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Can Birth Control Cause Hair Loss?

Can Birth Control Cause Hair Loss?

Woman holding birth control pills in her hand

There are many different types of hormonal birth control treatments available, but arguably the most popular is what’s known as the “pill”.

If you have started to take this recently and you have noticed hair loss, or perhaps your hair looks a little thinner than it once did. You may be asking the question,”do birth control pills cause hair loss?”

The answer for this is a bit more complicated than a simple yes or no, while it’s true that birth control pills can indeed cause hair loss. Your specific case may be due to underlying factors which we will discuss below.

Key Takeaways

  • Hormonal contraceptives can cause hair loss, with specific types increasing the risk further.
  • The two main types of hair loss associated with birth pills are telogen effluvium and female pattern hair loss.
  • Effective treatment options are available to those suffering from hair thinning and hair loss.

Table of Contents

Can Birth Control Pills Cause Hair Loss?

The short answer to this is yes, all forms of birth control pills can cause hair loss. But there is more to understand here if you wish to prevent and improve hair loss from birth control pills.

Birth control hair loss can present itself in two main forms. Rapid hair shedding, which is caused by telogen effluvium, and progressive thinning, which is commonly linked to androgenic hair loss.

Telogen effluvium occurs when hormonal fluctuations trigger hair to enter the resting (telogen) phase prematurely, causing more hair to fall out. This type of hair loss is usually temporary and tends to resolve within a few months as your body adjusts.

Progressive hair thinning is a sign of androgenic hair loss. This is because birth control pills can sometimes exacerbate androgenic hair loss, especially if you have a genetic predisposition. Androgenic hair loss involves a gradual thinning of hair and can be more persistent. Certain birth control formulations can increase levels of androgens, which may lead to this type of hair loss. While telogen effluvium generally improves over time, androgenic female pattern hair loss may require more targeted treatment to manage its effects.

Which Hormone In Birth Control Pills Causes Hair Loss?

All birth control pills contain hormones that can affect hair growth, and some are more likely to cause hair loss than others. The ones least likely to lead to hair loss contain progestins with low androgenic activity, such as norgestimate, norethindrone, desogestrel, and ethynodiol diacetate. These progestins have a lower androgen index, making them less likely to trigger hair loss.

The main hormone associated with hair loss is dihydrotestosterone (DHT), an androgen that can cause hair follicles to enter the shedding (telogen) phase and stay there. This prolonged shedding can lead to noticeable hair loss, especially in people with a genetic predisposition to androgenic alopecia. By choosing birth control pills with lower androgenic activity, you can reduce the risk of experiencing this type of hair loss.

Is Hair Loss Permanent After Birth Control Pills?

Hair loss after coming off birth control pills depends on the type of hair loss you’re experiencing. Telogen effluvium, a common cause of hair loss due to hormonal fluctuations, typically resolves within a few months after stopping the pill. This type of hair loss is characterised by a sudden increase in shedding, but as hormones stabilise, hair growth usually returns to normal, and the shedding stops. Although you might experience an increase in hair shedding immediately after you come off and this is from the sudden shift in hormones, this will resolve itself in the next few months.

However, if your hair loss is due to androgenic hair loss, which is influenced by the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), the effects might be more persistent. This form of hair loss is often linked to genetics and results in a gradual thinning of hair over time. Stopping birth control may not reverse this process, and targeted treatments may be needed to manage it.

Does Birth Control Help Hair Growth?

In certain cases, birth control pills can actually help women manage hair loss. This usually happens when hair loss is due to a hormonal imbalance, specifically when the body produces too much testosterone. The additional estrogen provided by birth control pills can help counteract this imbalance, leading to a reduction in hair loss. By stabilising hormone levels, birth control pills can encourage a healthier hair growth cycle for those affected by hormone-related hair loss.

Treatments Available for Hair Loss from Birth Control Pills

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If you’re experiencing hair loss after taking birth control pills, consulting with a hair loss expert is the recommended first step. Our specialists can assess your condition, identify the underlying cause, and recommend appropriate treatments. Several options are available to treat hair loss caused by birth control pills:

Minoxidil: This is a popular topical treatment that can stimulate hair growth and is often used to manage hair loss. It’s available without a prescription and has shown positive results for many people.

Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy: PRP involves injecting platelet-rich plasma into the scalp to encourage hair regrowth. This therapy uses your body’s own platelets to stimulate hair follicles and promote a healthier growth cycle.

Laser Light Therapy: This non-invasive treatment uses low-level laser technology to boost hair growth by stimulating hair follicles. It can be done in our clinic or with certain at-home devices.

For severe cases where other treatments may not be effective, we offer hair transplants for women, providing a more permanent solution to significant hair loss. This procedure involves transplanting hair follicles from other parts of the scalp to areas of thinning or baldness, creating a natural-looking result.

At Aventus Clinic, our experts can help you explore these treatment options and tailor a plan that meets your specific needs, ensuring you receive the best care for your hair loss concerns.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, oral contraceptives can cause hair loss. This can happen due to hormonal fluctuations that trigger hair to enter the shedding (telogen) phase prematurely, leading to a temporary increase in hair loss known as telogen effluvium. Some birth control pills can also exacerbate androgenic hair loss, especially in women with a genetic predisposition. The level of risk varies based on the type of pill and your individual response to hormones.

In some cases, birth control pills can help stimulate hair growth or reduce hair loss. This typically happens when hair loss is due to hormonal imbalances, such as high levels of testosterone. Birth control pills that contain estrogen can help balance hormones, potentially leading to a reduction in hair loss and a healthier hair growth cycle.

Certain birth control pills can increase female pattern hair loss, also known as androgenic alopecia, especially if they contain progestins with high androgenic activity. This type of hair loss is characterised by a gradual thinning of hair and can be more persistent. Birth control pills that raise levels of androgens like dihydrotestosterone (DHT) may contribute to this type of hair loss.

Birth control pills with low androgenic activity are the least likely to cause hair loss. These include pills containing progestins like norgestimate, norethindrone, desogestrel, or ethynodiol diacetate. Because these progestins have a low-androgen index, they are less likely to increase androgenic activity, reducing the risk of hair loss. If you're concerned about hair loss, consider discussing these low-androgen options with your healthcare provider.

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