D (could it increase testosterone furthering this problem). It is so very confusing! Any insight is welcome from Dr. Lara or anyone else !! Thank you.

    • Well, I wouldn’t know yet on the iron. You need your ferritin level to be above 70 or 80 for three straight months to know. I haven’t been able to get mine above 55 which is probably another reason why I can’t get out of the TE (shedding phase ) that the pill started. I have thyroid disease. My endocrinologist says my thyroid is fine. Clearly although the numbers are fine it doesn’t mean my thyroid is functioning correctly. I have been supplementing with Proferrin for a year at the max dosage and taking it with vitamin C and Lysine for the best absorption and it isn’t getting anywhere near 70. A stubborn low ferritin level like this is common with people whose thyroid isn’t working correctly but many doctors do not see it this way. Many doctors will say my ferritin level is fine at 50 but that is in terms of vital organs. Hair is a different story. Ferritin under 70-80 tells the body that it can’t spare the extra iron to make cells for hair and it puts hair in a shedding phase with a shorter growth phase. I don’t know what to do about this yet. In January I stopped Vitex suddenly and my period stopped. My FSH went to crazy abnormal levels and my estrogen went abnormally low. It call came back in a month but the upset caused yet another major shedding phase. I have thought about consulting another endocrinologist – but right now I think I need to let my body have a rest before trying to change thyroid medication.

      As far as DHT my understanding is that if your hair loss is androgenic ( for example you took a high androgen index pill and it has no sensitized your body to androgens) then your body is sensitive to ANY androgen in your body. My trichologist has told me that she doesn’t see androgenic loss with my hair because most of the hair lost is long hair which is TE loss (shedding from something that is triggering shedding)- and that my new growth is strong even if, because of the other shedding, there isn’t quite enough to catch up. She said that androgenic loss would see the new small hairs falling out.

      In the mean time the only other things I can do are to try and keep my Vitamins and nutrients up. Vit D,B, Fish oil, I take Magnesium Glycinate every day and try to keep my stress levels down. I am not really an expert about your numbers. Again this is something for an endocrinologist and a trichologist if you can find one. I can tell you that in my experience talking with other women about this issue they have all said a trichologist is money well spent. I am not a big believer in too many drugs. In my opinion drugs caused this issue so my trust level is low. I am aware that with every drug comes a price. IF Rogaine works for you it requires daily use for life. On the heralopecia.com website I have read enough postings from women who said that they lost more hair than they gained and that they had to go through a major shedding of hair before anything grew in again. I personally can’t take that chance. I would rather try my best to get my body in the best place it can be. My trichologist also told me that you shouldn’t really start Rogaine until you have looked at the whole picture and have any imbalances fixed (like iron or vitamin deficiencies.) I hope this helps some. If you are in New York City Liz at Philip Kingsley is brilliant. It isn’t cheap but I couldn’t have made it through a year of this without her knowledge and support.

  28. Certainly food for thought… I’m experiencing hair loss over the last 2 months or so. I was diagnosed in June 2014 with PCOS and started birth control soon after. So interesting if that’s why I’m experiencing the hair loss as I am now. Going to a dermatologist and endocrinologist and taking meds (which I don’t really want) to try to control the loss. What would you suggest I do? I’m nervous about losing enough to be noticeable to others.

        • That pill contains norethindrone, which has a low androgen index. It shouldn’t be the cause of hair loss in your case. Did your endocrinologist say anything about the actual cause of hair loss? Did she check your thyroid?

          • Well that’s good to know. So that should not be a hair loss concern for me. My thyroid was checked this July and was fine. I’ve also been working with a dermatologist which thinks it’s probably because of my PCOS. She checked my iron and it was “lower than she would like” at 40. So I’m on iron now and suggested spironolactone which I’m taking, even though I don’t want to because I’m afriad of losing a lot more. She also suggested rogaine foam that I’m using. I know it all takes awhile but i feel like it’s still getting worse. And I’m under a lot of stress that I’m not sure how to control.

          • Rogaine makes your hair fall out before it will grow again. Once you use Rogaine you are on it for life. If you stop using it the hair it grew in will fall out. Rogaine is a bad trap which is why I wont use it. Some women on the hair loss community site I am on say that on Rogaine they lost more hair than they ever grew, which is another reasons I wont use it. Spiro is bad for your body and your hormones and doesn’t work very well anyway.
            Go and see a Trichologist. Find out WHY you are losing your hair. Dermatologists don’t know anything about hair loss. I’ve talked with hundreds of women in the past year because I am going through this as well, and my experience and theirs has been that a trichologist has been an invaluable help and dermatologists have been a huge waste of money. Whether they look into why they lost your hair or not they will still only prescribe the same thing.. Spiro, Rogaine and the birth control pill.. Spiro and BCP are basically the same.

          • I’m sorry about that. I saw three dermatologist and one I had to pay around 600 dollars for as my insurance didn’t cover him. All wastes of time and money. I live in New York City. I went to Philip Kingsley here. There is a trichologist named Liz. She has a tremendous understanding of hair. They do sometimes use some Rogaine but they look into what is really going on with your hair before hand. Doctors really don’t know WHAT to do other than Spiro, the pill or Rogaine. I used this website for help as well. You can chat with different people or post and see if anyone knows someone in your area. https://www.heralopecia.com/androgenetic-alopecia/causes-diagnosis-treatments.php Yes, Liz cost 350.00 for the initial consult and if you find a trichologist you need to have your doctor order a battery of blood tests to help them determine what is going on with your hair. This is usually a full hormone work up ( estorogern,progesterone, androgens, FSH, etc etc – then vit D, B, Iron ferritin, thyroid and so on) I had one done through the second dermatologist. The problem was he looked at all the information and STILL ignored it and wanted to start Rogaine. I needed to get my nutrients up first and especially my iron. It’s clear in my case that my iron is being affected by my thyroid. I am on the best iron supplement there is and taking it with C and Lysine for max absorption and STILL can’t get my iron up. I realize trichologists are not covered by insurance but they are the ones with in depth knowledge of hair and I don’t know what I would have done without Liz at Philip Kingsley. Good luck to you!

  29. Hi Lara
    I am really hoping you can give me some advice. I am 36 and have been losing hair rapidly in the female pattern area, centre parting and front top scalp behind the hairline. It was an extremely rapid onset which occurred within five months of having the Mirena IUD. I had this removed but the hair has continued to shed at a high rate and has now been happening for two years. Something you have said in one of your posts to someone that I read yesterday struck a chord. As you said sore breasts can be a sign of low progesterone. I have always suffered with breast cysts, despite having a normal cycle. When I had blood tests done a year after the hair loss started my serum LH level for prolactin came up as a low with a reading of 2.3 U/L ? I was told this was of no concern. Is this the test for Progesterone? If so please could you give me some advice as to how to restore these levels and if there is the possibility of my hair regrowing?
    Thanks for your help- don’t know who else to turn to.

  30. Ladies I owe it to all of you to report my results. My name is Lou and I commented on April 26, 2014, a heartfelt plea as to whether my hair would ever recover from the hair loss I went through when I first came off the pill and how to come off for good without experiencing more hair loss. I mentioned how I was thinking about weaning my self off? I started weaning myself off round about then and floor my last (third of a) pill in Nov 2014. I am pleased and thankful though I did experience some hair loss, it was minimal, nothing to worry over. And thank God that my skin has mostly remained clear as well. I started by taking 1/4 of the pill gor about 1 month then down to 2/3 for about 3 month, then about 1/2 for 3 months then down to a 1/3 for only 1 month (when I started spotting I decided it was time to stop weaning). When I started weaning I bought a number of supplements (saw palmetto, zinc, selenium, magnesium glycinate,evening primrose to name a few) to try and regulate my declining estrogen levels as I went along (and one thing I can tell you is that I went through the most intense itching bouts at times – HORRIBLE!) and eventually I was Ok. As for the volume of my hair, it has recovered somewhat, it’s not as crazily thick as it used to be, but Im happy and thankful for it- it has a decent level of volume. And this is something else I want you to know – no woman who ever walked the earth loved my hair as much as I loved mine, lol, but eventually you adjust to the new you. It’s abit like heartbreak, in the beginning it occupies your every thought until one day- your over it, and you’ve moved on. Of course, I really hope all of you regain your pre-pill hair, but if it doesn’t quite happen, trust me, you’ll be ok.

    God bless.

  31. Hi Lara, I’ve been thinking about trying Fusion Hair Tonic. Do you think it could be beneficial based on the ingrediants? or is there any ingrediant one should be weary of? Here are the list of ingrediants:

    Each vegetable capsule contains extracts equivalent to dry:

    Fallopia multiflora (Phytofol®) root 1000mg

    Paeonia lactiflora root 700mg

    Rehmannia glutinosa root 500mg

    Angelica polymorpha (Dong Quai) root 425mg

    Cuscuta hygrophilae seed 425mg

    Cullen corylifolium (Psoralea) fruit 425mg

    Ligusticum wallichii root 350mg

    Glycyrrhiza uralensis (Licorice) root & stolon 175mg

    • Certainly, I think some of those ingredients can be helpful. In fact, peony and licorice are two of the herbs that I prescribe most often to lower androgens. That said, I cannot say that would be universally helpful for hair regrowth for everyone. It all depends on underlying reason for hair loss.

  32. This article is the best article Ive read on the internet about hair loss. After 7 years on yasmin id had enough. Unfortunately I gained pcos and severe, SEVERE hair loss. Completely traumatic situation but thankful I am off bcp.

  33. I am so happy to have found this site, where there are so many people with stories of hair loss. I feel like I am going crazy over my hair, and no one understands. it is so terrible. I have been experiencing hair loss for the past 7 months. They say telogen effluvium, but to me that means they just have no idea why my hair is falling out. I have been OFF the pill for over 20 years and not taking any other medication that would cause hair loss. I am 46, and the labs I had done show it is not a thyroid issue, the test they ran was the thyrotropin sensitive serum, and it was 0.64 (0.465-4.680)…and 3 months prior it was 1.1, within the same range. Other tests like D were normal, my Iron was within the normal ranges, but since I have the hair loss, it could only help to get that number higher. (It is 14ng). My doc put me on 325mg iron sulfate/day. He also put me on 25mg Spironolactone/day to help promote hair growth. This was 7 days ago. My hair loss has gotten WORSE! Like today in the shower and carefully combing my hair with a big tooth comb, I stopped counting at 300 hairs. It was insane and I wanted to cry. After reading posts on other sites, and here, I am now pretty sure that the spiro is not for me. Even though I understand most things take months to affect your body and your hair, I truly believe that the spiro did something to my hair and made it fall out worse than it was. Has anyone else had Spiro make their hair loss worse, when the doc prescribed it to help, and noticed it so quickly? I see my hairline in the front on the sides, receding all of a sudden, it’s bizarre. I am going to obviously stop it immediately, and see what happens. Hoping that the shedding lessens quickly. has anyone had luck with the iron over time? I hope to see improvement with that. I would love your professional opinion, Lara, about the spiro and hair loss. And I would also love to hear from anyone that has had any experiences with it as well, if any. If there are any other things that I can do to help promote hair growth, I would sure like to hear any advice! I just had to buy a hair piece to hide the hair loss a few weeks ago, and with this extra loss, it does not help. A wig is not far off in my future. Thanks for any help you have to offer!

  34. Anyone taking Blackstrap Molasses? I had hair loss some moths ago, my blood test showed a D3 deficiency, after taking 5000UI a day and increasing carbs (fruits and vegetables) the heavy hair loss (inclding the burning sensation) stopped.
    Now, trying to fix my mild acne I’m taking Backstrap Molasses 2 weeks ago and my skin is a lot better, same as my energy, weight lose and feel more calmed but I feel my scalp very sensitive (not that burning sensation, but sensitive) and some hairs of my head and eyebrown falling (maybe I’m paranoic!)
    Anyway, you told that hairloss takes 3 months min to appear but, what if BSM affected my scalp someway?
    I found 2-3 people saying their lost hair while taking it … but a lot more reports nothing but benefits.
    I’m afraid to stop because mild acne will come back.

  35. Hi Lara
    I’ve had very thin hair since I was 17 and started on birth control pills. I am 32 now and have been off them for over a year, when I came off them I felt as tho I was going crazy! I became very depressed and a bit OCD about my thinning hair. I am now pregnant with my first child and just the past month my hair has finally stopped shedding, I haven’t had this thick beautiful hair everyone talks about but because my hair is so thin already I am absolutely terrified of the postpartum hairloss. I don’t have enough to spare and will be bald if it’s as bad as everyone says it is. Since pregnant I have been on syntroid but before I was pregnant I had my thyroid checked and it was fine. I’m just curious, does every woman experience hairloss after birth? Is there anything I can do to prevent it? I’m so scared of postpartum depression to come hand in hand with more hairloss 🙁

    • Dawna- a lot of women don’t experience P.P. hair loss. I know a friend who had the placenta dried and encapsulated. She took the pills and experienced minimal fatigue, depression, etc. And no hair loss. My advice is to take iron and vitamin D daily, along with a good multivitamin to help your body handle the stress. Best wishes!

      • Thank you. I really needed to hear that. Everything I look up has been horror stories so it’s nice to hear it doesn’t happen to everyone. I will definitely take the extra vitamins. Thanks again

  36. Hi,,I am a 35 year old African American woman I have diabetes and now on levimer and novalog insulins.my hair has completely come out in the top I am bold .I have to wear wigs.I came off birthcontrol pills 4 years ago and the shedding started then. I am so depressed and ashamed I get hot one minute then cold the next I hardly ever sleep all night unless I take a sleeping pill. I have to see about a daughter with bipolar disorder who is 14 with raging harmones and temper tantrums,and a toddler who was born with a cleft palate and hearing loss.I also suffer with fibromyalgia.I have a normal period every month but suffer with vaginal dryness.I was wondering if a over the counter estrogen pill help me with some of my symptoms along with a magnesieum pill.i already take a multi-vitiamins.’due to vitiamin D definicity.please help me decide on what to do

    • Hi LaRobbie,
      Your best strategy is to improve your insulin sensitivity, so you can try to get your insulin dose down. That will help to reduce testosterone in your body.
      It is possible to improve diabetes by following treatment protocols for insulin resistance. Please see my Insulin Resistance post.

  37. I have been reading through all the comments in hopes to gain some insight on my own hair loss.

    I stopped taking yaz in October 2014…in January 2015, I noticed major shedding on my already thin hair. Handfuls falling out while washing, leaving my scalp visible….I have regular cycles, consume a balanced vegan diet and just began supplementing with a multivitamin, biotin and primrose. Wondering how long the shedding will last from stopping birth control? Recommended dose for biotin? Any suggestions that will help are greatly appreciated. Thank you!

    • Your hair loss started three months after stopping the Pill, which is exactly the typical “time delay” of hair follicles. In other words, your hair loss now is very likely to be temporary — it is telling the story of the change to your hormones back in October. As long as you’ve got your periods back, and you have no other underlying conditions (like thyroid, iron deficiency, or PCOS), then you should be ok. Your hair should come back on its own.

      The one thing I will say: Being vegan puts you at risk for zinc deficiency, so zinc is probably the number one supplement for you to consider. I discuss zinc in my other Hair loss post.

      I don’t recommend biotin.

      • I am really hoping you can help me. I had the Mirena IUD and was not advised of any side effects when having this and stupidly did not do my research. Five months after this I had an instant dramatic hair loss, which seemed to occur overnight. This resulted in my hair covering the table when I blow dried it and even multiple hairs falling out when I sneezed. I now have the classic widening of the part effecting mainly the frontal area of my scalp which had developed within two months of the hair loss starting. I was suspicious that it would be because of the Mirena despite my doctors saying this wouldn’t be the case and had the Mirena removed two months later and stayed off birth control. I thoughT things would improve but they didn’t my hair continued to shed dramatically. A year later I discovered that I had a sensitivity to gluten so gave this up as well. Six months later my shedding slowed down, although I am not sure if this is due to having far less hair!! All in all I am now starting my second year of hair loss. This has caused me a massive amount of anxiety and stress so much so I have even started taking 37.5g of venlaflaxine as my anxiety over this issue has resulted in me not sleeping, and feelings of panic. There is no history of hair loss in my family throughout the genaerations that we can think of and my mum, dad and older sister have full heads of hair. Do I need to accept that this is my future or is there anything that I can do. I don’t want to use rogaine. Please help.

  38. Your posts are wonderful and extremely helpful. Would love for you to share your thoughts on a few herbal solutions for hair loss, specifically Saw Palmetto and Stinging Nettles

    • I am also very interested in this topic and would like to also ask about Evening Primrose and Black Currant Oil. I seemed to have some success with EPO but stopped because I also had some estrogenic symptoms (Sore breasts, bloating). Thanks for any insight you have Laura!

