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Endometriosis and female hair loss

When you begin to lose your hair, the first question that pops into your mind is likely, “What’s causing this?”. It’s easy to jump to conclusions. Maybe it’s the change in your diet, or perhaps it’s the illness that you already have. The sooner you know what’s causing your hair loss, the faster you can begin an effective treatment option. Being informed is always key!

Many women with endometriosis also experience hair loss and assume there is a link between the two. So, is there any validity to that? Learn all you need to know about endometriosis hair loss below.

What is Endometriosis?

Before understanding the potential link between hair loss and endometriosis, let’s define what endometriosis is.

Endometriosis is a very common condition that only affects women, with up to 10% of women at reproductive age suffering from it. [1] It causes tissue to grow outside of the uterus, causing very painful symptoms. Sometimes, it can lead to cysts forming on the ovaries, which can complicate issues even further.

Endometriosis and hair loss

Endometriosis Symptoms

The symptoms caused by endometriosis can range from mild to severe, and include:

  • Pelvic Pain
  • Heavy Menstrual Periods
  • Pain During Urination or Bowel Movements
  • Pain During Sex
  • Infertility

Sometimes, endometriosis goes undetected for many years because of a lack of symptoms. In some cases, women only realise they have endometriosis when they discover they are infertile.

If you suspect you have endometriosis, it’s important to book an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible, as there are good treatment options out there that can help you.

What Causes Endometriosis?

It’s difficult to pinpoint the cause of endometriosis, as doctors aren’t 100% sure of it yet. There are a couple of theories, though, including embryonic cell changes, retrograde menstruation, problems with the immune system, and complications from surgical scarring. Some people are at a higher risk of developing endometriosis, too. These are the risk factors:

  • Having started a Period at an Early Age
  • A Low BMI
  • Having Family Members with Endometriosis
  • Long Menstrual Periods
  • Short Menstrual Cycles
  • High Levels of Estrogen

Endometriosis and Hair Loss: Is There a Link?

So, onto the main question: is endometriosis hair loss a real thing? Is there a link? The truth is that endometriosis itself does not cause hair loss, but there may be an indirect link there.

How Endometriosis May Link to Hair Loss

Here are some of the ways endometriosis and hair loss may have a link:

Stress Caused by Endometriosis

Endometriosis is undoubtedly a challenging disorder to handle. It causes pain, discomfort, and emotional upset in many patients. Even if a patient doesn’t experience much pain from endometriosis, infertility problems may lead to high levels of stress. In turn, this can lead to hair loss. Telogen effluvium is the technical term for shock hair loss, which occurs when the body is under a lot of stress, causing clumps of hair to fall out quite quickly. While it’s temporary, it may be a recurring problem for someone with ongoing levels of stress.

Another Autoimmune Condition

It’s clear that endometriosis itself doesn’t cause hair loss, but other autoimmune conditions – which you may be more susceptible to – can. For example, people with endometriosis may be more likely to cause lupus, which can cause symptoms like hair loss in the patient. If you think you have an autoimmune disease linked to endometriosis, it’s always best to speak to a doctor as soon as you can.

Endometriosis Treatments

Some of the treatments for endometriosis may cause hair loss. A common treatment for endometriosis is birth control, which may cause some other side effects like the speeding up of the hair growth cycle, leading to the hair falling out. Other hormone therapies and medications may also lead to hair loss, including aromatase inhibitors and danazol. If you think your endometriosis treatment is linked to your hair loss, discuss this with your doctor.

Birthday control and Endometriosis hair loss

Other Causes of Hair Loss

The sad truth is that both endometriosis and hair loss are highly common, which means there’s a chance you are experiencing both of them without them being linked. You may have endometriosis while also suffering from hair thinning/loss due to a different cause. That doesn’t mean all hope is lost – by understanding the cause of your hair loss, you have a better chance of treating it. Here are some potential causes:

Traction Alopecia

One reasonably common type of hair loss is traction alopecia, which occurs when the hair gets pulled too often. [2] It happens when a person wears a very tight hairstyle over a long period, which can lead to bald patches. For example, wearing a tight ponytail, cornrows, or hair extensions can have this effect. It’s a difficult one to treat, but it’s generally best to start by stopping the tight hairstyle to prevent any further hair loss.

