Your hormones are responsible for so much that goes on in your body but which ones are a threat to your hair? We look closer.

 

The Endocrine System

Nothing was known of hormones until the very start of the 20th Century. While the rest of their countrymen were trying to get over the death of Queen Victoria a couple of English physiologists, William Bayliss and Ernest Starling, were investigating what triggered the production of digestive juices by the pancreas. Up until their work it was thought it was a function of the nervous system, Bayliss and Starling cut all the nerves to the pancreas in a test animal and showed the juices were still produced.  Their understanding was that a chemical messenger was transported via the blood and into the intestinal lining, from where it was secreted when food passed through… which in turn prompted the pancreas to produce the juice.

They named the secretion “secretin” and a few years later Bayliss would coin the term Hormone, from the Greek to mean “set in motion” or “urge on.” Their discovery would turn out to be the first step on the road to discovering the entire endocrine system, where various glands produce a range of hormones which we now understand incredibly well – it is responsible for our growth, our sleep cycle, the fight or flight response as well as our appetites for food, sex and reproduction. 

Hormones and Hair Loss

Hormones come directly onto the hair loss radar because they control aspects of our health which can have either a direct or indirect effect on our hair.

Top of the list would be the menopause, for women it sees their oestrogen levels fall meaning the relative effect of the testosterone they produce is proportionately increased.

Pregnancy

Because of the increased growth factors and blood flow the pregnancy itself can see wonderful hair growth. This is almost invariably followed by a similar sized dip around 3 to 6 months after pregnancy which can take up to a year for a full recovery.

Underactive Thyroid

Hormones control your thyroid glands, in turn they regulate your metabolism. Produce too few and your hair will lose condition, maybe significantly. This will sometimes present with other symptoms like adding weight or lacking energy.

Stress

This disease is seemingly endemic in modern society and it’s effects can be profound. Stress hormones redirect blood towards the muscles and brain, a form of fight preparation, limiting the amount of blood available for the regular day to day work. As some of the fastest growing cells on the human body hair requires a regular supply and any restriction causes a visible deterioration. It is often one of the early warning signs that there is a problem.

HIS Hair Clinic

So there you have it. Hormones are potent and can affect our hair in any number of ways. What it does mean is that you should never assume that your hair loss is hereditary, check for the signs. If you have any doubt at all head along to your doctor for an opinion. It may be treatable or it may be an important symptom of a more serious underlying condition.

If you would like to discuss your hair loss situation with one of our team of friendly experts simply complete the contact form at the side of this page. Or click here to find your nearest clinic.

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By Ian Watson

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