    • Yes, those herbs are mild androgen-blockers (so is mint) but they are only band-aid solutions. It’s so much better to go deeper and treat the underlying reason for hair loss (eg: inflammation, insulin, thyroid, PCOS).

      • Lara — Thank you for this insight. I am hoping you can take this question one step further. I am 43 and for the first time missed having my period. I have been dealing with hair loss for almost 2 years after stopping progesterone cream which I took as I had some symptoms of perimenopause. I have been treating myself, after integrative dr put me back on progesterone (as it was low) during luteal phase and my hair loss continued and became coupled with night sweats. My treatment included Evening Primrose 1300 mg. EPO seemed to be the magic ingredient that made a difference, and my hair loss slowed down considerably. But, after being on it for several months, there was a drastic increase in breast tenderness prior to my period and my menstrual cycle lengthened to 30 days some months. I discontinued EPO this December and switched to a lower dose of Black Currant Oil (500 mg). My hair loss is again increasing and my period has not come this month. I am actively searching for another dr to help but any input you can give regarding Black Currant Oil or EPO affecting menstrual cycles/ovulation would be helpful.

  39. How much magnesium and zinc do you recommend daily? Do you have any studies that tie hair loss to metformin in treating women with pcos? I was always told metformin helps balance androgens so I’m curious on your take. Thanks!

  40. Please everyone, check out the work of Dr Ray a Peat. Also, Danny Roddy. A slight change do diet is all you need to stop your hair loss.

  41. Hi Lara, Thank you so much for all your information. I am a little obsessed with your blog 🙂
    My question for you is about bcp, my period and hair loss. Long story short, I went off the bcp in Feb 2014. I went through a crazy Telogen effluvium which started in April and lasted for about 7-8 months and is finally slowing down but I still feel it is a tad more than what it was before. I am on levothryoxine and just had my levels checked and were in the normal range (1.04). It took me a while to get my period back and now while I do get it, I have spotting for 2-4 days before I have a couple days of a normal period. I keep reading that it could be due to low progesterone levels. Does it just take a while to get my body back to normal? Could I be in early menopause? (I am 39) I am so upset with myself for going on bcp again after having my children 🙁
    Thank you

    • hi Dana,
      I doubt you’re in menopause. You can rule that out with a blood test for FSH.
      Also, it’s worth getting a blood test for progesterone (time it to be day 21 or seven days before your period), and also for thyroid antibodies (to see if you need more support for your thyroid).

      Yes, it can take a while to recover from the pill, but if you’re having regular cycles, then you’re doing pretty well. Your hair should recover.

      • Thank you so much Lara! I really appreciate you responding as this has been a stressful time for me. I will do what you said and have those tests done.
        I am also looking forward to getting your book! I don’t have a kindle so will have to wait a few more days!!!

        • Paperback might be end of February (we’re working on it as fast as we can). You can read the Kindle version on your iPad or tablet (with a Kindle app). The good thing about the Kindle version is that I’ve linked different sections of the book, so it’s easy to click and navigate around.

  42. Hey lara, I stopped taking the pill 15 months ago because it was causing considerable hair thinning. The acne I experienced from getting off the pill eventually went away with the help of dim detox and cutting out dairy, primrose oil helped too. I’ve tried a lot of things to restimulate my hair growth, but so far not any success. I tried a hair and skin supplement from pure Encapsulations for four months, stopped cause i didn’t see anything and it was expensive, similarly I used dragon hair and nails herbal blend for several months, but I have yet to see an improvement with my hair unfortunately 🙁 I very recently started to supplement magnesium, I take 500 mg per day now. Are there any other ideas you have to get my hair from four years ago back?

  43. Ladies, after going through months of heavy shedding, I have turned a corner. I’ve been drinking 1-2 cups of green tea (often with spearmint) and taking 1-2 capsules of turmeric a day. I also supplement with cod liver oil (capsules!!) and chlorella for detoxing. I’ve also been eating a LOT of protein and cutting back on sugar. It is definitely helping!!

  44. Hi Lara. I am a 36 year old woman with hair loss (doctors said it is androgenetic alopecia) that started 3 1/2 years ago. I used 100mg spironolactone + Rogaine for 9 months and it didn’t seem to be doing anything so I stopped. I went to a new dermatologist today who wants to put me on 200mg spironolactone, so I’m glad I found your site before restarting it.

    You say that the best strategy is to get natural estrogen and progesterone going. All my hormones including testosterone are “normal” on the blood test (that’s “normal” according to them, right). Estrogen has been on the lower end of normal on Day 1ish of my cycle…but I have always had a regular menstrual cycle, between 27-30 days (with the odd one maybe once a year being 31-33 days)

    I have had several dark hairs on my chest, chin and ‘side burns’ since age 20, but again, everybody keeps looking at my tests and telling me I’m “normal”.

    I had thought about going on the Pill, but you don’t recommend it, and the stories of women shedding when they start/stop/switch BCP is enough to make me hesitate.

    So, what I can do for hormonal balance if my menstrual cycle is regular? Or do you think this is the situation you describe earlier in the comments (inflammation, intestinal issues, zinc)

    Again, thanks for providing such detailed information.

    • Please make sure that your doctor has tested you for thyroid and insulin resistance. Your day 21 progesterone should be at least 8 ng/mL (25 nmol/L). Also, you should be checked for other male hormones, such as androstenedione.

      If your hormones all are normal, then yes, the problem could be inflammation, intestinal issues and/or zinc deficiency. All of those things make hormone receptors hyper-sensitive to testosterone. In other words, normal testosterone, but symptoms of high testosterone.

  45. Dear Lara,
    I came off the pill (Diane 35) in January 2013. I was put on this pill to “treat” the acne that I developed when i was put on a previous pill. After quitting Diane, I had horrific cystic on my face, some in my back and my scalp. I went through hell for months, but it almost cleared up after I started drinking yarrow tea (progesterone like). Unfortunately, I have ups and downs, and i still have cystic acne around ovulation or my periods. I am not that “lucky” regarding my hair. It has been falling off ever since I came off the pill and now i am even loosing baby hairs…
    I had my ovaries checked: no PCOS
    I will do a trichogram next week.
    I had assumed that if the acne got better (at least partially) i would also see improvement with my hair, but I don’t…
    Do you think it is just a matter of time? I wonder if my body will ever be like it used to or if the pill changed it permanently….
    Thanks for your help!

  46. Hi Dr. Lara,

    I would greatly appreciate you answering a question for me regarding post-pill hair loss. I was diagnosed with PCOS when I was about 15 as I never got a natural period and had signs of excess testosterone (facial hair). I was put on the birth control pill and have been on it ever since (12 years!). Pills have included Alesse and, more recently, Diane 35. Just this past year I started developing migraines with aura and had to stop taking the pill.

    It has now been about 6 weeks since stopping the pill. I have yet to have a period (except the withdrawal bleed directly after stopping) but my main concern is the hair loss. I have noticed a drastic increase in shed in the last 3 weeks or so. I feel like I have lost 50% of my hair (and I have very thin hair to begin with). My question for you is- what do you think the cause of the hair loss is? Doesn’t it usually take 3 months for hair loss to begin? Why has mine happened so quickly? Is this due to the sudden drop in estrogen or is this an androgenic alopecia finally catching up to me now that I’ve stopped the Diane 35? Do you think it will be permanent???

    Thank you so much for your help!

    Blair

  47. I was shedding horribly beginning in June 2014. It has slowed considerably over the last few weeks and my scalp pain/tingling stopped. It was determined that my Ferritin levels were at 12 and should be over 40. I have been taking supplements and injections. This is why I feel that the shedding was stopping. 7 days ago I started taking one pump full a day of Metabolic Maintenance Natural Progeste Cream. Last night I noticed that my scalp was beginning to feel strange again, my neck has started to break out horribly and I lost 15 hairs in the shower. For the last week or so I have lost no hairs or very little. I was losing 300 + at its peak. Could it be the Progesterone cream? I do not want to start heavy shedding again!! Please help.

  48. Hi I have been battling hairless for some time now. A few years ago my was falling out for months and then it stopped when my period returned to normal. About 6 months ago it started again I’m losing so much hair. My period were regular then each month they were coming earlier and earlier each month until last month I had 2 periods. My grandmother had thyroid disease. Could this be what is happening to me? ( My nails grow long but they peel constantly, I have bad problems with sleeping, and sometimes I just get all emotional for boo reason). I’m 22 years old and this is ruining my life. My hair was so beautiful now it’s thin and the whole texture of our had changed to feeling dry when I have not dyed my hair in years because I was letting my natural hair grow out.

  49. Dear Lara,
    My story is quite similar to people here, I prescribed diane 35 and adrocur when I was 20 years old for my acne. It treated my acne very well after using these pills for 3 years my mom started to see extreme shedding and thinning in myhair almost as my scalp is showing. Just at that time I have searched that pills especially diane was extremely dangerous for the body so I stopped.After 4 months my hair shedding got worse and i had acnes everywhere! even in places which i had no acne before.. Then after being tested, it was founded as I have biotin and iron deficiency and PCOS. I also knew that I had hypotiroidism and I was taking euthyrox for six months in the minimum dosage until the PCOS diognosis. Anyways the doctors prescribed me with aldcatone (you may know as spiro) and yasmin. They said that my hair shedding due to stopping birth control pill will stop and I will definitely 100 percent get my hair back. He said I would recover from it.I also have b12 deficiency and I get shots monthly. It has been two months since I am back on birth control pill, yasmin this time and aldactone. I have finished taking two bottles of biotin and ferritin. My hair is still shedding. Do you think my hair will really recover from this treatment and start to grow back? Cause my hair is shedding(less now) and I am seriously depressed about this issue. Please help me…I am going crazy. Is there any alternative like hair planting? Would that work on me??

  50. Hi, Lara
    I just saw this blog about hair loss due to the pill! i wrote on your other blogg post.
    my hair has been falling ever since i got off the pill. Theres times that i have less hair shed and theres times that is a lot. i just went to the Doctor and she wants to get me back on birth control pills. i am really afraid of trying it and go through the same thing or cause my body to shed more hair due to my hormonal changes. but the only problem is that i still need a birth control method? i highly don’t want to do the pills! but at this point i am afraid of trying any method. I feel that whatever method i try is going to trigger my hair to fall out more? what do you recommend for someone in my situation to do? please help!

    P.S thank you so much for this blog post!
    reading peoples stories about the same problem i have
    makes me feel a little relieve i am not alone
    on this battle ;'(

    • My experience with many patients is the best long-term strategy for regaining hair is to stay off the Pill or any hormonal contraception. The best birth control methods are condoms, fertility awareness and the non-hormonal copper IUD (intrauterine device).

      • thank you so much for replying back. after further thinking i decided i am going to try the IUD non- hormonal copper. i really hope you keep us updated with your blogs there so helpful to many women like myself.

        i recently read about your blog that you recommend many of your patients to take Magnesium? do you think for someone like me in my case would benefit if i start to take it? please let me know?

        and again thanks a lot for your suggestion 🙂

      • I went off of the pill about 2 months ago and I am loosing hair left and right. I have read that Minoxidil 2% can help with hair regrow but takes about 3 months to see improvement. Should I start using Minoxidil 2% right away or just try to rid this hair loss out? If I start on the Minoxiidil, how long would I need to keep using it? If I go off of the Mioxidil, does that new hair fall out? I also have very low blood pressure and as I understand it this drug was originally used to help lower blood pressure. Could this be a side effect? If so, it might be dangerous for me.

        • I feel your pain. Mine too has fallen out over 55% in 2 months! I stopped taking loestrine and this was the result. Saw two dermatologists both of whom told me I have AGA. I have NEVER in my life had an issue with my hair, now they tell me I am going bald and it’s genetic triggered by the pill. I’ve spent 1,200 in a month between a hair scientist in two months. I have low iron (anemic but even if your ferritin levels are below 70 to re grow hair is very difficult.) I am choosing to work on getting Iron levels up along with D3 and B which are also low. I don’t know what Lara Briden thinks about having to use Rogaine. I can tell you that if you choose to use it, be ready for a big shed. Your hair will shed more before it stops and grows in. I would not use this until you get complete blood work done. Hormone levels, Testosterone, Progesterone, possibly DHT.. Thyroid, Iron and Ferritin levels. I had the last Dermatologist that i spent 600 on tell me that Iron had NOTHING to do with hair loss.. and that I seemed to believe the holistic person more than him! If you do have any deficiencies my point of view is that Rogain will shed your hair but you might have a hard time growing it back. I have seen success stories with Rogaine and I’ve seen many girls say they lost more hair than they ever grew back. Personally that terrifies me. I was told the pill was safe so my trust level is low. Once you start Rogaine you can’t stop. It’s for life. The hair you grow will fall out again. They also say that IF you do need rogaine you only have a certain window of time.. if the hair follicles get damaged enough the treatment wont work. However, I believe in my heart that I have to try balancing my body first. The natural way will be a much longer route.. My feeling is that when taking the Pill, due to lack of knowledge I traded my hair for this pill which really didn’t do much for me.. what will the Rogaine trade of be.. and will it be worth it? I saw my Endocrinologist yesterday and she seemed to ignore the AGA diagnosis saying that as my hormones settled down it would come back. Get your blood tested for the things I mentioned.. and go from there. I will tell you that any dermatologist is basically going to shove Rogaine and you and be angry if you don’t want to take it. Google hair loss and low iron, D3 etc. You will see that there are compelling studies.

  51. I commented once before here but didn’t receive a reply. I went off Loestrine and my beautiful hair that I have NEVER had one issue with has fallen out. It seems to be continuing to gradually diffuse. I went to see a dermatologist and he did a biopsy, leaving me the results in a message on my phone (!) with the horrible diagnosis of androgenetic alopecia. I have been taking all the supplements suggested here.. it’s been 2 months and the diffuse thinning continues. This diagnosis was like a death sentence. If I had been sobbing for a month I’ve cried twice as hard for the past 10 hours. I don’t see how this is genetic. If I had never taken this pill none of this would have happened to me. Yet I was bullied and bullied by doctors into taking it for problem periods. I do not have thinning at the crown as my diagnosis suggests but at the temples straight back. Now they are telling me that with this diagnosis I MUST start Rogaine or my hair will never have a hope to grow back. I don’t know what to do. My doctor walked out of the room saying “start Rogaine, vitamins will not help you.” I already ruined my hair with the pill. The feeling of violation and distrust with me and doctors right now is very high. I see no doctors that offer anything for Androgenetic Alopeica other than Spiro, Rogaine etc. If I take the Rogaine could I ruin my hair for life? If I don’t take the Rogaine and it never comes back will this also be my fault? How bad is Rogaine for your hair? I have to start this or not, soon. My family is stunned, at how someone with such beautiful hair (My father, uncle, brother and everyone on my moms side have stunning hair. only my fathers father was bald and I don’t know what that was from.) can suddenly look like this and be told they were genetically predisposed to this problem. Any helpful advice would be so greatly appreciated (PS I have hypothyroid but my levels have been perfect all though this.. my blood work otherwise is also very good.)

  52. I should add that the first time I was on progesterone, my hair got thicker and thicker. I went off of it because my primary care dr wanted me to stop taking all supplements/vitamins to try to deal with my stomach issues. When I went back on the progesterone when I was dealing with hair loss, I was also experiencing night sweats and my hormones felt off in a way they did not the first time. Hope this further information helps elucidate ….I appreciate any help you can offer!

    Jennifer

  53. Hi Lara,

    I am 42 years old and have been experiencing hair loss for over a year (since Spring 2013) after I stopped use of progesterone cream (Emerita pro-gest). I was using the cream because I had experienced relentless anxiety, sleeplessness and constipation after giving birth and breastfeeding my three children and was told that the cream could help with those symptoms. During the past year, I have been to every doctor imaginable and had countless blood tests to try remedy the problem without any luck. One doctor prescribed the cream again because my progesterone was low (4.7 ng). Since it did not help after 3-4 months, and I felt my hair loss was still high, I went off of it. I’ve been off since April and still experiencing the problem. I take mag. glycinate 200 mg, evening primrose oil, omega 3 fish oil 500 mg, country life maxi hair and biosil. I recently went back on Vitamin D and iron because I was desperate. The current derm wants a scalp biopsy. The ob will put me on birth control. The integrative dr would like me to be on progesterone cream and dhea supplements (b/d dhea was low) and the primary care tells me to relax it’s TE. My periods are much lighter since being on the progesterone cream. The magnesium glycinate cured my constipation. I could use some direction as I no longer know where to turn and would appreciate any words of wisdom you could impart.