Receding hairline on women

Genetics

Sometimes, hair loss is due to something as simple as genetics. Male and female pattern hair loss are both very common. It happens due to genetics, so someone with a parent who has androgenetic alopecia is more likely to experience it themselves. The good news is there are plenty of hair loss treatment options to slow down hair loss and regrow the hair, including minoxidil and finasteride.

Nutritional Deficiencies

Do you keep track of your diet? It’s quite common for a nutritional deficiency to cause hair loss, so it’s something to consider. Sometimes, this can be easily treated by taking a supplement. It’s important also to be aware that certain nutritional deficiencies are caused by an underlying disorder. If you suspect a deficiency, speak to a doctor, as they can perform a blood test and help you understand why you have the deficiency in the first place.

How to Prevent and Treat Hair Loss When You Have Endometriosis

Do you have hair loss and endometriosis? Or do you want to ensure you don’t end up with hair loss? If so, these are the steps to take:

Figure Out the Cause of Your Hair Loss

If your hair is already falling out, your first step is to understand why. Talk to your doctor about this. As mentioned above, it could be due to medication, stress, or a simple matter of genetics. Once you understand the cause, you’ll have a far easier time picking the right treatment option.

Manage Stress Levels

Endometriosis can lead to a spike in stress levels, which can cause telogen effluvium (shock hair loss). To prevent this, try to manage your stress levels better. While this is easier said than done, there are plenty of stress-relieving methods and activities to help you manage your emotions better. Simple changes like eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and taking enough breaks can lead to a less stressful lifestyle.

Monitor Medication Side Effects

When you begin a new treatment for endometriosis, monitor any side effects that occur. This will make it easier to determine whether the treatment causes hair loss, which you can discuss with your doctor. Likely, they will be able to alter your treatment plan so that you don’t experience unpleasant side effects like this.

Try Hair Restoration Treatments

There are plenty of excellent hair loss treatments available, including minoxidil, finasteride, low-level light therapy, steroids, and a hair transplant. If your hair loss is ongoing and you can’t relate it specifically to endometriosis, one of these options may be a better bet.

Is a Hair Transplant a Good Option for You?

A hair transplant is a surgical procedure that involves a surgeon taking grafts of the hair follicles from one section of the scalp and putting them in the balding area. It’s a fantastic treatment option for people with hair loss, as it leads to permanent hair regrowth. Thanks to hair transplants, many people don’t have to take hair loss medications every day or wear wigs.

The question is, is it right for you? As we mentioned earlier, it’s always best to determine the cause of your hair loss before deciding on a treatment. If your hair loss is caused by androgenetic alopecia, a hair transplant may be the best option for you – especially if you have a healthy, dense donor area. If you want to know whether a hair transplant is the best course of action for your hair loss, you can book a consultation on our hair track app, which gives you access to conversations with the best surgeons in the industry.

Endometriosis Hair Loss: In Summary

While there is no direct link between endometriosis and hair loss, the stress or treatment options from endometriosis may cause it. It’s best to speak to your doctor if you are concerned about this!

Are you struggling to get your hair loss under control? You are not alone, and there are treatment options available to help restore your confidence. If you want a glimpse into how much a hair transplant can help you, check out our patients gallery. We are industry leaders in FUE hair transplants and have already helped multiple patients achieve a full head of hair once more.

Sources:

  1. https://www.yalemedicine.org/conditions/endometriosis#:~:text=Endometriosis%20is%20a%20common%20condition,with%20pelvic%20pain%20have%20endometriosis.
  2. https://knowyourskin.britishskinfoundation.org.uk/condition/traction-alopecia/#:~:text=Traction%20Alopecia%20is%20a%20type,pulled%20repeatedly%20by%20tight%20hairstyles.
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