Your hair seeks public attention, pushing women to get a hold of expensive products for their mane. Yet, many people are still ignorant of the underlying truth of hair growth. Hair quality depends on your body's internal processes. Sex hormones are among the chemical messengers affecting hair growth.
Women both have male and female sex hormones, and many studies associate high androgen levels with poor hair condition. Dihydrotestosterone or DHT, a testosterone variant, has been known to affect hair growth. DHT wraps around your follicle receptors, causing them to shrink and die. Thus, an increase in DHT production in the body can adversely upset hair growth.
However, many researchers have also sought the wonders that the female hormone, known as estrogen, can offer for your mane. How can this female sex hormone affect hair growth? Discover more about estrogen and its effects on hair quality.
Estrogen, the Female Hormone
The female sex hormones, known as estrogens, are the chemical messengers responsible for female reproduction. The ovaries of the female gonads mainly secrete these hormones.
Since estrogens are sex hormones, they regulate the menstrual cycle. With the help of estrogens, a woman becomes capable of giving birth. Aside from reproduction, estrogens are also in charge of emerging female sexual characteristics, from breast development, widening of the hips, pubic hair growth.
Estrogens also have other vital responsibilities in the body. These sex hormones also control cholesterol formation, aid bone development, stimulate sex drive, and promote blood clotting. Thus, you need enough estrogens to keep your body at work.
There are different forms of estrogens. The three main female sex hormones estrone, estradiol, and estriol, have different functions.
Out of the three estrogens, estradiol is the most abundant in the body. This endogenous hormone primarily regulates menstrual cycles and develops secondary sexual characteristics, especially during puberty.
On the other hand, estrone is a weaker estrogen that balances estradiol and estriol production in the body. Estrone production becomes more active in the early stages of puberty, as well as the menopausal period. This type of estrogen also regulates body fat distribution. Thus, when your estrone levels fluctuate, you may experience sudden weight gain.
The weakest estrogen known as estriol is considered your pregnancy hormone, as it prepares your uterus and your body for childbirth. High levels of estriol can be detected in a woman's placenta.
These estrogens have long been known as regulators of gonad development and sexual reproduction. However, many women are still unaware of estrogen's wondrous effects on hair growth.
Learn more about the adverse effects of low estrogen levels on hair growth.
Hair Growth Effects of Lower Estrogen Levels
1. Slower Hair Growth
Estrogens prolong the follicle growth in the anagen stage. The more estrogens, the livelier, and thicker your hair follicle growth becomes.
Postnatal and menopause are two of the most crucial periods in the life of a woman, and during these times, very few estrogens are produced by the body. Low estrogen levels mean insufficient hair growth.
During pregnancy, a woman's hair becomes so thick and luscious that you refer to this hair growth change as 'pregnancy glow.' Estrogens, especially estriol, are active and abundant around this period. Your female sex hormones then rapidly decline after pregnancy. In turn, slower hair growth becomes another postpartum effect.
On the other hand, women in their late 40s or early 50s may notice changes in their menstrual cycle. Estrogen production in their ovaries starts to decline. This adverse change will most likely delay hair growth.
2. Thinning Hair
Estrogens are essential managers of hair growth. They regulate your hair growth cycle, especially the growing phase. These hormones specifically are responsible for thickening the fatty tissues underneath the scalp, which retain moisture and protect your follicles.
As time goes by, your skin becomes thinner, thereby damaging the follicles below the scalp. Having your follicles injured can affect your strands' quality, causing them to become more delicate and more brittle. Therefore, your body lets the androgens do the extra work for stimulating hair growth. However, an abrupt demand for testosterone may cause your body to overproduce DHT and further destroy the scalp's subcutaneous fatty layer. Thus, it is a must to keep estrogen levels to avoid excess androgen production.
3. Dry and Rough Texture
Women need enough collagen to prevent undesirable changes in their skin and hair. Collagen is an essential protein responsible for maintaining different structures in the body. Your hair needs the amino acids found in the collagen for keratin production.