    Jennifer

  54. I’m a 44 year old woman and I’ve been on birth control for the better part of 22 years to help control a bleeding disorder that I have. About 3 months ago I was switched from the oral bc to the Mirena IUD and now I find that I am shedding quite a lot of hair. Is it possible that the switch and change in hormones could be responsible and how long could I expect to be dealing with this. I have to say its very distressing. Thanks for all the information you have provided so far.

  55. Hello,
    I have a hair loss due to the non classic adrenal hyperplasia. My endocrinologist tried me on 2 different Birth control pills that were also supposed to lower levels of DHEA and testosterone. I had terrible side effects from both and had to stop. The endocrinologist is trying to figure out what to try next. But my hair are still falling out and I was wondering if there is anything from herbal supplements that can help. Thank you.

  56. I thought the Pill was causing my hair thinning so I stopped taking it. 18 months later, and the rate of shedding was the same, if not worse. I took Vit D, Biotin, Zinc religiously and in high doses, I tried the various ‘hair/nail/skin’ supplements…nothing.

    Then one day, after deciding I could lose 8 kilos or so, I started supplementing breakfast (and sometimes lunch) with a high quality protein shake from the health food store. Within 1 month, my hair began shedding less. Within 2 months, barely at all. It then dawned on me. Hair needs protein. I was clearly not eating enough protein that entire time.

    Sometimes, the answer is much simpler than we thought. I’m a meat eater so I never thought I would be protein-deficient but there you have it.

    • thank your for sharing Leena.
      Pill-induced hair loss can take a couple of years to reverse. And yes, hair nutrients like protein, zinc and iron are essential during recovery.

      • Hi Dr Briden,

        I just wanted to validate that it can, indeed, take a couple of years to reverse hair loss after starting the pill?

        I discontinued ortho-tri-cycle lo 18 months ago and am still struggling with hair loss and am starting to lose hope. I’ve had my thyroid (and thyroid antibodies), ferritin, vitamin d, hormones (estrogen, testosterone, shbg, etc), ANA panel, fsh, prolactin, AMH, you name it – all normal.

        I also developed an itchy scalp at the same time that has persisted these 18 months (have never had scalp issues in my whole life). This seems to wax and wane with my cycle.

        In terms of my cycle, I snapped back the 1st month after discontinuing the pill, and have a period every 22-30 days, 5-10 days in length. I don’t track ovulation, but I couldn’t have 18 months of heavy annovulatory bleeds, right?

        I just feel like I’ve explored every avenue and am so frustrated! I feel like I should have recovered by now (I do have regrowth, I just keep shedding and losing density – I used to have a TON of hair).

        • You were on the progestin norgestimate, which does suppress androgens. So you could expect some degree of post-Pill loss. Still, 18 months is a long time.

          • Thank you, Dr Briden, I thought 18 months seemed too long as well. I found another Naturopath who is going to do some more in-depth thyroid and hormone testing.

            Before coming off the pill, I had to take progesterone shots during my 3rd pregnancy from weeks 16-36. Once I discontinued those shots, I feel like my body freaked out and hasn’t gone back to normal since (and starting, messing with, and then stopping birth control didn’t help).

            I am so thankful for your book and blogs, as they #1, gave me the knowledge and courage to go off of the pill for good, and #2, have really educated me about my hormones and given me direction as far as what tests and questions to ask.

    • Hi Kim,
      Just as an update, I started taking a really low dose of Nature Throid, just 1/4 grain. It has helped. I’m sleeping better, I’m not as bloated or tired, and my hair loss dropped in half. I’m wondering if I may need a little higher dose. I’m waiting the 6 weeks between Dr. appointments to see how it goes. I dropped my peony / licorice dose to 5 drops once a day – I’m not sure if that’s helping or not. My scalp is much less greasy. I had tests run recently. I’m deficient in A, D, and Zinc, even after supplementing regularly for two years! My estradiol was 125 and progesterone 10.5 on day 17, this is different as I used to be progesterone deficient and high in estrogen. I’m almost sure that this is all related to mercury toxicity. This all started after having 4 old fillings removed without any precautions. The mercury affects the pituitary, adrenals, and thyroid – as I’m removing it with the dmsa, my body keeps changing. Like most of the ladies with hair loss, there is no genetic link with me. There has to be an answer. Our bodies should be able to heal with the correct treatment. I’m praying that it’s not too late for my hair. I’m so thankful for Lara’s advise. I keep needing to address the hormonal issues that are constantly changing and the advice found here has been sound.

  57. Hi Lara,

    Well, I started experiencing new symptoms along with an increase in my chronic hair loss. I’ve started putting on weight, even though I don’t eat much and only organic / gluten free / dairy free and lots of veggies. I also exercise aerobically for at least 30 minutes every day (often more on a bike ride). My face is swollen every morning, I’m tired all day but wake up at night, and then can’t sleep all night. I’m cold even when it’s warm and often get chills at night. So, I thought that I better get my thyroid tested. My free t3 was at 2.3 on a scale of 2.2-4.0. Free T4 was at the low end also, but not as low. TSH was very normal – 1.2. I’m on dmsa chelation therapy for mercury toxicity and figure that that has some play in it. My doctor wants me to take 1/4 grain of natural thyroid hormone. I’m afraid to because a year ago another doctor gave me a thyroid booster (Thyrostim by Biotics) and the result was massive hair loss sweating and days of no sleep. Would you recommend thyroid hormone when I’m still in range? I’ve been on selenium for over a year to try to up the conversion of T4 to T3 – it’s not working. The weight is steadily going up and my shedding has dramatically increased. I need to do something.

  58. Hi everyone, I just wanted to share my experience because it might help some people. I started the pill when I was 17, took a few breaks here and there for a month or so, but stayed on it until I was 29. I started losing my hair midway through college and didn’t notice it much until I got older and realized my ponytail was very thin. I thought it was because of the pill so I got off of it this January, had a non-hormonal IUD inserted and was still losing a ton of hair. I went to my doctor, had all my hormone levels checked, and he said everything looked fine. He did say that my scalp looked very dry and referred me to a dermatologist. My scalp is very dry and itchy and I’ve tried hair/scalp masks, home remedies like coconut oil/rosemary oil treatments, and nothing worked. I went to my dermatologist about 2 weeks ago. She took one look at my scalp and told me I have seborrheic dermatitis, a scalp condition that leaves it very dry and itchy, similar to dandruff. It caused my hair to fall out because the dryness in my scalp couldn’t support the hair follicles. It’s a chronic, inherited condition, so it’ll never go away, and it usually develops in your 20s, which is exactly when my hair loss started happening. So now I need to use a prescription shampoo 3 times a week for 2 weeks, and a prescription scalp lotion twice a day for 2 weeks. My hair is already starting to grow back and I’ve noticed I lose a lot less of it in the shower. It probably won’t look the same as it did as a teenager, but I’m happy it’s going back to normal for the most part.

    I wish I had known about this sooner. I don’t know why I waited so long to see my doctor about it. I hope everyone here makes an appointment and gets tests done before trying to solve it yourself like I did. I spent a lot of my time researching and stressing and trying millions of different remedies and all of it was a waste of time. Your doctor may be able to help more than you think!

  59. Hello Lara!
    First I would like to apologize for my English since I am not a native speaker. I have been reading your posts on this topic with great interest since I am a long-run hair loss sufferer (I’m 35 and started losing my hair at 18 years old). My story goes as follows: my hair was always very dense and strong and when I turned 18 it suddenly started to fall out like crazy and returned very thin. From that point on it never recovered on its own. Since I don´t have any bald women in my family, It never occurred to me that this would be a permanent problem and attributed it to stress caused by the intense study period of exams to ingress in college. However, my hair changed so dramatically that I decided to consult an endocrinologist. Without asking for any exams, this doctor told me that my problem was probably due to an excess of androgens and put me on Diane35 + Androcur. I took the medication as told but after a year decided to stop with the Androcur and continue with Diane35. Truth be told, my hair got beautiful, healthy and long for about 2 years. However, in my last year of college (4 years after starting Diane35) my hair began to thin out once again. Again, I attributed it to ending college and hoped that it would resolve as soon as I was less anxious. At that point I took some vitamins for hair and they worked quite well. The only problem was that I couldn’t stop taking them and in the long run by body “got used” to it and the effect would cease. Since I didn’t know what to do anymore, and being taking Diane35 for 10 years already, I consulted a dermatologist. At this point I was already an obvious case of alopecia with parts of my scalp showing at the top of my head. The doctor examined me and told me I had androgenetic alopecia and the best he could do was try to stop further hair loss. He changed me from Diane35 to Valette, since Diane had many secondary effects and put me on Androcur again. I took this medication for another year but the result was close to zero. My shedding was insignificant but it was normal before the medication anyway and my hair didn’t even get a little thicker. At this point I was becoming very tired and hopeless with this problem and decided as a last resource to try a tricologist. During my appointment I was told to continue with the pill Valette and in addition take spironolactone 100 mg/day and apply minoxidil 5% once a day. I did as I was told for a full year and surprisingly my hair fully recovered! I was finally with the same hair that I always had until my problems started. However, 1 year later, spironolactone secondary effects started to really bother me, I was always tired and dizzy so I decided to stop taking it. Anyway, the minoxidil by itself was still doing a good enough job so I carried on just with it and the pill. Two years later I made the bad decision of trying another brand of minoxidil and had an allergy that never went away, even when I went back on the older brand. Having to stop minoxidil was one of the most traumatizing experiences of this entire story since it caused me the biggest and scariest shedding of my life and I was left with very little hair to cover the top of my head for almost year. Now, I have recovered to my basal levels of before starting minoxidil and take hair vitamins no give the illusion of a good enough density. The problem is, now I would like to stop the pill for two reasons: one, to recover from the multiple gynecological problems that I have been suffering from such as vaginal dryness and infections and two, to possibly get pregnant after my wedding, which will be in September of this year. I stopped the pill almost one month ago and am already feeling much better; the problem is that my hair is already falling more. The only thing that I’m doing to help at the moment is taking the Inneov Densilogy capsules in hopes that it will diminish the shedding. However, I would be very grateful to have your insight on what is the best approach to avoid a major shedding from stopping the pill and perhaps also a post-partum shedding.
    Thank you for listening and for caring!
    Ana

  60. Excellent review! There are always articles written on which vitamins and minerals to take but so few realize the important role of hormones. I also had no idea the pill could cause hair loss and do years of damage to the follicle, thank you for this really great and informative piece.

  61. Hi Lana,

    Thank you so much for trying to help us all.

    I started taking the pill in 2009 when I was 26, after I developed very bad acne almost overnight which seemed to get better after every period but then get worse again when my periods would approach (I think this may have been PCOS, though I am not sure). This was crippling my confidence so I went on the pill – Cilest. And it did clear my skin up quite well.

    I decided to come off the pill in 2012 though – and when I did, approximately 3-4 months after, ALOT of my hair started falling out. After 2 months of this, I panicked and went back on the pill.

    I really regret that decision – while my hair shedding became minimal after getting back on the pill, it never regained it’s ‘pre-hairloss’ or even it’s natural density before starting Cilest. My hair was always a big part of my identity so this was pretty upsetting.

    I want to come off the pill for good now. I feel it’s unhealthy and feel almost physically ill every time I have to take it. I’m just pretty terrified of the hairloss which might accompany it. I’ve kind of given up on the prospect of my natural hair thickness returning (is there any chance of this?) but I don’t want to lose any more.

    Is there anything I can do to ensure that there is no major shedding that you know of? I’m thinking about starting myo-inositol while still taking the pill for a couple of months, cutting down on carbs, taking a multi vitamin and then stopping the pill?

    Alternatively, I have been considering the prospect of weaning myself off the pill – having 2/3 of every pill for a month, then 1/2 of every pill, 1/4, then cold turkey but I worry this way may have adverse, long term effects on my body.

    I’m also very worried about the acne possibly coming back in full force.

    I’m sorry for the long post Lara. Any help you could give would be really appreciated.

    Many, many thanks,

    Lou

  62. My daughter is 22 and her hair has been thinning for several years. She has been on birth control since 16 due to excess facial hair and irregular periods. She has never been diagnosed with PCOS although I have always suspected. She tried going off the birth control but her acne and facial hair came back so she got back on birth control last Fall. She is very upset about her hair loss and it is becoming noticable, although I don’t point it out to her. What should her next course of action be? More protein in her diet, bioten, hair growth products? I just don’t know where she should start. She had been taking Biotin but didn’t notice a difference. She is very depressed about it.

    • OMG Jaimie, it is so difficult especially for young girls! The worst that can happen to them, related to their appearance! My niece who is 26 has hair loss, facial hair growth, acne, and she did take the pills for a few months, but got off them, since her hair loss started once she got on them, These drugs are terrible and the doctors have no solution to offer:( We are all afraid about her mental well-being, because she is depressed, terribly stressed out and it affects all the family!! She is taking homeopathic remedies, seem to help somewhat.

      • Thank you for responding, Jackie. Do you mind me asking what homeopathic remedies are working for her? This forum is great but their are so many varying ideas. I don’t know which path for her to take. I am going to take her back to the Dr. to rule out a thyroid problem and PCOS although she was tested in her teens and both tests came back normal. I will keep your neice in my thoughts.

        • Is your daughter overweight? My niece is not, but rather thin, and has also ruled out LOCAH, they were suspicious of that also. Don’t know exactly really what homeopathic remedies she is taking, but I know she stopped the pill, and while on it, also , her periods came, because it was very irregular, and now still has them, but still has these other symptoms. She needs to do all tests and then maybe try out natural herbs and alternatives, Laura has some suggestions on this site PCOS, if she is not overweight might be type 2, like my niece! Hoping for the best!

        • You’re daughter sounds like me 🙁 my hair started thining around 18 I am now 31. I have very thin hair all over and just started getting tests done this past year. You should make sure the doctor checks ferritin levels as well as iron. If iron comes back fine but ferritin is low she isn’t absorbing her iron. I’ve ruled out thyroid, food sensitivities, iron and ferritin also vitamin b deficiency. I’ve been taking biotin, calcium zinc hair skin and nail pills and have finally noticed new baby hairs on my hairline 🙂 but what I honestly think is working is massaging my scalp with a mix of coconut oil and castor oil, I swear it’s making my hair thicker. Read reviews on it and give it a try. I blame birth control on mine I really do. I’m off of it now and plan on staying off it forever! Coming off of it after being on it for 10+ years was a horrible experience. Made me have depression and anxiety for a good month. I wear a lot of cute hats now but hope that I won’t have to soon. I feel for your daughter it’s a horrible thing. Constantly worrying and stressing about takes over. Try biotin and castor oil for a few months I think she might get the boost she needs.

  63. Hi Lara,

    Thank you so much for this post! I appear to have male-pattern hair loss/baldness (despite being female) and was hoping for your suggestions…

    I was diagnosed with PCOS at 16 due to highly irregular periods and mild hirsutism. I subsequently started on Seasonique, a low-dose Pill, to regulate my periods, and spironolactone, to help somewhat with the hair growth. I stopped taking them last year, at 21, because of an insurance issue. I tried to wean myself off them, but went through a nasty period of spironolactone withdrawal in June (breast tenderness and discharge, etc) after which I thought the worst of it was behind me. My periods seem to have evened out to between 32 and 42 days apart. I’ve noticed the excess body hair returning, but I haven’t put any effort into managing that. Then, last fall, I started noticing a LOT of hair falling out, way more than normal or in past years of shedding (and I had very long hair, so it was extremely noticeable). But I assumed it was from stress combined with normal hair loss, because last fall was a highly stressful period for me. I also had acne flare-ups, including really painful acne patches on my scalp, of all places.

    However, this spring, not only has the acne continued (albeit more on my face and body, not so much on my scalp), but I noticed that I’m specifically still losing a *lot* of hair at my temples and the front of my hairline. My hair used to be the one part of my body that I liked, so you can imagine that this is really distressing for me. My total hair amount has decreased by at least half in terms of volume, and the hair at my temples and hairline is noticeably sparser and short/frizzy (moreso than ever resulted from flyaways/ponytail use in the past). It’s also much thinner in shaft diameter than even my normal fragile thin-shaft hair. I went to the doctor and they combed through my hair for bald patches and told me nothing was wrong with me, but I *know* that’s not true, because I’m not losing hair that has finished growing – instead, when I run my fingers through my hair, I consistently come away with 3-5 tiny baby-fine hairs that are between 1.5 cm to 4″ long, especially from my temples. That hair either has no bulb, or it has a relatively giant chunk of white dermal something-or-other attached to it (not a typical hair bulb, too large). I’m not pulling it out, it’s just coming out, and in all my life I’ve never seen this happen to my hair before. I’m really concerned that my hair is never going to grow back at this rate, but I really want to know *why* this is happening/what condition it is so I can stop it and perhaps (please cross your fingers) reverse it.

