Some hair loss is normal for any head of hair. But sometimes, hair loss has nothing to do with genes or lifestyle but everything to do with hormones. One of those hormones is progesterone. Progesterone is a sex hormone that's important for many bodily functions. It helps regulate the menstrual cycle, promotes fertility, keeps bones strong, and, yes, encourages hair growth. So, if you're experiencing thinning hair, you guessed it— you may be low in progesterone.
There are different causes of low progesterone, but the main one is menopause. Menopause is a natural biological process that happens to every woman at some point in their lives. Women officially enter menopause after not having a period for more than one year. Menopause occurs because of a dramatic drop in estrogen and progesterone. Once this drop occurs, women usually have menopausal symptoms. These can include one or more of the following:
Hair loss is a symptom of menopause but not talked about as much as, for example, hot flashes or weight gain. Hair loss for women can also present itself differently than it can for men. For example, rather than losing big clumps of hair in one spot, women's hair can thin throughout the scalp.
Thinning hair can take a toll on self-esteem, self-worth, and motivation. Baldness can have a similar effect on men, but it happens more often and is more accepted. Women have these beauty standards of living up to, and thinning hair can cause mental health issues and self-consciousness about appearance.
Hair loss during menopause is the result of low progesterone and estrogen. These hormones promote hair to grow faster, thicker and stay longer on the scalp. Conversely, a decrease in progesterone causes androgens to increase. Androgens are male hormones that shrink hair follicles to cause hair loss. Adversely, sometimes androgen can make hair grow on the face. It can look like peach fuzz or little sprouts on the chin.
Besides menopause, low progesterone has other signs, including:
If you're experiencing hair loss or any of the above symptoms, contact your doctor to have a blood draw to test for low progesterone.
Each hair follicle has a cycle of growth divided into three main stages: the anagen, the catagen, and the telogen.
The anagen is a growing phase and can last for years. After that comes the transition phase or catagen. Once through the catagen phase, the resting phase occurs (telogen). The last stage is the exogen or shedding phase. The most extended phase is the anagen phase, and between 85-90% of the hair in this stage unless you have an issue with growth.
But if there's more hair loss than growth, then thinning hair can occur. Progesterone, along with other hormones, promotes hair growth in the anagen phase. Since women produce more progesterone during pregnancy, women report having softer, more luxurious hair. But when entering menopause or due to stress or poor lifestyle, lower progesterone levels directly affect the anagen stage of the hair cycle.
If you're interested in increasing progesterone to encourage hair growth, you can achieve this naturally by following one or more of the following tips.
Stress is a silent killer that can affect every aspect of your well-being. When you live in a state of stress, your body produces more cortisol, a.k.a the stress hormone. Cortisol is necessary to help you face danger or overcome a stressful situation.
But if you live in a constant state of stress, this fight or flight response takes a toll on your mind and body. One way that having too much pressure can reveal itself is through hair loss. Taking the time to reduce stress may encourage hair growth and boost progesterone levels.
Water helps with a great many things, and one of them is hair growth. Drinking enough water each day flushes the skin and body with nutrients and moisture. It also helps with hair growth and hormonal imbalance. So instead of reaching for coffee or soda, drink some water. Water consumption is always a good idea and way to boost health naturally.
Getting a restful sleep has profound effects on your life. Recent research showed that getting enough sleep throughout one's life helped lower the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. It can also significantly lower stress levels and have a positive effect on hair growth.
As a general rule of thumb, men and women need 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Without this consistent sleep, all kinds of health concerns can happen, from simply feeling drained to losing one's hair. Getting your zzzs may be the best decision you can make.
One natural way to increase progesterone levels is taking a high-quality progesterone supplement. In addition, hormone therapy is a commonly used way for men and women to boost naturally without tons of side effects.
Progesterone creams mimic the exact hormones produced (yet missing) in the body. Your body doesn't know the difference between the ones made by you or the supplemented ones. Transdermal creams infuse progesterone with natural ingredients that feel soothing on the skin. It's a low-cost way to grow hair.
If you're experiencing hair loss or thinning hair, you may have low progesterone levels. Progesterone promotes hair growth by boosting hair follicles in the anagen stage of hair growth. Low progesterone levels can occur due to menopause, stress, poor diet, and a lack of sleep. The best solution is to take a progesterone supplement to increase levels naturally. Then, it's time for all that hair to come back!