There are many forms of birth control, but one of the most popular ones is in the form of a pill. Commonly referred to as ‘The Pill’, this is actually the name of several different oral contraceptives that are currently used across the world to manage pregnancies.
These pills work through suppressing or increasing certain types of hormones. The effects of these hormones on the body are not limited to just the uterus, and can often have other effects on the body, specifically the hair.
If you have any questions about whether using oral contraceptives is right for you, it is best to ask your doctor. If you have a family history of hair loss, most doctors would recommend that it is best to use a non-hormonal method of contraception. However, your options should always be discussed with your GP or sexual health nurse before any decisions are made.
Can birth control cause hair loss?
The hormones in birth control pills can cause hairs to stay in the resting phase for too long, or enter the shedding phase too quickly, both of which can contribute to hair loss. Those who have baldness in the family may be especially susceptible to the hair loss caused by birth control pills.
There are two different forms of birth control pills, each of which contains different hormones. The first, mini pills, contain only progestin, which is a synthetic version of progesterone. The second, combination pills, contain both progestin and a synthetic form of estrogen. The synthetic form of estrogen will depend on which manufacturer has produced the pill.
These hormones, either in combination or only progestin, are what prevents pregnancies from occurring. Progestin thickens the mucus in the cervix to stop sperm reaching an egg. The synthetic estrogen, if present, stops the surge in natural estrogen that causes an egg to be released.
Unfortunately, these pills, either the mini pill or combination pill, can cause hair loss due to androgenic activity of these hormones.
What hormone in birth control causes hair loss?
All birth control pills have hormones in that can cause hair loss, but the ones with the least likely to cause hair loss are norgestimate, norethindrone, desogestrel, or ethynodiol diacetate.
These pills are the ones that have the least amount of androgenic activity, due to their low-androgen index. Androgens, specifically di-hydrotestosterone (DHT), are the hormones that make the hair enter the shedding phase and stay in this phase, ultimately causing birth control hair loss.
How long does hair loss last after stopping birth control?
Any birth control-related hair loss should have finished roughly six months after stopping birth control pills.
Immediately after stopping birth control, it is common for a lot of hair to fall out all at once. This is due to telogen effluvium, the hormonal stress of coming off the pill. As the hormones return to their original levels, this can cause a mass shedding of the hair, which will enter back into the growing phase soon after.
It is important to note that most women will not experience any hair loss after stopping their birth control medication.
Does birth control help hair growth?
Conversely, in some causes the birth control pill can help some women control their hair loss. This is due to a hormonal imbalance, largely because too much testosterone is being produced by the body. The increased amount of estrogen, therefore, helps reduce the amount of hair that is lost.
If you are experiencing birth control hair loss, then you should consult your doctor or sexual health nurse. For more information on hair loss, get in touch with a member of our team today.