    Please help. I’ve done extensive Googling but can’t seem to get an answer for what exactly is happening or whether my hair will ever come back, nor how to manage it. But your page/article here is the most helpful page I’ve found so far. I never changed my (somewhat unhealthy) diet through all of this, so a diet change wouldn’t be the cause, and I don’t do anything to my hair (don’t blow dry, don’t flat-iron, don’t curl, don’t use products beyond shampoo and conditioner). I really hope to hear from you or one of your helpful readers.

    • Hi Miri, it sounds like what you are going through is really tough 🙁 I feel for you. You may want to look into natural estrogenic supplements (fennel, fenugreek, lavender, etc) they are inexpensive and relatively safe. Also supplements that block androgens, like saw palmetto, turmeric, green tea, and coconut oil. Lately, I have been applying saw palmetto oil right onto my scalp and so far I seem to be having good results. Also, you didn’t mention your weight but I’ve heard staying in the healthy range helps with P.C.O.s. You may want to limit meat and eat more fruit and veggies. Meat in the diet can elevate testosterone levels as well. Cardio exercise should help as well. I don’t know what your current situation is with your insurance but you may want to get your hormone levels checked. If you can get them back where they should be, hopefully all the hair will grow back.

      • Hi Sierra,
        this is a very old post so, you may not get this. I was wondering what brand/dosage of topical saw palmetto you use and where you purchase it? How is your hair now?

        Thank you!

        • Chelsea, I finally turned a corner after trying many things and losing much of my hair. For me it can down to the fact that I was deficient in vitamin d and iron. I take 10,000 iu of vitamin D plus Solgers chelated iron. My hair loss finally stopped. I don’t use saw Palmetto but I take turmeric everyday. I usually take my vitamins with a green drink, and that has helped too. Getting adequate vitamin D helps with so many things. I can’t recommend it enough.

          • Is there a reason you discontinued the topical saw palmetto? My ferritin is very low and my vitamin D is on the low side. I have been using the liquid Floradix iron (gluten free formula) and a Vit D3 supplement. How long did it take to get your iron and vit D levels up and begin to see regrowth? I am not sure if you have said in earlier posts, but what exactly is your dx (type of PCOS/ thyroid etc.)? Each person will respond to treatments differently, but it helps to hear experiences of what helps others. Thank you for replying and yay for your hair!

          • Chelsea, you sound very similar to me. I just got tired of putting junk on my hair, honestly. From I remember the saw palmetto made me feel weird. I was taking iron and 2,000 iu’s of Vit. D. a day and a blood test revealed my levels were STILL low. I started taking 10,000 iu’s of D a day and that seemed to make a big difference. I take my iron every day and eat more beef and beans. I had elevated ana nuclear antibodies and auto-immune and thyroid problems are huge in my family. I also have to avoid gluten- along with carageenan, soy lecithin, and nitrates.
            When I started taking the higher dose of D I would say within a month my hair completely stopped falling out. Also, the redness on my nose bridge (lupus rash) cleared up. Basically a miracle since I’ve had both problems since I was 14.
            I do scalp massages and my hair is growing more. I am seeing some new baby hairs. I am just happy for time being the hair on my head is staying put!
            Best wishes Chelsea, please let me know how you and your hair are doing!

  64. I am a nurse and have many of the same problems and am also addressing my options. One of the diseases that came to mind while reading your co1mments was hemocromatosis. This is the disease that causes iron to be stored in organs where it shouldn’t be.It causes an abnormal ferritin level with normal iron blood levels.You may also display high hemoglobin as well as harmone problems causing hair loss according to how much iron has accumulated in the wrong places.All the treatments you have talked about,would not help this problem.It is very very hard to detect this disease and it is very important that you detect it as early as possible.A regular GP might not be the best option to detect this disease.You might want to consult a hemmatopigist. I am not a physician,but I believe in consulting the great physician.Hope this helps someone or just helps you be more informed.

  65. Hi Sierra, I also have low BP and had dizziness on rogaine and have the same temple, hairline desperation, although it is thinning all over as well. At first I thought it might be the shock of exercise that did, but in the two years since, it has not improved at all. So I think it has more to do with the exercise changing my hormones to be more sensitive to androgens. It’s just a theory, but I would like to try the topical blend of Progesterone and SP to see if that works, as I can’t tolerate P in a stronger form. I called the compounding pharmacy in Santa Monica and with a prescription, they sell a solution of 15 or 20mg P with 1% SP, so I will let you know if it works!

  66. Tracey, I agree about the risk of using it. I waited until I was done breastfeeding my last child before I used T-gel. I’m just getting a bit desperate because my temples are bald and my hair is getting so thin….Also, I’m finding I can’t really use women’s rogaine. I already have low b.p. and when I use it I get dizzy and have heart palpitations. I was actually considering making my own concoction to put on my scalp with Saw Palmetto w/o any of the harmful chemicals. I’ve tried taking a supplement with saw palmetto in it and it just messes with my blood sugar too much. Don’t give up, there has to be a way to reverse this. 🙂 I think the relation to hormones might be more complex than we realize. I started ‘shedding’ during puberty when I’m sure my estrogen levels were fairly high. I also shed through my last two pregnancies (I’ve had three) and estrogen is sky-high through pregnancy. I also kept shedding during breastfeeding when estrogen levels are naturally low. I do think my shedding is hormonally related though, because it seems to be set off by any change in them. I believe my problem (like Dr. Lara said) is that my scalp is just TOO sensitive to androgens and DHT.
    It sounds like your hair loss was triggered by the stress/shock of the workout program. It may take time, but I think you should really bounce back. I talked to other women who experienced shedding after some stressing event, and it takes time, but the hair does grow back.

  67. Sierra, you’re so helpful, thank you for taking the time! I considered trying the tar shampoo, but because I’m very sensitive to products, I didn’t like all the bad ingredients in them, especially the tar which is a known carcinogen, in higher quantities granted, but I just didn’t want to take the chance. I too am interested in the low body fat connection. I think I was always low in estrogen being athletic, so I hit rock bottom in menopause and had to take Estradiol to counteract foggy thinking, lethargy and depression, which helped tremendously. But my hair was fine until I started rigorously exercising (BTW, just to regain lost muscle tone and not to lose weight), which may have increased androgens, thus causing the hair loss. I hoped it was just a shock to my system and would bounce back, but it’s only getting worse. A UCLA hair doctor told me I had Male Pattern Baldness and there’s nothing I can do, but I’ve heard of some doctors prescribing a hair serum for women from a compounding pharmacy of natural low dose progesterone and saw palmetto to counter DHT buildup that you can apply topically and avoid taking it orally. I was hoping Dr. Briden has some insight into all this, as she is so forward thinking in all her hormone discussions.

  68. Tracey, best wishes, it sounds like you are doing everything right. In addition, you may want to try a DHT-inhibiting shampoo. T-gel coal tar shampoo has helped me as well as mirad for thinning hair. I alternate using them so they don’t lose effectiveness. I also rub lavender oil into my scalp before bed.
    Congratulatons on your weight loss/getting into shape. I also workout pretty hard and frequently and am lean (5’5″ about 113 too) and I wonder if there is a correlation between low body fat and lowered estrogen. I have also been cutting back on workouts in the hopes I can thicken my hair.

  69. I had long frizzy and almost damaged hair, after I had my son I was constantly losing my hair! I was in tears and so upset! I couldn’t take any vitamins since I was breastfeeding so I wanted something natural. I only used the Shielo Volumizing Shampoo 3 times and my hair completely stopped falling! Feels and looks so healthy, shinny and strong! It was so strong that I decided it was ready for some color so I dyed it and it looks awesome! The good thing is the Shielo products are known for also protecting hair color, while not having any harmful chemicals. It will solve all your pregnancy hair problems!

  70. Hi Sierra,

    No, I hadn’t, but I looked up high or low stomach acid symptoms and I don’t have any of them. I’ve never had any stomach or digestive issues that i know of. I eat very healthy, organic, non-GMO, no gluten or dairy. But I do eat a lot of lemons though and often wondered if it affected stomach acid, but from what I can tell, it turns alkaline when it hits the stomach. But I always have, so I don’t think that’s what caused the drastic change.

  71. Hi Lara,

    Such a fabulous blog! I’ve been experiencing overall hair loss for two years, especially at my temples and part. I’ve had beautiful long hair my whole life, but it literally started falling out 3 mo. after I really amped up my workouts, gained muscle and lost 10% of my body fat (measured at the gym). I felt great, toned and strong, but sadly cut back on workouts and still losing a lot of hair. I’m 64, post-menopausal, have taken low dose unopposed estradiol, .5 a day for 15 yrs., ie no progesterone which I couldn’t tolerate long term in any dose, 25mg pill or 2% cream. I get a yearly ultrasound to check for lining increase, no problems, as I think I’ve always had low estrogen. My thyroid, ferritin and DHEA are all low normal but my D is low and I might be low weight, 5’3″, 113 lbs. At my age my est/prog. are naturally low, probably made worse by the body fat loss, where estrogen is stored. I will try all the mentioned recommendations to lower DHT, more D, magnesium, saw palmetto, increase my E and even progesterone cream, which usually makes me very irritable, but is there also something topical to try on my scale? All suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

  72. What if you were diagnosed with “androgenetic alopecia”… aka female pattern hairloss. Is a person who was diagnosed with that exempt from all the other possible options?

    • Androgenetic or androgenic simply means that it is female hair loss presumed to be caused by testosterone (androgens) (as I discuss in section 2) or birth control Pills with what they call a ‘high androgen index’. High androgen index means that the progestin part of the Pill is one that causes hair loss (as I discuss in section 1.)
      If you have androgenic hair loss, but it is not caused by Pill or high testosterone on blood test, then you are not alone. Many women seem to have hair-follicles that over-react to a normal level of androgen. I am starting to understand that that is usually the result of chronic inflammation, problems with intestinal bacteria, zinc deficiency, and/or high-sugar diet.

      • Thanks so much, Dr. Briden. I think I will go get my hormone levels checked. I was the oddball that actually lost a lot of hair through my last two pregnancies. Plus a slow thinning since puberty age. I now, at only 27, have very thin hair and balding temples. I also have gut issues (gluten intolerance) and have had thyroid issues. My mother is healthy and has very thick hair. I guess I got some unfortunate genes somewhere!

        • Hi Lara,
          In response to your comments about androgenic hair loss with normal testosterone and no Pill usage being possibly related to intestinal bacteria, inflammation, and sugar consumption; I just found out through a stool culture that I had 3 types of pathogenic bacteria in my intestines. I also have a high rheumatoid factor, and was insulin resistant. I’ve controlled the insulin resistance through diet and myo-inositol; my doctor put me on an antibiotic called Xifaxan for the bacteria, but my hair is still falling out worse than ever, and I don’t know what to do about inflammation. I take a good fish oil pill and have tried turmeric (which makes my scalp burn and my hair loss increase). I’ve also tried saw palmetto which also seemed to increase hair loss……Probiotics cause the burn to increase in my face and scalp as well, which is my precursor to a shed. Any ideas on what to do about inflammation? Also, would 10 days on Xifaxan have gotten rid of the bacteria?

  73. Hi Lara,

    Thank you for writing this article it has been helpful as I have been researching a lot about hair loss in association with hormones, specifically natural progesterone cream use. I have endometriosis, and I just had my second lapraoscopy this past November. I am 26 years old…I have never done well with birth control and rarely took them since I have severe side effects and reactions to them, they are horrible. I switched doctors a few times because I felt no one was trying to get to the root of my problem, I was in severe pain the last two years and not until my last doctor did they find my ovaries were fused to my uterus and lots of scar tissue was present. The doctor before had me on the Ortho Evra patch I was on from May of 2013 to October of 2013 before I met this doctor that found the real problem and told me to get off of it, I hated it anyway. Since then, I was found to have Hashimoto’s and low ferritin levels. Post surgery this past November my new doctor put me on progesterone natural cream to see if that would help without too harsh of a hormone like a pill or IUD.Ive been on since my December cycle, and since then I have lost half of the volume of my hair, my hair is receding and creating bald spots on my crown and sides of my hair, and I’ve lost half of my pony tail when I put my hair up. It’s so depressing, I can’t imagine why this is happening to me. I even take half of the recommneded dose of the cream they gave me. Do you believe it to be the hormone? I don’t know what to do at this point ,my hair is still falling out. Thank you for any help or advice you can give me, I can’t handle all this anymore.

  74. Hi Lara, I realise this thread is relatively old but I’ve come across it and sounds like just what I need! I started on the pill (levlen ED) in March 2012 as I have incredibly bad cramps that make me pass out and have other associated symptoms. I never had issues with hair loss that year But In February 2013 I was suffering a lot of nausea and thought it was because of my pill so I asked my doctor to switch I a different one, she suggested Yaz. I took that for one month and then switched back to levlen ED. In about may I notice my hair was so mic thinner that what it used to be. I don’t have any bald spots or anything just a loss over the whole scalp, and it feels as if the texture of my hair has changed too! I have a gluten intolerance I discovered after so my switching was completely unnecessary unfortunately. My doctors don’t believe me that I’m losing hair just because I don’t have bald spots, so frustrating. I just want to know if you think the switch is what caused it and if it will ever go back to normal on its own without going off the pill? Please any advice you could give would be so greatly appreciated I’m so tired of people dismissing it as not caused by the pill! Thankyou 🙂

  75. Hi Lara,

    I have been losing hair for 5 years now. My period comes exactly between 26-28 days. During the 5 years of hair loss it has never been off. I had iron issues that are fixed now. I have thyroid and adernal issues. Horrible insomnia. Labs show I have low Pregnenolone, DHEA, testoterone and progesterone. I have 2% progesterone cream and 50mgs pills. Could you help me understand how much I should take and when? I don’t trust my doctors anymore. Also I have horrible PMS. At this point I wear a wig because the hair loss is so bad. It has never slowed in 5 years and that just seems so strange. There is also no pattern and biopsy of scalp showed no signs of a problem excet TE. I have never taken BC either. I do feel it is stress. Saliva test showed all lows.
    Thank you

    • Hi CD,
      I’ve had a lot of the same issues and I also have some food intolerances. Do you have any digestion issues? I know some people with celiac’s disease go undiagnosed because they may not having all the classic symptoms. You may want to play around with your diet. I try to eat a healthy, unprocessed, anti-inflammatory diet. I notice my insomnia/exhaustion gets worse when I eat things I shouldn’t- like sugar and grains. I think it all (stress, food intolerance, exhaustion, inflammation, etc) contribute to the hair loss.
      Best wishes,
      Sierra

      • Thanks Sierra,
        I wish it was diet that was the issue. I eat clean. I also have done every diet regardless of the fact that I show no issues with any foods at this time. I had some tolerance issues and tested again and they were gone. On a food list of what I should eat gluten is on there. A long with corn gluten. Crazy ….right! I have had over $160,000 in medical testing and treatment. I don’t eat gluten, corn or soy. Some dairy here and there. I do believe I still have guy issues but I don’t know what more I can do. 🙁

        • Careyy- have you tried kombucha? It had been helpful with my gut issues. Also, the author of this article mentioned taking coconut oil and turmeric. They block the conversion of testosterone to D.H.T. And are also helpful with gut issues. I also use neutrogena T-gel coal tar shampoo and murad, which help show down thinning. I also think it had a hereditary component as well. My sisters have also dealt with some hair loss.

          • Sierra,
            For about a year I made my own Kombucha and now I make Keifer water. I drink BioK plus as well. I was on Nyastain for 3 months a while back even though throughh testing I show no yeast issues. My issues are stress, insomnia and a compromised immune system. The LDN has helpe immune system and most of my pain. I still have flare ups. I sever pain each moth from scar tissue left by and ablation. Progesterone helps with that issue , not sure why. My pms is so bad I could die. Last month I just started to use my pills and cream and I felt amazing. No rage ,Crying , cramps and it even helped with energy and Fibro pain. Just want some good advice on taking progesterone. Also I did take it nonstop for 3 months and just took a break. I was at day 4 off and lost more hair than I have seen over the 5 years. I was at 50mgs pills 1-15 and 100mgs pills 14-28. Now my E is through the roof. So I’m taking 100 days 1-14 and 200 days 15-28. I can’t even function daily because I have so much anxiety and anger. The progesterone seems to be helping. I fought for years not to take it because I feared it would make hair loss worse. Now that I wear a wig I just need better quality of life. I’m a hair stylist and I have used all the hair loss products. By far Nizoral is amazing. It’s known for blocking androgens kn the scalp. I don’t know how I could have androgens since my T is almost 0 along with DHEA. 🙁 sighhh
            Thank you.