Collagen also moisturizes the strands, giving it a smoother and softer texture. It promotes sebum production, which keeps your strands smooth and shiny. However, collagen production needs help, most notably from estrogens. Without enough estrogens, there will be no sufficient collagen to prevent your locks from having a dry and rough texture.
4. Female Hair Loss
Losing your hair strands will always be devastating news to anyone. It's a hair problem one must avoid at all costs. However, certain factors, like having low estrogen levels, can trigger hair loss.
Life after pregnancy can be a fiasco for female hair. Estrogen production is reset after giving birth. Temporarily, there will be no more surges of estrogen levels. Estrogen production is mainly limited to avoid impeding your body's milk production. When the supply of estradiol and progesterone declines, fewer follicles stay active in the anagen phase, forcing more follicles to rest and shed.
Women in their menopausal stage are at risk of female hair loss. Estrogen levels also decline, but this time, hormonal production will never be the same again. When a woman is in her menopausal period, her ovaries gradually lessen estrogen production. After menopause, female gonads no longer create much estrogen, which can lead to more hair casualties.
Increasing Estrogen Levels: Ways to Solve the Hormonal Problem
Insufficient estrogens can be alarming to womanhood. This deficiency can also impede healthy hair growth. What must be done to solve this hormonal problem? Learn several ways to increase your estrogen levels.
1. Enrich your diet with estrogen-stimulating foods.
Some foods contain phytoestrogens, plant-based chemicals that can imitate estrogen in the body. They can bind on alpha and beta estrogen receptors. Many fruits and vegetables are rich in phytoestrogens, such as carrots, cranberries, and strawberries.
Legumes like soybeans, sesame seeds, dried beans, flax seeds, and mung beans also have high phytoestrogen content. Among these legumes, pure soybeans have high levels of isoflavones, another class of phytoestrogens. A 2017 study also discovered the health benefits of flax seeds against ovarian cancer.
Thus, ensure that you always consume enough phytoestrogen-packed meals to keep your ovaries and hormone production safe and well-functioning.
2. Consume enough vitamins and minerals for estrogen production.
Vitamins and minerals are also influential contributors to estrogen production. What nutrients must your body always have?
The vitamin B family is essential in stimulating estrogen production. Studies have found that vitamins B2 and B6 can reduce the chances of getting breast cancer.
Basking under the sun also benefits your female sex hormones. Vitamin D, or the sunshine vitamin, helps regulate estrogen production.
Research confirms that high levels of vitamin D lower the risk of ovarian and breast cancer development because of reduced progesterone and estrogen. However, a drop in vitamin D levels can also hamper estrogen's other internal functions, including hair growth.
Minerals like calcium and boron are also vital nutrients in increasing estrogen levels. Studies show that your calcium intake profoundly influences the number of estrogen metabolites. Boron is another mineral responsible for sex hormone metabolism.
3. Opt to undergo Hormonal Replacement Therapy.
Therapies are procedures necessary to treat medical conditions. Having estrogen-related problems can stress you out, affecting your hair and overall health.
If your body can't produce enough female sex hormones, you can choose to undergo Hormonal Replacement Therapy (HRT). This program involves estrogen and progesterone consumption to treat hormonal imbalance.
This treatment comes in various forms: tablets, patches, implants, gels, with ingesting pills being the most widely used and easiest method.
HRT can especially benefit women experiencing the adverse effects of menopause. It is known to reduce symptoms like hot flashes and mood swings that occur before and during menopause. An increase in estrogen levels also improves the blood circulation in the body, allowing more nutrients to reach different parts of the body.
However, HRT also poses health risks. Science shows the adverse effects of long-term HRT. Women become more susceptible to endometrial and breast cancers and heart diseases. Therefore, consult your doctor before opting to take HRT.
Estrogen, Every Woman's Hair Growth Savior
Hair growth will always be one of the most complicated processes in the human body. Thanks to your female sex hormones, healthy hair growth continues to flourish. With estrogens, women can attain the beautiful locks that they always deserve.
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