5 Ways Hormones Can Affect Your Hair5 Ways Hormones Can Affect Your Hair

5 Ways Hormones Can Affect Your Hair

Hormones regulate how the body functions. So when hormone levels are off, you could notice a shift in metabolism, sleep, heart rate, emotional stress, reproductive organs, body temperature and mental health.

Unfortunately, hormonal imbalances can also encourage hair loss. Melissa Lee, founder of NHP Trichology Growth Services, explained, "Our bodies are imperfect machines, and hair loss can come from either producing too many or too few of the hormones that we need for balance. These imbalances can throw normal bodily processes out of whack, including the natural hair growth cycle."

Physical changes that seem unexpected, such as hair loss, can signal a hormonal imbalance, so it's essential to check in with your doctor for an accurate diagnosis, but you can also implement daily measures to boost your hair's wellness. So let's dive into all this, plus learn more about the products you should use to combat thinning hair.

How Hormones Impact Your Hair

Here's more on how hormonal imbalances can affect your hair:

1. Menopause

Menopause often begins once a woman hits her late 40s and can cause hormones to act erratically. Unpleasant symptoms, such as sleepless nights, mood swings, hot flashes and hair loss can result. Menopausal hair loss is incredibly common and tends to trigger hair thinning rather than patchy bald spots.

Cosmetologist and hair expert Ghanima Abdullah explained, "Two hormones decrease with age, estrogen and progesterone. Unfortunately, they're the same hormones responsible for keeping hair on your head. This is why, as women age, there is usually thinning hair that goes along with the process." As the hormones decrease, androgen (a group of male hormones that can elevate testosterone levels) increases. Androgens tend to shrink hair follicles, trigger hair loss and make the hair feel more brittle.

2. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

"Many women suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal imbalance condition that causes androgenic alopecia hair loss," said Lee. "Women with PCOS produce higher-than-normal amounts of male hormones."

Unfortunately, with PCOS, the additional androgens trigger excess hair on the face and body and cause thinning hair and hair loss around the front and sides of the head. But it's important to remember that this type of female pattern baldness isn't the only symptom of PCOS. You might also experience ovarian cysts, excess weight gain, acne and/or irregular periods. If you're experiencing one or more of these symptoms, make sure you seek out a diagnosis from a trusted doctor. They can then help put together a treatment plan to help you manage the condition and any hair loss associated with it.

Read More: Experiencing Hair Loss Due to PCOS? Here's What You Can Do About It

3. Thyroid Disorders

Two types of thyroid disorders exist — hypothyroidism, which signals an underactive thyroid, and hyperthyroidism, which signals an overactive thyroid. Hypothyroidism has explicitly been connected to hair loss as it causes the cell turnover in the body to occur at an average rate but grow back very slowly. Dr. Yasmin Akhunji, a board-certified endocrinologist with Paloma Health, explained, "Thyroid hormones (thyroxine and triiodothyronine) are responsible for regulating cellular metabolism, meaning the set of chemical reactions that occur in our cells to maintain normal functions. This includes our hair and skin cells. When the thyroid gland is functioning correctly, hair follicles can regenerate themselves, going through the phases of growth, regression, shedding, then growth again."

She continued, "But, your hair follicles may not be stimulated as much as they need when the thyroid starts to overproduce or underproduce hormones. This thyroid hormone imbalance can result in hair loss—including body hair or eyebrows."

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When an underactive thyroid is at play, the lack of hormones can shock the body into the telogen hair phase. Telogen effluvium occurs when the hair follicles enter the resting stage of growth too early — it means you might experience a bought of hair loss in a short space of time. Alopecia areata is also commonly associated with thyroid problems and can leave the hair looking patchy and uneven.

This type of hormone imbalance hair loss connection can be particularly frustrating because the hormonal medication prescribed to balance things can actually encourage hair loss in women, instead of acting to restore hair growth. If you're worried, always consult your health care professional and endocrinologist.

Related: If Your Eyebrows Are Thinning, It Might Be Your Thyroid

4. High Stress Levels

It's no secret that toxic and intense stress can wreak absolute havoc on our bodies. It can cause hair follicles to get stuck in the dormant phase of hair growth (telogen effluvium), so you experience hair thinning and more hair loss than usual. When women experience intense stress, the adrenal glands overwork and increase the need for cortisol production, which is the stress hormone. At the same time, the body produces fewer hormones that promote hair growth. Research shows that this overproduction of cortisol affects hair growth by disrupting the function and cyclic regulation of the hair follicle.

Thankfully, stress-induced hair thinning often eases off once the stress dissipates. With some simple lifestyle changes and a targeted hair wellness routine, regaining thicker hair can quickly become a reality.

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5. Other Hormonal Imbalances

Female pattern hair loss and hair loss, in general, can occur when the sex hormones (the androgens, estrogens and progestogens) are affected by life events.

My Story: Birth Control, Stress & COVID — My Hair Thinned at Age 23

Birth Control

Different medications can cause different side effects. Most birth control pills contain synthetic variations of the female hormones estrogen and progestogen. Women who are particularly sensitive to the hormones present in these pills could experience unwanted hair loss. You might also struggle if baldness or alopecia areata runs in your family. If you're unhappy with the side effects of your birth control pill, always reach out to your prescriber for informed advice.

Related: Is Your IUD Causing Hair Loss?


When you're pregnant, you might experience a luscious, healthy head of hair as high levels of estrogen flood your body to help you manage your teeny tiny passenger. You might feel like you have more hair than usual because hair fall slows, and blood volume and circulation increase. 

Once your baby is born, however, you could experience postpartum hair loss as your hormone levels drop back down. This type of hair loss in women can feel particularly prevalent because of the excess volume you experienced when pregnant. "Trichology offices are filled with women who suffer from postpartum hair issues and see their hair fall out in large patches after giving birth," said Lee. If you're going through postpartum hair loss, make sure you pump your diet full of healthy fruits, proteins and vegetables and boost your intake with nourishing supplements.

What to Do if You're Losing Hair?

Female hair loss doesn't have to signal the end of your glossy locks; you can make changes to help your hair retain its health.

Maintaining a healthy weight can help lower the androgen levels in your body. For example, exercising for just 30 minutes three times a week can help women with hormonal hair loss (particularly those with PCOS) issues reduce their weight and, in turn, slow down hair loss. Exercising can also help reduce symptoms of menopause.

Diet plays a massive role in maintaining proper hormone levels. If you are chronically stressed, it may lead to nutritional deficiencies as your body cannot absorb nutrients, which may also cause hair loss. Finding healthy outlets for stress, such as yoga, meditation and journaling, can also help.

Remember, you're not alone, a hormonal imbalance can affect anyone at any time. But, if related symptoms are giving you cause for concern, always contact your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment options. Then, follow up with a daily routine that includes a healthy diet, stress reduction techniques and shop hair wellness products that can help encourage thicker, fuller-looking hair.


Photo credit: Vlada Karpovich/Pexels

Disclaimer: Information in this article is intended for general informational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek professional medical advice from your physician.