          • Sierra,
            I forgot to share that I have had genetic testing and I can’t take tumeric. It is a methyl doner and I can not properly methylate due COMT and MTHFR mutations. My whole body starts to hurt and my stomach really hurts. I try to take methyl products in very small doses so I can hopefully have some detoxing. I’m getting and infer red sauna soon the hopefully help with my inability to detox.
            My doctors says I’m the worst she has ever seen genetically. I also have MaOA which is why I also have rage issues. It’s all just a big giant mess that I exhausted dealing with. Trying to just focus on the one thing that brought some relief.
            CD

      • Hi CD,
        I have all of your symptoms as well as the normal to low hormone test results, although I have other symptoms such as heart palpitations, numb extremities, chronic fatigue, IBS, and brain fog to name a few. I also have a positive rheumatoid factor test and elevated hemaglobin and calcium. My doctors have finally determined that I have mercury poisoning. I had four old fillings removed around the time this all started. I’m starting chelation in a couple of weeks. I’m assuming that the hair loss will get worse, as it accelerates every time I use a natural chelator or detox. I’ve set up an appointment to try on wigs. Have you been tested for heavy metal toxicity? Hair and blood tests are usually negative as mercury settles deep in the tissues (including the brain). The only somewhat reliable test is a urine challenge test, which can be dangerous if you have a high load of mercury. It’s another direction to look in anyway. I know how horrible and frustrating this is. It’s consumed my life for the past two years. We’ve spent over $20,000 on my health so far, and it’s not over yet. I’ve had to quit my job and we are losing our home. You are not alone. My thoughts and prayers are with you and with all the ladies who are suffering with this hellish condition.
        Don’t give up – together we may be able to figure this all out yet.

        • Thanks Jess,
          I have appositive ANA but don’t hit on anything yet! I take LDN for chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. I have had 2 urine heavy metal tests and both were negative. I have one filling that is metal. It would have been to long for me to write all that’s wrong with me. I take thyroid meds , Erfa and name brand T3. I believe very much in taking T3 to heal adrenals because I did it years ago and many things got better for me. I’m a naturally stressed out person. I really think if I could just be in a bubble for a year things would get better. I do detoxes all the time and they don’t seem to excelerate my hair loss since it is nonstop anyway. I do coffee enemas for my liver. Take bioplasam for minerals. Drink ph water. I have my tubes tied and I have had an ablation. I feel that I have lost tubal ligation syndrome. You should check into LDN for the arthritis.
          Take care. 🙂

          • hi again Careyy,
            When you did the urine tests for heavy metal, did they give you a shot of DMSA first? Thats called a mercury urine challenge test – the shot pulls a lot of mercury out of the tissues into the blood and then it gets filtered out through the urine. That’s the only test that is somewhat accurate. I had negative regular urine tests at my Chiropracter’s office. Not to beat on the metal thing, but like you, I’ve exhausted every other avenue. I also had an endometrial ablasion due to extremely low ferritin levels from heavy periods. Ferritin was low, but hemaglobin was over the top. Any product that mobilizes mercury in me: cilantro, NAC, Kelp, ALA, causes severe burning in my head and bad neurological symptoms as well as the massive hair loss. I noticed above that you can’t handle turmeric, I can’t either. How did you find out that you can’t properly methylate? What can we do about that? also, where did you get your wig?
            I’m going to start low dose chelation with DMSA. If I get good results, I’ll let you know.

          • Jess,
            No I have not had heavy metal testing done that way. I will ask my doctor. I juice fast a lot and use cilatro in almost everything. I’ve also taken cilantro in drops and never felt anything. Doc have me cheating type stuff and didn’t feel anything from that either. I generally don’t feel very good most of the time so maybe I did have a reaction and just chalked it up to just another day. I had gentic texting done but you can ask your doctor to just run MTHFR and COMT. My body is slow to metabolize drugs and toxins. Even coffee.
            My wigs are from Milano in L.A.
            I have seen a doctor who does IV chelation and he wanted to that to me early on in this journey. Thankfully I said no. I have read about people’s adrenals fully crashing from doing that. I did vitamin IVs for a while but that wasn’t fun at all. I can’t see your message as I type so I’m sorry if I forgot to answer anything. Please do let me know how things turn out. I know for things got bad when my tubes were tied. Thyroid. Sex hormones. Forgetful as all hell!!!! No sleep , no sex drive. No hair!!!! Thyroid meds relive a lot of things I wouldn’t have imagined like my feet hurting 24/7. My depression and OCD get so much better. Again there I am also a terrible converter from T4 to T3. That’s why I take T3. My body is so difficult. I will look into the proper heavy metal testing for sure.
            Thank you.

          • Careyy, you sound exactly like me! I don’t know if I can put my email address on here, but if you could get it from Lara, I’d love to talk to you. IV chelation can be dangerous. I’m following the Andy Cutler protocol using low dose oral chelation. If you google it, you’ll come up with a wealth of info. I’m looking into a design by Flora wig – she’s a sheitel maker out of New Jersey. My thyroid levels are all normal, but I have hypothyroid symptoms. I’ve been told that I may not convert t4 to t3.

          • How do I get your email from Lara? If you know how than get mine. I can add you to a wig review FB group. Those women know there stuff. Lots of Flora owners on there. The women are so sweet and kind. They always help and answer questions. It’s one of the best bunch of ladies I have found.

  76. Hi Lara,

    Interesting to hear that damage done by the pill is cumulative. I was on the pill for 4 years, and my hair get gradually thinner during that time. I’m not sure if the pill definitely caused my thinning but I stopped taking it completely about 10 months ago. My hair has continued to get gradually thinner during that time. I have had thyriod and iron tests which have come back normal, and am awaiting results of hormone tests. Do you think it’s possible that the pill could still be affecting my hair?

    Secondly, my thyroid function test showed that my T4 level was normal but my TSH was just out of range at 0.28. Would this have an effect on hair loss? I am struggling to get a straight answer from my GP!

    Thanks
    JR

  77. Hi there,
    I am wondering if anyone has experienced loss of only eyebrows from hormonal issues, not loss of hair from the scalp. I was on the depo injection for a very long time, and finally decided to switch off to the pill, not really knowing I was only trading one evil for another. Very quickly after switching, my eyebrows and eyelashes started thinning, eventually resulting in complete loss of my eyebrows. My lashes sort of came back, although still a bit sparse. I stuck with the pill for about 7 months, but nothing changed. The only effect on hair on my scalp, was the loss of the fine baby hair right at my temples. Thinking I should reverse the change, I went back on the depo for about 6 months, before making the smart decision to go off ALL hormonal bc. I have had thyroid, iron/anemia, and some hormone tests done, and all are normal. None of the doctors I have seen, (GP, obgyn, derm, endocrinologist) believe the bc could have caused this. My cycle is just coming back to normal, but I am starting to wonder if I will ever get my eyebrows back. Has anyone experienced this, or had any luck with treatment?

  78. Hi Lara,
    I wanted to follow up. I finally ovulated this month after 6 months on myo-inositol. I had my hormones tested and everything was good, including progesterone. I’m so thankful that I found you’re blog because I would have continued trying to add hormones instead of trying to get my own body to produce them. Thank you! Unfortunately, my hair loss continues with a vengeance. I’ve been found to have high mercury levels (from 4 fillings removed unwisely) and out of control high hemaglobin. The hormones are looking good, but the rest of me isn’t. Any thoughts on getting rid of mercury? Apparently, nearly impossible. Thanks again, Lara, for caring so much about strangers.

  79. What would be your suggestion on how to take natural progesterone cream? I’ve read about so many different ways on when to apply it. Some say take it on day 12 of your cycle. I’ve also seen day 14 or even day 7. Should you wait until you are supposed to ovulate to start using the cream? Is there a benefit to apply it starting on day 7?

    • Generally, I advise to not take it as early as day 7. Taken too early in the cycle, progesterone can inhibit ovulation, and thereby prevent your own progesterone production, which would defeat the purpose. Generally, I say to start it AFTER ovulation, so day 17 or 18 in a standard 28 day cycle. There are exceptions to any rule.. Which would be if there are symptoms at ovulation (like migraines) which need to be managed.

    • I use it the 7th day after my period. 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon twice a day, with the regime I listed above.! I started this about 2 months ago, feel amazing, flat belly,and feel better than i have in years. I am getting new hair growth everyday, and my skin is glowing! No more fatigue, hot flashes, foggy brain. I also take zinc for inflamation. GOD BLESS SISTERS

        • Signs of ovulation: fertile mucus, temperature rise is second half of cycle, mid-luteal (day 21) blood test for progesterone. These are the same if you’ve had tubal ligation or not.

  80. Forgot to mention Primrose, and progesterone cream is a natual hormone from flowers, and yams! Kelp is a natural Thyroid from seaweed(natural iodine), what our body lacks, and regulates the Thyroid. GOD BLESS MY SISTERS…..

  81. I have had thinning/brittle hair for years, and was losing hair right in the front/top of my hairline by my bangs! I am 44 tried alot of stuff. Steriod shots on my scalp, different creams, not much worked. I went to Gnc about a month ago, and bought Primrose(take two in the morning, and two in the eving), Kelp(take 2-3 a day), progesterone cream (rub 1/4 a teaspoon on my hand morning and evening), B12 (take 2-3 a day), prenatal vits(take 2 a day), cold pressed flax oil( take 1 teaspoon 3x’s a day), and zinc(take 3 a day)
    I put Castrol oil mixed with cayenne pepper on my scalp to condtion, and stimulate my folicales. My hair is growing like crazy, and not brittle.I am seeing everyday new growth like crazy, even in the bald spot above my bangs, and I feel better than I have in years. I have had blood work done always came back normal, but was always fatigued, dry skin,bloated, and losing/shedding hair. When I wash it now, no more handfulls falling out, and all the sweeling inflamtion gone.Praise the Lord! May this bless each one of you my sisters! Our hair is our crown of glory, and beauty! Lets take care of it, and shine. GOD BLESS….

  82. What probiotics did she give you? I have been taking the GNC ultanourish hair skin and nails vitamins as well as Dragon Herbs hair and nails vitamins for around 2 months now and have not noticed a decrease in the hair shedding. At this point I feel like my hair is going to fall out no matter what and my body has to adjust to all of the hormonal changes in the last year. My hair loss began around 3 months after I had my daughter a little over a year ago. I had massive post partum shedding and I feel as if my hair was thinning the whole time I was on the depo provera shot. It has been almost 2 months since I have missed my last shot and I think I am going through a telogen effluvium shed again as my bodys hormones are changing.

  83. I’m not positive but I feel like I am noticing an increase in actual hair shedding when I have my period. As far as the vitamin A, I did not have any deficiencies that I knew of. I did not have a blood test to check this. She recommened I take metagenics phyto multivitamin which looks to have a very large amount of vitamin A. The naturopathic doctor did fill out a form for me to get some hormonal blood tests done which I did yesterday so I should get the results sometime next week.

    I apologize I did not mean to write the last part of that message-At first I thought your post was the one that said you had hashimotos but it was the post above yours. I had some additional blood work done from an endocrinologist to see if I might have a thyroid problem such as hashimotos so I was just curious.

    My naturopathic doctor did say that she has seen many patients with hair loss and that I should see some results. She said most people do recover from things like this so maybe there is hope! Let me know how your appointment goes! 🙂

    • So my apt when pretty good. She gave me prognostics and wants me taking 10drops of vitamin D. I also have to get more blood work done. Its for vitamin B12 because supposibly the pill can deplete B12. She’s also looking more into the thyroid because its a bit on the low side. My Dr told that as well but when I read up on sythroid it said side effects can be hair loss and not to worry unless its in handfuls so of course I didn’t bother with it because it scared the crap out of me. But the NP wants me to start if after my blood work. If you have a gnc store around you, you should pick up their hair skin and nail pills. Since taking them my hair sheds less and my husband noticed new hairs today when he looked at my scalp;) how long have you been having hair thinning? Mines been since mid teens and I’m 31 so it could take some time for me to reverse it 🙁

    • Yep. Just pour it over your head and work it in. Rinse it out really well. I replied to you msg earlier but don’t see it. Did you get it at all?

    • I had wrote a long reply earlier today and it must not have worked. *sigh* but yes I do notice my hair has looked worse while on my period but I think its because I’m an emotional wreck since being off the pill. I’m on my 3rd month period this week and i am feeling a little more human this time around. Vitamin A can cause hair loss if u have to much or have a difficency. So maybe she saw you were very low? Can the NP fill the form to get blood work or do you have to go to your family doctor for that? Your msg cut out when asking if I take anything for…? I hear you with the no sleeping. I search all day about ways to fix it and I’m really hoping the NP sees something thats so obvious and tells me to wait and see the results. Thats my dream ;p. We just need to keep positive. We will find the underlining issue soon 🙂

  84. I used to have thick curly hair when I was 15. I then went on tri cyclon and by 17 noticed my hair was a lot thinner. I never thought much of it but now at 31 my hair is so thin and I get very depressed at times. I lived in a small town where they did no blood work and said “genitics” now that I’m in the city I have gotten blood work and everything seems normal. I have been off bcp for just over a month and have a horrible time around my cycle. So depressed, don’t want to get out of bed and find myself obsessing over my thin hair. My dr told me my thinking hair wis jot due to bcp but I swear it is. I am going to see a natropath this weekend in hopes i can reverse this thin hair 🙁 wish me luck.

    • Dawn,
      I feel as if I am going through a very similar situation as you! I had a baby in December of 2013 and experienced telogen effluvium beginning 3 months postpartum. My hair shedding did eventually end and I noticed some regrowth. I began the depo provera shot around the time my daughter was 3 months old and noticed gradual thinning in the appearance of my hair the whole time I was on it but no major shedding when I showered or brushed my hair. When I missed y last dose in December my hair shedding picked up greatly and now I am shedding massive amounts, especially on the days I shower. I have been to dermatologists, an endocrinologist, and a hair loss specialist who have not been any help. All of my blood work too has been normal except for elevated ferritin levels. I noticed my eyebrows have been thinning drastically too and I even notice a burning/itching sensation on my scalp and eyebrows at times.My eyebrow hair have also seemed to stop growing. This has caused me to become very depressed and think about my hair loss from the time I wake up until I go to sleep at night. I am also going to see a naturopath tomorrow and am hoping she will be able to help in some way. If anyone has any advice I would really appreciate it. Dawn, please share what your naturpath says!

      • I will for sure as I go on Saturday. Please let me know what yours says as well. I heard your ferritin level has to be above 70 to stop hair fall and mines at 61. My hair doesn’t shed like crazy only because I don’t have enough! I hate how its taking over my life and how its all I think about. I’m able to wear a hat at work and now I wear it st all times. I’ve never even been to a specialist. I just decided to jump right into the NP because of the fact they look to find the underlining issue. I know this sounds stupid but its making me putting off having children because I’m scared of loosing the rest of my hair due to pregnancy 🙁

        • My ferritin was very elevated- in the 500 range. My naturopath wanted me to begin talking a multi-vitamin but the one she suggested to me has an extremely high amount of vitamin A which I read could contribute to hair loss. This is making me very hesitant to take this vitamin and I am waiting to hear back from her about this. She is having me get some more blood work done to check hormonal levels such as testosterone and said that if I have a hormonal imbalance then she would begin to treat it. This whole ordeal is so upsetting and I have barely been able to sleep or eat for the last 3 days 🙁 Does your hair loss seem to be worse during your period? That is what I am experiencing now. I also understand you fear of having children due to more hair loss. I lost a lot of hair after having my daughter and it did not really have any time to recover before the massive shedding began this time around which is resulting in my hair being extremely thin.

          Are you on any medication for the

          • You should try doing the baking soda wash instead of shampoo it gives my hair volume. I put 1 tsp of baking soda in a 2 cups of water and wash my hair like that and just condition the ends. Takes all the buildup of the scalp and its natural.

  85. Sierra,
    I had major hair loss due to Hashimotos, and tried lots of things. I used Nioxin shampoo, conditioner and treatment. This product is commonly used by cancer patients that have loss hair from chemo and it is great. Helped me, but another tip I can give you is to take Biotin. This vitamin is for skin, hair and nails, and helped me most of all. This way you are attacking the problem from the inside and this initiates growth, shine and thickness giving you system things it often lackes from illness. I take Natrol brand, maximum strenght 10,000 mcg which I purchase online. Just type in best price Natrol biotin to bring up web sites selling this and it is about $13.00 for 100 tablets ( one a day). This is the best place to start because it will improve things from the inside and it really works. i am in Sydney.
    Good luck

    • Thanks for the tip Diane, I do have a hair, skin, and nails supplement with biotin but I hardly ever take it. I’ll start taking it every day. I noticed a big difference just cutting out gluten and taking vitamin D3, but I definitely want to see more regrowth! 🙂

    • Sierra, just got my blood tests back and apparently my thyroid is “fine”. My doctor wanted to palm me off to a dermatologist but I know that they will just load me up with harsh creams and antibiotics so I am not comfortable with paying through my teeth for them to make me more sick or give me a “masking” treatment rather than treating the cause. My temples and part on my hair are EXACTLY where I am losing hair so I will try find the Rogaine online tonight. I’m not planning any children for a while (suffer anxiety so I don’t think I could handle a little bub right now) but I will keep it in mind. Thank you again, you’ve been an amazing help! 🙂 Big hugs from Australia!

