Hair loss in women is a precursor to a medical condition. Even though it is a natural process carried out by the body, excessive hair loss is indicative of a serious underlying health issue. A usual hair cycle sees shedding of about 100 hairs on a daily basis with new hair replacing it. Hair loss is considered as permanent when it cannot be reversed. There are several causes of hair loss in women such as hormonal imbalance, radiation, medication, surgery, physical trauma, stress, etc.
What is progesterone?
Progesterone is a naturally-secreted hormone in women. It is a neurosteroid that regulates various functions in the body. It plays a crucial role in preparing the body for pregnancy and regulating menstruation. The hormone is produced in the adrenal glands, ovaries and placenta. A lot of physiological changes (commonly known as PMS or pre-menstrual syndrome) is as a result of progesterone.
Relationship between progesterone and hair loss in women:
Generally, pregnant women suffer from progesterone-induced hair loss. Low levels of progesterone lead to high levels of oestrogen in women. The extreme amounts of oestrogen is then converted to androgens that are responsible for hair loss. Women suffering from PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome commonly experience high levels of androgens and typically low progesterone levels. Over time, this becomes a vicious cycle.
Progesterone therapy for hair loss in women:
Since progesterone is a natural and potent inhibitor of the enzyme 5-alpha reductase it prevents the production of DHT while intercepting the conversion of testosterone. DHT is the biological metabolite that is responsible for hair loss. The hair follicles are rich in 5-alpha reductase and reducing the enzyme would only mean blocking DHT. This way, progesterone therapy helps in repairing hair loss in women.
Symptoms of low progesterone:
Oestrogen levels are automatically augmented with low progesterone levels, which can lead to:
Women should undergo PGSN or progesterone tests to determine the levels of progesterone and obtain treatment.