Your Menstrual Cycle And Hair Loss

Period hair loss is something that many people complain about, whether it is before, during, or after the period. More or less, it’s understood that it has something to do with your changing hormone levels.

However, there are other ways in which your menstrual cycle can influence your hair growth. And this is especially if you have heavy or irregular periods. 

Other than losing hair, many people also feel that their hair feels oilier and stringier. But that’s just due to the increased sebum during your menstrual cycle. Although, in the right conditions, even excess sebum can cause hair loss

In this guide, you’ll learn more about period hair loss and what you may do to stop or even prevent it. 

What Causes Hair Loss During Period?

You may experience hair loss during your menstrual cycle due to the following: 

Hormone Changes 

Different hormones in your body interact in different ways to regulate your “menstrual cycle.” It refers to the time period between your first and last period and starts on the day you bleed. 

At the beginning, however, the two main hormones – oestrogen and progesterone – are at their lowest. But with the start of the first phase of the cycle (follicular phase), the oestrogen levels climb up.

Menstrual cycle

This lasts for 16 days on average, according to a study published in Nature, after which your ovaries will release the egg (ovulation). Following that, there’s the second phase of the cycle (luteal phase) in which progesterone goes up and oestrogen goes down. 

And if you don’t get pregnant, your progesterone levels will now drop, leading to what you know as your period. 

Now, these fluctuations in hormones may end up causing hair loss. Changing hormones can shock your system, resulting in a type of hair loss known as telogen effluvium. It can result in diffuse and excessive shedding

More Sebum 

More sebum doesn’t make you lose your hair like you’d think. 

In fact, it’s fairly innocuous (for the hair) unless there’s too much of it. In that case, sebum can end up clogging your pores. 

Greasy hair

And that can affect your hair growth as well. This problem can be especially exacerbated if you already have a problem with your sebum production (like hyperseborrhea)

It should also be noted that excess sebum can cause other problems, such as seborrheic dermatitis. That can also cause hair loss due to intense itchiness. 

Stress 

Hormonal changes involved in your menstrual cycle can cause anxiety and depression. And that can also lead to hair loss.

Young person stress

Premenstrual syndrome or PMS is the less severe form of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), and both can cause a range of physical and emotional symptoms. 

For instance, PMS can also cause mood swings and irritability. And the far more serious PMDD can even make women feel suicidal. 

These stresses can also end up causing different types of hair loss, such as telogen effluvium, alopecia areata or trichotillomania

For instance, one retrospective study published in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics found worsening of trichotillomania in women before their periods. But it got better during the period and right after. 

How Do Heavy Periods Cause Hair Loss? 

Heavy periods can cause anaemia, which can cause hair loss. According to a study published in the Journal of Mid-Life Health, perimenopausal with anaemia most commonly report heavy periods. And this is mainly because of the blood lost during periods.

Blood test

The result is iron-deficiency anaemia, which, in turn, affects the production of oxygen-carrying haemoglobin in red blood cells. The poor supply of oxygen to your hair will end up affecting its growth if you have anaemia due to heavy periods. 

Here, it should also be noted that heavy periods can be caused by different health problems, such as:

These conditions can also directly or indirectly cause hair loss. For instance, high levels of androgens in PCOS can contribute to pattern baldness

An interesting research published in JAMA Dermatology also found a link between uterine fibroids and central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia (CCCA)

How Irregular Periods Cause Hair Loss?

Disturbances in the duration of the menstrual cycle result in irregular periods. This can happen due to different reasons that have to do with your hormones. 

According to the NHS. irregular periods can be caused by puberty, menopause, hormonal contraception, pregnancy, weight changes, and health problems like PCOS. All these can cause hair loss. 

In most of the cases, it’s temporary telogen effluvium, but it can also be permanent. 

Is It Normal To Lose More Hair During Your Menstrual Cycle?

Normal hormonal fluctuations are part of every menstrual cycle. If the hair loss results from that, you might almost consider it a part of your cycle. 

However, if you’re still losing a lot of your hair, it’s always better to get in touch with a medical professional. Hair loss during your period can also be a sign of underlying illness. 

How To Stop Hair Loss From Periods? 

To stop hair loss resulting from your menstrual cycle, it’s important to get a medical diagnosis of its underlying cause. 

If it’s telogen effluvium, you might not need any treatment. However, minoxidil or even platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections might be recommended to you since they can be helpful. 

For your greasy hair, you should make sure to keep your scalp clean. Some even recommend using a dry shampoo to absorb the grease.

Shampoo

But you should be careful about how much you use it. Dry shampoo may also cause hair loss by clogging the pores or over-drying your skin. 

For stress, you can consider trying stress-management techniques (like yoga, meditation, deep breathing, etc.). 

But if you have PMS, your doctor might prescribe hormonal contraceptives, antidepressants, NSAIDs, etc. For PMDD too, hormonal birth control and antidepressants might help. 

On the other hand, if you have anaemia due to your heavy periods, you might be recommended iron supplements. 

Treating the nutritional deficiency will also help stop hair loss. But you’ll also need treatment for the underlying cause of your heavy period. 

How To Prevent Period Hair Loss?

It might not always be possible to prevent period hair loss. However, there are some things that might help: 

  • Have a healthy diet 
  • Have an active and healthy lifestyle 
  • Keep your scalp clean 
  • Don’t tie your hair too tightly 
  • Don’t use heat styling tools too excessively 

These measures may also prevent your hair loss from worsening. 

Conclusion 

Periods are stressful enough as they are, and hair loss because of them can feel like an extra burden. 

There are different reasons why you may experience hair loss in your menstrual cycle. And some of the processes that occur during it are inevitable. 

However, with some causes of hair loss, there are some things that you can do to help it. In any case, if you’re losing your hair, make sure to consult a qualified and experienced medical professional. 

Reviewed and Approved by Trichologist Yaprak Yazan

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