      • Amie- I didn’t get much help from the dermatologist either. Most of my tips I found myself, doing a lot of research online. It sounds like you may have a genetic predisposition to female pattern hair loss like me. (my sisters also lose hair under stress or hormonal changes) I am so glad I was able to hopefully offer helpful suggestions. I am praying all your hair comes back!!

        • Sierra – Thank you, that’s very sweet of you. I forgot to ask… do you blow dry your hair at all or use a straighter on it? I’ve avoid using them because I’m scared it will make my hair worse, but sometimes I can’t avoid it, like going out for a dinner or a special event (otherwise my hair looks just terrible) and how often do you wash it a week? I find even though it’s fine and falling it gets super oily… thanks again! 🙂

          • Amie- I do often blow dry and I use a flat iron on the low setting. I do wait till my hair is almost dry so I can use minimal heat. My hair looks pretty bad w/o extra help too. You can also do braids and leave them in overnight for crimpy hair and like 3 X’s the volume. I wash my hair every other day. To repair hair you can use coconut oil. I rub it into my ends and leave it in for like and hour before I wash my hair. or just rub a tiny dab into the ends before styling.

          • Amie- I also take a vitamin D3 supplement. I was very deficient at my last physical. I think it has helped a lot with my hair. You might want to take one if you don’t already! 🙂

    • Sarah- Saw Palmetto has been traditionally used as a natural route to combat excess D.H.T. I am using it myself in a topical application and it is definitely helping. You can also use shampoos that inhibit D.H.T. -I recommend Neutregena T-Gel Extra Strength or Murad for thinning hair.

      • Sierra – You seriously could open your own clinic and give out advice! You’re full of helpful tips. Picked up so vitamin D3 today at the chemist and will try doing the coconut oil trick from now on when washing my hair. 🙂 Can’t say thanks enough! Fingers crossed that I stop shedding and regrow my hair and confidence. x

  86. Amie, I am in the U.S. I bought Murad system for thinning hair on Amazon. In my experience- it take almost a year to recover from a big hormonal change (stopping pill use, pregnancy, etc.). You may be losing your hair now because in the absence of the extra artificial estrogen your androgens or male hormones are acting up. I’ve seen this happen with friends too. The androgen D.H.T. causes your hair follicles to shrink so that the hair shaft shrinks until it is unable to grow. The murad will cause some redness and tingling in your scalp. Nothing to bad though! I am more than willing to do with it because it is really working for me. My hair is no longer falling out and I see some regrowth on my previously bald areas. I’ve been using Murad for 2-3 months and it did take a good 2-3 weeks for it too stop falling out. Also good for hair growth are bone broth soups (gelatin), fish oil, and biotin supplements. I also sometimes use lavender oil on my scalp before bed.

    • Sierra, thanks so much! I will pop into a drug store tomorrow (Sunday afternoon here, things are shut) and grab some and let you know how I go in about 3 weeks, not expecting it to grow back but hoping for less hair fall. Thank you so much. It’s comforting to know I’m not alone, doesn’t make it easier, but makes me ‘freak out’ less, in a sense. 🙂 Lavender sounds like a nice idea too, I love the smell. I’ll keep taking my fish oil and multivitamins as well. I had blood work done to check my thyroid etc and get the results tomorrow.. so maybe that will give me a better indication (or possibly come back normal and be no help at all) Thank you again!

      • Amie, there might be a connection because I am gluten intolerant and have thyroid problems in the past too. You’re not alone, so many women deal with this. It sucks, but your hair does not define you. Also, I forgot to mention that women’s Rogaine really helped me grow back hair on my part and temples after the post partum shedding from baby #2. I might use it again at some point as well. I am seeing results that I am happy with from the Murad at the moment. Also, if you ever plan on having children that may help as well. Many women grow very thick hair during their pregnancy and it might help your hormones and hair follicles to ‘reset’. best wishes!

  87. Trust your body? For some of us, that backfires. I trusted and trusted and trusted (along with proper self care, diet, exercise, behavior, etc), and not only did that not work, my hair loss got worse. Much, much, much worse. If you think something’s wrong, there probably is. That’s how you should really trust yourself.

    • Hi Sierra, thanks for your reply! Where abouts do you live? I’m in Australia, so I might have to try look online… I’ve tried a few hair loss shampoos but they made my scalp itchy and dry and red. How long do you think my body will take? I was on the pill for 8 years if that helps.. I eat super insanely healthy (no processed food, diary, gluten or sugar) and exercise daily (I’m a personal trainer) and take a women’s multivitamin, but I’m seeing no results! 🙁

    • I’m really sorry you have had that experience, Megster. I did point out that I am not an expert, just someone has been dealing with hair loss for a long time. Every body is different and will respond differently to treatments.

  88. Hi Lara,

    Sorry, I know this thread is really old… but I stopped the pill in April 2013 and since then I have been losing my hair every day in clumps. I have broken out in acne but my periods have been regular and my blood tests came back ‘clear’… I take a probotic, avoid gluten and diary but it’s been 8 months and I’ve seen no improvement, any ideas?! Thanks 🙁

    • Amie, I’m not an expert but I’ve been managing hair loss problems for years. My hair fell out through my pregnancies and while I nursed my babies. There are shampoos that really help. You need to buy a shampoo that blocks DHT production in your scalp. DHT is and androgen that causes the hair follicles to shrink. T-gel extra strength coal tar shampoo and the Murad system for thinning hair have both really helped me. You might just need to give your body a chance to get back to normal and make estrogen again.

  89. After 14 years on the pill to mediate symptoms of endometriosis I have begun rapidly losing my hair–75 percent in the last 2-3 months. I just decided to stop taking the pill to find out if it is the cause. (I was on loestrin 24 FE and switched to Minastrin 24 FE when that became the replacement.) My doctor refuses to check hormone levels, but is looking into thyroid this week. Can this hair loss start suddenly after
    so many years in the pill? It really gave me my life back as I couldn’t function normally off of it. Now that I have stopped, I am afraid of the disturbance that menstruating will cause my body again (missed work, stabbing pain, intense bleeding). What does someone like me who is dependent on it to regulate their periods do when
    they experience this extreme hair loss? Thank you in advance!

  90. Hi Lara;

    What do you think about Ashwaganhda as a herb for hair loss. The indian Dr. recommended this ayurvedic herb? Please share your opinion? Also can peony and licorcice be found in SE Europe? Thank you as always.

    Jackie

    • Hi Hannah

      How are yo getting on with perfectil? i have just started taking it as i read the good reviews. i know they say it taskes 3 months to see an progress with your hair. i feel like it has made my hair grow faster (i’m about 7 weeks in), but haven’t noticed any new growth yet. i was on microgynon for 4 years and my hair gradually thinned during that time. i have been off all contraceptive pills for about 10 months now. i think my hair has got thinner but not noticed any dramatic shedding. i’m not even certain that the pill was the cause. have you noticed any improvement?

      JR

  91. Hi Lara, I too have been using Dianette for 3 months now in the hope my diffuse hair loss would improve. Prior to this I was on Microgynon for about 2 and half years and before that the injection Depo-Provera. I first noticed thinning hair in February this year, but I only started to research and freak out a little about it in July. I have become more accepting of what’s going on now. I have been tested for Thyroid and Iron levels and anemia all are fine according to my doctor. I have a combination of coarse thick hair and baby hair. Lots of the finer baby type hair has fallen out less of the coarse stuff. I am showing some signs of new growth, but still some loss too. Fluffy bit of regrowth getting longer at the front, but still a bit of thinning at the front too. From what you have written it looks like I need to just get off Dianette and re-balance my body. I already do lots of yoga and eat super-foods and exclude heavily processed food products and take Magnesium. I’ve started taking Perfectil skin hair nails supplement (don’t actualy have a skin or nail problem). Not an expensive one but rated quite high in the uk. I am scared of coming off the pill and going completely bald. Sounds like I need to come off it though….?

  92. Hi Lara,
    I’m hoping you can help. Up until 3 months ago I had been taking dianette for about 13 years. (since I was 19). It was originally prescribed for my acne which it did really help with. I would regularly try to come off dianette (due to increased risk of clots) but my skin always went crazy again. Co-inciding with this my hair has gotten thinner and thinner to the point now where it is a big problem. It constantly sheds and if really affecting my self confidence. After having read all of your information I am staying off the pill (even though my skin has gone terrible again) in the hope that it will help my hair.
    I am a little confused however….Dianette is an anti-androgen. Androgens seem to be cited as the cause of female hair loss (testosterone converts to DHT and that damages the hair follicle). So if Dianette is an anti-androgen would it not be good for my hair?
    I do note however that Dianette means I haven’t ovulated properly in forever. I am assuming this means I have low levels of progesterone. Am I right in saying that when the ovaries are not producing progesterone they produce androgens instead? If so does that mean that dianette, claiming to be an anti-androgen, actually helps to increase the body’s production of them?
    Sorry for lots of questions but there are is so much information out there it can get quite confusing 🙂
    If you could point me in the right direction it would be greatly appreciated. I am thinking of trying natural progesterone cream but wanted an informed opinion first!
    Many thanks
    emma.

    • hi Emma, Yes, the synthetic estrogens fix (mask) acne because they dry up sebum. Most women experience a worsening of skin when they stop the Pill because of a “pill-withdrawal” from those estrogens. Your skin should settle down after 3-4 months.
      You are correct that you haven’t ovulated properly while on Dianette. Actually, you haven’t ovulated at all, so your hair follicles have not had any of the body’s natural estrogen (estradiol) or natural progesterone at all for 13 years. Those two hormones (natural estradiol and natural progesterone) are the absolute best hormones for female hair. That’s why hair is so fantastic during pregnancy, for example. Those hormones are our own natural anti-androgen. There is no synthetic progestogen (fake progesterone) that can provide any benefit that even closely matches the benefit of or own hormones. Natural progesterone is an option, but you have to be careful to not use too much (that’s discussed in some other posts here). The best thing is to get your own natural estrogen and natural progesterone going by getting your ovulations going, and your periods regular. Be patient. It could take months, or longer for your hair to improve.

  93. Hi Lara,
    I quit spironolactone and started 6,000 mg. a day of myo-inositol about 3 months ago. Within 6 weeks I had a period and then ovulated about two weeks later. I had another period on schedule, but it was almost 10 days long! Now I’m afraid that I’m not going to ovulate this month. i was hoping that the myo-inositol would resume regular ovulation and that my hair would stop falling and would re-grow. Should I add something else like N-Acetyl Cysteine to my protocol? I’ve had a meticulously healthy diet, but every time I add a probiotic or a natural detox product like wheat grass, my hair loss explodes. Do you have any insight into this? Thank you.

  94. Hello,
    I have a hair loss due to the non classic adrenal hyperplasia. My endocrinologist tried me on 2 different Birth control pills that were also supposed to lower levels of DHEA and testosterone. I had terrible side effects from both and had to stop. The endocrinologist is trying to figure out what to try next. But my hair are still falling out and I was wondering if there is anything from herbal supplements that can help. Thank you.

  95. i have been having a problem irregular periods and was taking treatment from past 11 months. Also i am having a huge amount of hair loss. Is my irregular periods a reason for my hair loss?? or the medicines i am taking are the reason for my hair loss? please suggest me what should i do regarding this problem?

  96. hi @jackie bio hair treatment is very reliable treatment there are lots of bio hair product i am describe about only one product. the BioHair Treatment Cleanser and Restoration Formula together. Start with the Cleanser to remove impurities from the scalp, creating an ideal scalp environment for new hair growth. Next apply the emu oil infused Restoration Formula to stimulate the scalp and produce new hair growth. Emu oil has been proven to promote hair growth in studies conducted at Boston University. Together these products will jump start your path to a full, thick head of hair.

  97. Same issue here with years of PCOS, hormonal imbalance and burning scalp and hair loss. You may need to simplify and let your body get back to it’s baseline functions to evaluate what your best options are. In any case, please consider getting off the Reclipsin and Spiro and all that mess. Eat a plant-based, veggie diet with lots of cruciferous vegetables and fibrous protein packed grains like red quinoa. My NP put me on an estrogen patch and oral progesterone and that helped with most symptom issues. I tried saw palmetto but it had no effect. However, with my level of fibroids, adenomyosis and cervical polyps, I ended up having a total hysterectomy two months ago. Best thing I ever did. Feel great, calm scalp, new hair growth, lost 16 lbs and back into a size 6. Brain works again. No longer have to live my day from one sticky-note reminder to the next. If you are not looking towards a pregnancy, then consider just getting rid of those organs that just won’t “play well with others.” It’s not an answer for everyone, and it is definitely a decision that you and your doctor need to discuss in depth. I just wish I’d been able to do this six years ago.

  98. Hello Everyone – I’m hoping someone could help me here.

    I’m a 32 year old woman with PCOS. In October last year I went to my endocrynoligist who has been very successful in treating women with PCOS with the issue of hair loss. He started me on Reclipsin birth control and 50MG of Spironolactone, already on 2000MG of Metformin. After seeing no help from any of it in May this year I was bumped up to 200MG of Spironolactone along with the Reclipsen, and Metformin. My vitamin D was low so I take 2000IU of that, 2500MG of B12 and 320MG of Saw Palmetto, I use Nizroal 2% shampoo and Organix Biotin shampoo and conditioner. All along the way I have been following the Glycemic Index diet and exercising regularly. Today I hit my goal weight of 90 pounds lost and while I should be overjoyed, I’m not. My hair will not stop shedding. In February 2013 the intense scalp burning began and it’s still here, I cannot seem to figure out why it’s happening or how to stop it. I’m just at a loss and it seems like I’m going to have to start looking for wigs to cover up my thinning patches.

    My doctor tells me the Spironolactone will fix it with the assistance of the birth control and that I need to be patient but I just have a feeling that it won’t stop the hair loss or the burning considering I have been on it for so long. My testosterone and estrogen levels are normal last time I had my bloodwork done. Any thoughts??

    • Hi, Tina – I had to respond to your predicament, because it is so similar to mine. I found out that I have PCOS about a four months ago, but started with the symptoms almost 2 years ago….I was very thin and did not fit the PCOS pattern right off – It took a really dedicated Naturopath to figure it out. Hairloss has been the worst part of this whole nightmare. I can completely relate to what you’re going through. I was prescribed birth control pills and refused them, but I did go on 200 mg. of spironolactone. The spiro. never did stop the shedding, but it did cause my scalp to burn and it did negatively affect my kidneys and liver. I finally had the courage to come off it and the burning stopped (unfortunately, the hair loss has not – yet). My Naturopath started treating my PCOS with myo-inositol 6,000 mg.(2,000 3X’s a day). I had a period after 6 weeks and then ovulated!! The first time in years. I also take 3,000 mg. vitamin C a day, selenium, E, B12, B5B6, magnesium, zinc, copper, and Vit. A (I have a malabsorption issue). I stay gluten/dairy/caffeine/sugar free and take barley grass and other ‘green’ drinks. I’m hoping that when my cycles have been regular for a while, that my hair loss will stop. I pray for all of us who are experiencing hair loss. It is the hardest thing that I’ve ever gone through (and that’s saying a lot!) Hang in there, you are not alone.

      • Hi Jess your case is very similar to mine. I’m a NEW thin cysters. The hair loss is been so devasting. I’ve cried so many nights. I feel that I’m having the worst nightmare of my life. You should talk with your NP about the combination of Peony / licorice. What I read: is that’s a really powerful combo to lowering androgens, there are studies that prove it. You can read above. Lara talk about that. I’m about to start this combo. I would love to contact you and share experiences, treatments, succes etc. Talk with someone who is going through the same nightmare as you, make you not feel alone. I really feel that PCOS change my life completely. All I want for christmas is my hair and life back.

        Here is my email address: [email protected] can’t wait to read from you

    • Hi, I just wanted to quick say I’ve been using the Murad system for thinning hair and that seems to be helping me. It really isn’t too expensive on Amazon.

  99. hormonal disorder more impact on hair may be people loss their hair forever i think people who are suffering from hair loss or hormonal disorder and balding problem they will try for bio hair treatment as this is very effective techniques

  100. Hi, I have a simple question- can fairly intense exercise and strength training contribute to hair loss? Does lifting weights increase androgen levels in women? I am 27 w/ three kids, I’ve lost probably about half of my original hair since age 20 or so. I ovulate/menstruate normally but I have always tended to be leaner and more ‘boyish’ shaped (read: no hips, small chest). I really enjoy working out but I will stop if it is contributing to this awful hair loss. I think I may try a small amount of natural progesterone cream and see if that helps.

    • It depends what you mean by “fairly intense”. Too much exercise is a stress, and hair loss can be the result of any kind of stress. But exercise does not elevate testosterone in women , if that’s what you mean. Studies show that testosterone rises only very briefly after exercise. For most women, exercise will lower testosterone because of the improved insulin sensitivity. (Opposite story for men: improved insulin sensitivity increases their testosterone). Excessive exercise can also interfere with ovulation, and stop periods, but you say that is not the case for you, so that is a good sign.
      More likely causes are thyroid or iron deficiency or history of Pill use. Ask your doctor to test thyroid, thyroid antibodies, iron, DHEAS, testosterone and SHBG. The other question in your case would be: “how was your hair during your pregnancies? and after?”

      • Thanks so much for your reply. I’d say my exercise is very intense but I keep it to just 3-4 times a week. I’ve scaled back a lot since having my 3rd child. I do have a history of thyroid problems (P.P. thyroiditis after each child). I just had a physical and my thyroid function was in the ‘normal’ range. My first pregnancy my hair grew thick and then shed like crazy three months P.P.- like a normal woman. My last two my hair shed the entire pregnancy and never stopped. I also delivered both babies 3 weeks early. Also, I have struggled to make enough breastmilk for my last child (I was bound and determined to exclusively breastfeed). I suspect adrenal fatigue. The doctor I saw for my physical checked my cortisol levels- which were normal too. I wonder too if it is just female pattern hair loss. Though my own mother still has very thick, healthy hair. Should I wait until I wean my baby to test hormone levels? Thanks, Sierra …oh and I have also had to cut out gluten because I am intolerant (when I eat it, lets just say it makes life miserable!).

  101. Hi Dr. Lara,
    I am 44, had my first child at 38 and my second at 42. My hair loss began after having my first, and has never really stopped. I had hoped after my second and final son was born my hair would start to come back, but its only getting worse. I also have an irregular menstrual cycle and break through bleeding. I have had normal tests for biopsies and paps so my dr has put me on a low dose of progesterone. I am concerned with taking this synthetic version due to the links of different cancer.
    Any alternative recommendations for hair loss? I read what you said about Magnesium and will try that. And I also take biotin, zinc, and my pre-natal vitamins from pregnancy. Thoughts on “Fusion Hair Tonic” with Chinese herbs? Anything else I can do?
    Thanks so much,
    Tracy

    • Is it synthetic progestogen or bioidentical progesterone? There’s a big difference when it comes to hair (and everything else).

        • Medroxyprogesterone is not going to be any help for hair loss. The most important thing is to get your ovulating somewhat regularly. That should be possible as long as you are not yet menopausal. Regular ovulation will give you the estrogen and progesterone that your hair needs. You could also talk to your doctor about prescribing a natural progesterone.

  102. I was on the pill for many years and during this time was diagnosed with androgentic alopecia. I started to question whether the pill was good and seeing two different doctors i mentioned I would like to stop the pill. They responded the pill more than anything will reduce the hair loss. Luckily I have a very supportive boyfriend who made me get off them. I did experience a shedding of my hair, but it was falling out quicker when I was on the pill. I have been pill free for 2 years but have a long way to go in clearing my system after 10 years of pill use and an auto immune disease.

    • Hi, I have been using Depo Provera injections for over 10 years now. I am 42, and started to suffer night sweats. I have noticed my hair has started to look more limp than usual, and thinning in general. I’m wondering if depo inhibits oestrogens, causing thinning hair, or the depo progesterone is helping. I’m considering stopping the use of Depo, but concerned how it may affect my hair further. I would really appreciate your advice. Thank you.

      • The progestogen in Depo (medroxyprogesterone acetate) absolutely DOES cause hair loss. Also, the FDA recommends that Depo-Prover not used for more than 2 years because it causes irreversible bone loss. Such a horrible drug. 🙁

  103. Hi Laura;
    My niece has hair loss, and is on Yasmin and Spironoctaline. She is very afraid to get off the pills and I am wondering is taking some natural progesterone cream (how much and which one could) could help with the hormones? She also started homeopathy, what do you suggest? Please advise. Thanks so much for your wonderful website and info!

  104. Laura – I too had the copper IUD inserted in 2008 with no hair issues as well. I started shedding and it just would not stop. I had it removed in 11/2012 almost a year ago and my periods come every two weeks as well. This has caused me to be anemic and when i had my hormone panel done, my estrogen was extremely high so my doctor put me on progesterone. Have you had your hormone levels besides testosterone done? Look at this…
    Symptoms of Progesterone Deficiency: Hot Flashes, Breast Tenderness Fibrocystic Breasts Anxiety, Hair Loss Bone Loss Low Libido Night Sweats Irregular Periods Vaginal Dryness Depression Insomnia Infertility Weight Gain Acne Bloating Mood Swings Memory Lapses Loss of Muscle Nervousnes Excess Facial/Body Hair Heavy or Painful Periods Urinary Incontinence Poor Concentration Irritability

  105. Hi Paige! You feel my pain! So devastating for a young woman lost her hair in a couple months. At least you have a clear eye on what’s your problem. In my case I’m lost, I started with the Copper IUD in 2008 with no hair problems besides heavy periods and vaginal infections here and there. This year in June I started to shedding slowly, then it get worse at the end of july, I decided to remove the IUD thought that maybe was that the cause of my shedding. But it get worse I guess. My period come every 2 weeks and they are really really light. I’m very confused if the copper IUD has something to do with the shedding. My testosterone comes normal range the doctor said, so I don’t know what is the reason of the facial hair, I always used to have facial hair, since I start taking “Shen Min” a vitamins to re growth hair I noticed that I have more facial hair. So I stop taking them. I guess the key is trying to get back the normal period every month!

    Lara what do you think about copper IUD related with hair loss? How long that we have to expect till the shedding stop?
    Is there any possibility like you said and your article to have PCOS with testosterone level in a normal range? I never in the past had any problem with my period o infertility so I dont know if really PCOS can related with me. And if yes how can I treat that with out the pill. Thank you so much and sorry for any mistake English is not my first language but I hope you can understand this desperate woman. Any advice would be really appreciated!!

  106. Hi Lara! I’m 25 years old and I lost half of my hair in 3.5 months. 5 months ago I remove the copper DUI without hormones. since then my periods are very irregular and really really light. I do not associate my hair loss with the DUI since it was the one without hormones . I started taking vitex 2 weeks ago to regulate my cycles and hoping the shedding would stop, but it was much worse. I do have dark facial hair, so the doctor suspect CPOS, She test my testosterone today and it comes 49 total, which she said is normal, prolactin 6.9 normal, I dont know if taking vitex did something with the results, because I noticed that since i start Vitex the dark facial slow the growth a little bit. I dont know what to do anymore this is really painful and the doctors dont really care I cried more than one time. Never in the past I had any problems with hair loss. The endro prescribe me some pills that are called ” Tirnolattone” that are for high pressure but she said help with testosterone sensitivity. I don’t even want to take them. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  107. Hi Lara,
    I’ve been on high levels of myo-inositol to help insulin resistance and to start ovulation again. I have very low progesterone levels. I’ve read on a few sites that low levels of progesterone aggravate estrogen dominence; that you need to take high levels. Some women are taking 800 to 1000 mg. of progesterone. I’m afraid to do that. I’m already having hair loss. Would excess progesterone be converted into testosterone or does the body just use what it needs and then expel the rest. I am 43 and am not sure if my body will start to ovulate regularly again. Any thoughts on that?

    • Hi Jessica, under no circumstances should anyone ever take 1000mg of progesterone. 🙁 That is far, far too much and would definitely be converted to testosterone and estrogens and other metabolites. No, the body would not just eliminate what it doesn’t need. That kind of dose is simply not safe, and is alarming to me. I rarely recommend more than 20 or 30mg progesterone as a cream or 50 or 100mg as a capsule. And even then, not for long term use, and not usually in the first half of the cycle. Progesterone can suppress ovulation. The goal is always to get ovulations going again, and that is a realistic goal for most 43 year olds.

      • Thanks Lara, Do you know how long it may take for myo-inositol to start ovulation? Also, how do I know where I am in my cycle if I’ve had an endometrial ablasion and do not have periods anymore. I’d like to try natural progesterone cream, but I don’t know when to start. Before the ablasion, my cycles were already messed up from spironolactone. I had two long periods a month with only a week between. I went off spiro. and am really suffering. I tried vitex to regulate hormones, but it made my hair loss much worse. I’m already on an extremely healthy diet and I take high quality supplements. I’ve thought about trying maca root. It seems like everything that I try makes my symptoms worse.
        The advice for using high levels of progesterone came from http://www.progesteronetherapy.com. There is a lot of research presented there. I would love to hear more of your take on that. There is such confusing information out there. I’m afraid to do anything and afraid to go on like this.

  108. Hi Lara,
    I lost handfuls of hair in the first trimester of both my pregnancies. It stopped and went back to normal & I suffered no hair loss after the births.
    I had always been on the combination pill and never had any issues, about 2 months ago I had the contraceptive implant fitted in my arm. For the last 2 weeks I have again been losing handfuls of hair. I even did a pregnancy test as I was worried I might be pregnant again, thankfully it was negative. I can only assume the implant is causing the hair loss.
    Do you think this could be the case? Should I stick with it and hope it settles or have it removed?
    Thanks
    Katherine

    • She’s been to a dermatologist, did the medicated cream and injection treatments and stopped – too painful. She started the head cream again and we are seeing very thin follicles coming up. Hoping for the best as we’ve learned that most people’s hair grow back only to fall off again.

  109. Anna – when you’re pregnant your body uses the progesterone to maintain a healthy pregnancy. Its the only hormone that does that. Why were you on that did you have prior miscarriages?

    Paige

    • Yes, I had three prior miscarriages, with testing to find out why, I was told that I could try again but would have to notify my Dr as soon as I became pregnant which I did and was placed on the progesterone treatment. Thanks for your response, just ruling out possibilities of my daughter’s alopecia.

  110. Hi: I was on progesterone treatment for three months while pregnant with my now 17 year old daughter – about two years now her hair has fallen off and diagnosed with alopecia areata. She had all blood work done and this is what was found out as the cause of her hair loss. I’ve been tearing my brains trying to find out why and how she got this as no one else in my entire family has this. I have two other children and she was the only one I’ve had to take progesterone. Do you think as a pregnant mother taking progesterone could cause hair loss years later in her child she was carrying?

    • There was a girl with this condition on A current affair or Today Tonight recently and she took some pills called Fusion Hair Tonic and all her hair grew back and looked beautiful. Go Vita also stocks this brand, my Mum had pneumonia and used their lung tonic and has had good results also. Good luck.

    • I also have a question regarding alopecia areata. I was diagnosed with alopecia when I was 15, (possibly around the time I began birth control?). I am now 29 and have three children, ages 4, 3 and 6 mos. Each time I was pregnant, my hair grew back completely. Then at around 3 months post-partum, it falls out again. I have been told that hormone levels don’t have anything to do with alopecia areata, only androgenic alopecia, but I am pretty sure hormones have played a part in my hair re-growth during pregnancy. Any thoughts?

      • Also, I am weird when it comes to a lot of the birth control with hormones (Depo, Ortho Tricyclin). If I don’t use super-low hormone birth control (Nuvaring, Micronor), then I will menstruate until I discontinue use.

  111. I had the copper IUD for 5 years and my hair was falling out in clumps. I don’t understand what the issue is as I’m only 33 and shouldn’t be losing 75% of my hair.Plus the IUD was a non hormone IUD so I don’t understand what happened. I finally had enough and had the IUD removed and my primary do a full blood panel on me. I had extremely high estrogen so my doctor put my on 10MG of progesterone for the next 10 days as my periods were starting to come every 2 weeks. Not good… anyhow I just started this today and I’m praying maybe, just maybe my pretty hair will reappear. I’m going to go buy some magnesium as well tonight and start that with my daily supplements. Thank you for the above information.

    Paige

  112. Hi Lara,

    I was in close contact with someone who has been taking testosterone cream for the last year. At the end of July I had all my annual blood work done, including blood hormone tests as I am on BHRT. I am taking very little, it’s estrogen / progesterone. 0.05 am and 0.05 pm. So anyway, end of July, I wash my hair and lose two brush fulls of it. I was crushed. I have long blonde curly hair. Very thick and full. A “mop” my friends refer to it as.

    So then it just starts falling out. I notice my hair shaft has gone from thick and course to very thin. I get my blood test back and my T levels are at 78. I made an appointment with my ND, and she figured out it was the contact with my friend. I limited contact and 3 weeks later I got tested again, now I’m at 15 (testosterone, serum).

    My hair is still falling out. I call the compounding pharmacy and ask what to do, they said I should actually start taking T, that going from 78 to 15 in 3 weeks is a huge shock to the system. So they felt that when I hit 78, I started to lose hair, as it was too high. Then my T numbers dropped so fast and went so low that my adrenals went into shock , which is why I’m continuing to lose hair.

    If this continues much longer, I’m not going to have any hair left. I’m very concerned about taking testosterone. On the web you read “take more progesterone” or “take more estrogen” or take T with a supplement and they will stop the hair loss. My ND, said it could take up to 3 months to stop shedding, but she admits she is not an expert on testosterone. Is there anything I can do to try and stop the shedding and help repair my hair.

    Thank you so much for your time.

      • I am on Lo Loestrin Fe due to heavy clotting periods. I was having hair loss before the pill and dr. recommended this. Then I had spotty long periods so dr. put me on Loestrin. A little higher does. Hair loss has started again. What would you recommend. I feel like I should stop the pill but had hair loss before so I don’t think its causing it but it did start happening again. I do not have a period at all since on the pill. Is that normal as well?

        • To the person asking about Loestrin FE – Loestrin is poison for your hair period end of story! The American Hair Loss Website lists it as the WORST pill for your hair and the highest androgenic pill on the market. IF you have ANY hair loss history they strongly recommend that you don’t use ANY hormonal birth control and if you don’t have a history of hair loss they still recommend you do NOT take this pill at all! They suggest you take a much lower index androgen pill. Again, if you have any hair loss issues don’t take ANY hormonal birth control – but either way they site Loestrin (FE) Minestrin etc.. as being a big no for anyone’s hair!

  113. My hair has been thinning since my late 20s, but the last few years it’s been dramatic (I’m 46). I did test positive for Hashimoto’s and have been on Naturethroid without much improvement, and now compounded T4/T3 with a little more success at gradually increased doses, but just recently realizing my iron has probably been bottomed out for years, and I’m working on getting those levels up to optimal. My saliva cortisol test showed low cortisol through most of the day, but one of my doctors says he’s seen worse. I’m on a very natural diet, grain-free, dairy free and soy free (basically Paleo) that has finally quieted long term gut imbalance issues, but it’s hard to say how much the terrain has recovered.

    I’ve been taking oral compounded progesterone for many years because it seemed to help initially with PMS type symptoms, particularly painful swollen breasts, but lately my periods occasionally go off schedule and it doesn’t always improve the situation. I switched from doing 50mg first half of the cycle and 100mg 2nd half to 150mg just in the second half of my cycle. My last 2 lab tests (blood) showed progesterone quite high, but my doctor thinks I may have hormone resistance where it’s showing up in the blood because of supplementation, but the hormone receptors in my body aren’t working correctly to utilize it, since I tend to have symptoms of estrogen dominance (though is possible too much progesterone causes those same symptoms?) She thinks it may be the same scenario with my thyroid, since I don’t notice much difference in how I feel when I run out or change the dose.

    I realize my hair loss could be caused by any number of things – the autoimmune thyroid issue, estrogen/progesterone balance, low iron, etc., but what do you recommend in the way of specific hormone testing (blood/saliva/time of month, etc.) and what ranges should we be looking for ? What are your thoughts on hormone resistance?

    Lately I’m thinking of going off the progesterone altogether to see if my dietary changes alone may help my hormone balance. I also think it’s possible that I’m on more thyroid hormone than I need, and concerned that could be contributing, too. Come to think of it, I didn’t have significant hair loss issues until I started “treating” the thyroid and increasing the dose.

    Thank you for any insights.

  114. Dear Lara, I have been suffering with hair loss for over a year now. I have recently discovered that I have some sort of autoimmune disorder, along with a lot of strange blood work results. My thyroid fluxuates, but not a lot 1.5 to 2.5 range – my hemaglobin is too high and my ferritin drops low if I stop supplementing. I have a burning scalp that comes and goes and frequent itching (no rash). My doctor wanted me to experiment with thyroid supplementation and bio-identical estrogen. My testosterone has always been low, as has DHEA and DHT. A derm. put me on 200mg. spironolactone a year ago. I did not notice a lot of shedding until I went off the spiro. and tried to supplement with natural thyroid and DHEA. I quit those and my hair loss came down, but then my Doc. gave me a shot of estrogen which started the shed again. I panicked and went back on spiro. The spiro. seems to help for a little while and then the hair loss escalates again. probiotics and antifungals make the burning and hair loss increase exponentially. I’ve had evidence of yeast problems, but can’t handle the hair loss that comes when I treat them. I tried natural progesterone cream, but was afraid that it was causing oily hair and acne….I seem to have tried it all and failed. I take biotin, zinc, D, turmeric, ginger, B complex, B12, magnesium, E , selenium, C, evening primrose, flax and borage oils. The only time my hair loss has stopped is the two times I’ve vacationed in Chicago. I’m at the end of the rope. Oh, I had an ablasion done about 6 months ago due to heavy periods and have not had a period since. Had one hormone test come back showing no progesterone and I do not believe that I ovulate….I also have chronic fatigue, depression, insomnia, etc. Any suggestions?

  115. Lara- Thanks so much for taking the time to respond to my post! I love the articles and information I have found on your site. Anyhow, I have had the Mirena for 3 years and didn’t notice the hair loss starting until about a year ago. So I have been told by several doctors this isn’t the cause of the hair loss, since I have had it so long. I hesitate to remove it because it has helped me medically. Do you know of any natural supplements or anything that can help with the hair growth or loss?

  116. Dear Lara- What are your thoughts about Mirena IUD and hair loss. I read this could be a side effect. I have had it for 3 years due to being full of uterine polyps. It has helped me so much with my heavy periods and keeping the polyps from growing back. About a year ago I noticed more hair loss than normal and it has gotten worse where I am thinning all over but no bald spots yet. I have had blood work for thyroid and iron and was told it was normal. My nails and leg hair grow like crazy as well as the hair on my head (see outgrowth from dye). These are full strands coming out and no breakage. Any thoughts?

    Thanks in advance!

    Annie

    • Hi Annie, I’m surprised that no one has asked this before. The progestin in Mirena is levonorgestrel, which is androgenic. (As i discuss above, it is the androgenic – male hormone action – of progestins which cause Pill hair loss.) BUT, the dose from Mirena is far lower than from the Pill. Blood levels of levonorgestrel in Mirena users are about one-tenth of Pill users. Also, Mirena does not suppress ovulation, which is good because its allows the body’s own estrogen and progesterone to benefit hair. In theory, Mirena should not be as risky as the Pill for hair-loss, but there are reports that it is a problem for some women. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17900442

  117. Dear Lara ,

    I’m a registred dietician who live in Belgium (and thanks to internet to share informations worldwide! ) I ‘m suffering from PCOS and in Europe the lack of informations and interest is sadly, so huge for this syndrom. (no single book in French for this condition on amazone !)
    I try to treat myself with alternative medicine and organic specific diet (of course.)
    Your webesite in such a miracle for helping.

    If I stop the pill,I desperatly loose my hair and suffer with typical hormonal acne (unlesse I’m a lean personn with no insulin resistant.) You talk about poeny and liquorice extracts in your article to help decrease the effect of excess testotesterone, but do you think we can find this supplement in Europe ? wich brand, do you have any clue?
    I made all the others changes that you mentionned , but never test this.
    I bought trought internet the natural progesterone cream and stop agnus castus on your advice, because my level of LH is high. I had no result taking saw palmetto during 6 months … Over there , they currently prescribe alchemilla vulgaris a special herb to promote progesteron during the menstrual cycle.
    It works during 3 months, but after it’s seems to be less effective for me and my cycle start to began so long, again (and hair loss and acne become wosrt). I desperatly look for a natural solution that could help me.Thank you.
    best regards from Europe,

    Marie Aude

    • Hi Marie, I am aware that Peony & Licorice combination is difficult to access outside of Australia, which is a shame because it works so well. Here is a study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8012442. The 2 herbs are Paeonia lactiflora and Glycyrrhiza glabra in a 1:1 ratio. Could you speak to a herbalist about a liquid extract mix? Also the company Mediherb makes a tablet formula called Polyfem. I know that they distribute in US and UK.
      But be careful because higher doses will cause elevated blood pressure. You should use under professional guidance.

      • thank you for your reply, yes it is such a shame, because regular physicians and medicines offer nothing really interesting for us… I’m going to try a formulation with a herbalist here, I will show her the study, of course.
        Best regards from Belgium (and thanks for the article on PMS, as well)

  118. Thank you. I have suggested that she go get her thyroid tested and also get a hormone panel done, specifically testing for estrogen and progesterone.

    So happy I found your site and blog.

  119. Lara, What are your thoughts on ablations and hair loss? I have a client who is experiencing extreme hair loss and we have gone back the 3-4 mths you talk about.
    The only change she has made, is her diet. Even though it is a Paleo diet, her carb intake is still really good.
    She had the ablation about a year ago, so not sure if that is a factor. I am sending her for blood work but at a complete loss.

      • Sorry, yes, that is what I meant. I also found yesterday that she had her tubes tided as well.
        Trying to go through all the different scenarios to figure out why she is losing so much hair suddenly.

        • I’m interested in knowing if endometrial ablation contributes to hair thinning, as well. In Oct. 2012, I had a myomectomy to remove a uterine fibroid, and an ablation was part of the procedure. I stopped taking oral contraceptives shortly afterward, so I can’t say whether it was the surgery or the hormonal changes that caused hair loss, but my hair started thinning pretty dramatically. When I would shampoo, I’d end up with handfuls of hair.

          It began to regrow after several months, but I can’t tell if the short, new hair is enough to fill in the thin older growth. I’ve had to switch to a shorter hairstyle to make the thinning less conspicuous.

          This is a very interesting, detailed post. I look forward to finding out more.

        • Ablation doesn’t affect female hormones directly, but it is a surgery, and therefore a stress. Stress affects cortisol-DHEA balance, and therefore female hormone balance, and also thyroid. It could take a few months (or more) to recover from this.

          Other factors to consider: 1) she may still be recovering from the heavy periods/blood loss/iron deficiency that she had leading up to the ablation (if that was her situation, as it so often is). 2) general anaesthesia has been shown to trigger hair loss. And 3) tubal ligation can result in a decreased progesterone level.

  120. I have mild PCOS and am now 40. I went on yasmeen to conquer acne which started when my periods returned after having a baby. 6 months of yasmeen and my skin looks clear but my hair has turned staw like and is now falling. My nails are also breaking. I’m now in a catch 22. Stop the yasmeen and get awfully bad acne (for a year or so till hormones calm) or continue with the yasmeen and have clear skin and much less hair. In the states I hear they use spironolactone to reduce hair loss but it seems unheard of in the UK to use it for hair/acne. Any thoughts much appreciated, it’s all beginning to really get to me.

  121. Hi, first of all thank you for being the one who speaks about birth controls causing hair loss as many many doctors deny it. I really would like to share my experience and ask for some help. I’ve been using Yasmin for about a year now for medical purposes basically. Even though I had regular periods before, I have menorrhagia (it runs in the family) and also I tend to get chalazions in my eye like every month before my period (crazy but blepharitis does that) and this drug actually lessened my overworking oil glands so chalazions stopped.
    This may seem like a dream scenario except it killed my hair. And I mean that really. I always had thin hair but with volume which people usually complemented. Maybe I was always prone to genetic hair loss as it did get thinner every year but slowly and because of menorrhagia, I always had iron deficiency so whenever I used iron, it became thicker again. Until yasmin. As soon as I started yasmin, I started to lose huge amounts of hair which lasted for about 4 months. I was going crazy as it was huge amounts of hair coming of everywhere. After that crazy four months, the shedding somewhat stabilized (it still sheds) however I was left with a limp thin lifeless hair that my scalp can easily be seen through. My eyebrows have thinned too (I use 4 to 5 hair daily on a single brow which isn’t normal and they got thinner too) and I used to have thick brows before (they’re diffuse now). My eyelashes lessened too. The doctors I’ve seen, they tested me on everything and they say that I’m very healthy. My thyroid levels are good and as I’m taking supplements and eating diversely my vitamin levels are perfect. Even my iron levels are really up. My hormone levels are also good (even my testosterone levels). So they cannot find anything wrong. And I keep telling them this started after Yasmin. Maybe I was prone to genetic hair loss and progesterone causes this I don’t know. I’m afraid to come off it as my wedding is approaching and I’m terrified of the massive hair loss I will probably experience like when I started the pill. However each month (and I’m not exaggerating) my hair gets balder. Genetic hair loss shouldn’t happen so quickly as far as I know. It usually spreads in years. Well I lost half of my hair in just one year probably. I’m only 28 years old. What do you suggest? I’m completely lost. Do you think Yasmin caused irreversible damage and is there any hope that I might get my hair and my eyebrows back? Thanks.

    • Did the situation get any better. My hair is already of thin texture. very very thin. I use castor oil mustard and coconut oil and do a gentle head massage twice thrice a week. it helps a lot.
      I currently believe im going through hormonal changes since I turned 25

  122. Hi Lara,
    What are your thoughts on the possible effects of DIM and calcium-d-glucurate on hair? I have been using these supplements to treat symtoms of ‘estrogen dominance’.
    Thank you,
    Carrot

    • Estrogen is very good for hair, so in theory, those at risk for hair loss might not want to do too much estrogen-clearing. However, I’ve never seen a problem with standard-dose DIM and calcium-d-glucorate. On the other side of the equation, it is also important to have enough progesterone, as progesterone blocks testosterone at the hair follicle, and is very good for hair.

  123. Hi Lara,
    Thank you for this information. I am experiencing hair loss that I believe is caused by *stopping* use of Pro-Gest cream by Emerita. I have tried using this cream several times over the past few years, but each time I had side effects, the worst of which was mental confusion (very frightening!). So, I stopped use about 2 months ago (after using it for a few months). Do you know if the shedding/hair loss will eventually stop (it’s been shedding heavily for about two weeks now)? Will it grow back or is it permanent for the hairs that have fallen out? The only reason I ever tried Pro-Gest is because of a recommendation from a nurse practitioner friend of mine who believes all women over 40 years of age should be on progesterone cream. So I took the recommendation and tried it (my doctor never suggested it). I am 55 years old and had my last period 13 months ago. If you have any ideas/thoughts, I would SO appreciate it. It’s so distressing. I don’t know if I should wait it out or take action and try something else? It’s very difficult to find any information on hair loss caused BY progesterone cream – there’s lots of info recommending its use to grow hair. I found a few sites, but none of them offer any info on when/if the hair will grow back.
    Thank you!
    Ann

    • Hi Ann,
      The hair loss triggered by sudden hormonal changes (such as stopping the progesterone in your case) should be temporary. If you didn’t previously have hair loss, then it should resolve itself within a few months.

  124. What is the cause of and how can you alleviate the burning and irritation of the scalp that is association with excessive hair loss? And is there a problem with taking 100 mg progesterone along with a pharmaceutical grade saw palmetto supplement to alleviate possible effects of DHT for menopausal hair shedding?

    • I don’t exactly know why some people get a burning sensation. There is thought to be an inflammatory process happening at the hair follicles, and also the release of substance P, a pain neuropeptide. Some reports say that topical anti-inflammatories like capsaicin can be helpful. I suspect that general nutritional ways to reduce inflammation should also help (eliminate refined sugar and use herbal anti-inflammatories).
      Should be no problem to try micronised progesterone and saw palmetto under the guidance of your doctor.

    • Thanks for bringing this up Pamela. Yes, the conversion of testosterone to DHT does play a role. Interestingly, there are many natural 5α-reductase inhibitors such as medium chain fatty acids (another benefit of coconut oil), zinc, tumeric, green tea. Many of my female patients have tried saw palmetto (another alpha-reductase enzyme inhibitor), but with mixed results. I still maintain that the best approach is to support ovulation – and therefore oestrogen and progesterone. (For readers: 5α-reductase is the enzyme that activates testosterone into its more active form dihydrotestosterone or DHT).
      (The other problem is that once the hair follicles have been exposed to DHT for a long time (years), they permanently miniaturize, and cannot go back to normal. This is what happens in men.)
      I would really love to hear from other doctors on this one. Not an easy condition to treat. I feel for my hair loss patients, I really do.

      • Hi Lara

        This post has me worried now. How would i know if i have been exposed to DHT for too long? I believe I have high testosterone levels for a couple of years (never actually tested). I have had my thyroid checked, all okay. I’m overweight and doc has prescribed spiro and Metformin. I suffer from acne and hair thinning and have done for going on 3 years. I ran my pill together for two years with no period. I stopped this a year ago and have ovulated normally since, but now I’m worried if my hair will ever grow back to its former self. How can I find out? I am currently taking zinc, magnesium, omega 3 and 6. thanks

    • Progesterone is another inhibitor of alpha reductase. Quite a potent one, I think. That’s one of the ways it blocks testosterone, but as I mentioned in the article I believe that it also blocks the androgen receptor.

  125. Would it helped with the “excessive shedding” when going off the pill if one gradually went off the pill? Ie one month on one month off for a couple of months?

    • Hi Sue, I don’t think that would work. (happy to hear from anybody who has tried it). The best thing is to make sure that the periods come back with normal estrogen and progesterone supply. This might mean correcting any issues that might be preventing periods – before stopping the Pill. (example iodine deficiency, low carb diet etc). A tiny bit of progesterone cream might be another way to buffer the hormonal shock of coming off the Pill.

  126. Hi Lara,

    Great that you brought up this subject. What about men with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis experiencing diffused thinning?

    • Autoimmune thyroid disease can cause hair loss in either gender. My experience with Hashimoto’s is correct the autoimmune by correcting the intestinal flora and reducing inflammation. It’s a slow process, unfortunately.

    • Hi Lara,

      Interesting to hear that damage done by the pill is cumulative. I was on the pill for 4 years, and my hair get gradually thinner during that time. I’m not sure if the pill definitely caused my thinning but I stopped taking it completely about 10 months ago. My hair has continued to get gradually thinner during that time. I have had thyriod and iron tests which have come back normal, and am awaiting results of hormone tests. Do you think it’s possible that the pill could still be affecting my hair?

      Secondly, my thyroid function test showed that my T4 level was normal but my TSH was just out of range at 0.28. Would this have an effect on hair loss? I am struggling to get a straight answer from my GP!

      Thanks
      JR

    • I was on Ortho Novum 777 for 20 years. I stopped it for 3 years and no hair loss either on or going off. However, I was sick all the time due to undiagnosed Thyroid condition ( my readings were 6 but docs said it was sub clinical and ignored it) I got put back on the pill at age 40 after having been off for 3 years but this time on LoEstrine (one of the baddies for hair loss). I got put on Levothyroxine and my health issues stopped (painful slow digestion, pain all over during and after periods that was horrible-). I had lost some hair due to thyroid issues and when I was put on Levothyroxine my hair came back in beautifully in literally 2 weeks time and I never had a hair issue since. I finally got up the courage to go off the pill in January at age 44. I went through horrible body pain,migraine headaches for 2 weeks straight etc- then in May/June my hair started to fall out. Outside of some loss with the thyroid issue which was corrected and hair grew back in I have NEVER in MY LIFE had hair issues (even on Ortho Novum) and I had beautiful thick hair. Suddenly overnight its literally gone. I am not pulling hair out of my head and my hair seems strong but I’ve lost over half of it. You can feel my scalp and I have lots of short baby hairs everywhere. I know it’s not from thyroid as my thyroid has been watched by a specialist like a hawk since going off the pill. There is denial from Doctors that this is from the pill. The only bad thing about my last blood test was AC1 test hemoglobin jumped from 5.3 to 5.6 so the doc wanted to start me on Metformin saying this could be the reason for my hair loss. However 5.6 isn’t even quite borderline insulin resistance. I am afraid to put any other drugs in my system. I eat very well and work out 4 days a week plus teach a work out class. I am scared to death my hair is going to fall out worse. I’ve made an appointment with a dermatologist. I started taking Prenatals, Biotin, B2, Saw Palmeto and now drinking green tea.

      I have read almost NO comments about women ever getting their hair back after birth control induced shedding like this. In fact I have read many comments saying their hair continued and continued to fall out. How do you know if that’s going to keep happening? I am getting married in a few months, went back to school late in life and am looking for a job while competing with hot young 20 somethings.. I need my hair back! I can say with all honesty that even when I lost a bit of hair from thyroid ( it got better right away with thyroid meds) my loss was NOT like this.. not even close. This hair is thin and fine like newborn baby hair and I can feel my scalp!

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