Can progesterone cream cause hair loss?

hairHair loss is a common symptom associated with the post-menopausal years. It comes in various forms:

  1. hair becomes thinner and lighter coupled with difficulty in styling,
  2. alopecia where the hair actually comes out from the roots leaving bald patches and
  3. male pattern baldness where hair is lost at the temples and the crown of the head.

The low estrogen levels associated with menopause cause weakening of the connective tissues from breakdown of the collagen, protein and elastic fibers in it. These are what gives your skin, hair and nails their strength and suppleness.

Can progesterone cause hair loss if used to treat menopause symptoms? On the contrary, progesterone helps to your body’s normal hair pattern. It helps to normalize zinc and copper levels which are essential for healthy hair.

hair loss in womenThe average woman loses 50 to 100 strands of hair per day naturally. On days that you wash your hair, you lose on average 250 hairs per day. These hairs are replaced and you never notice a change in your hair. However, if you have abnormal hair loss, you are losing way more strands of hair per day and this is evident by the stray hairs you find on your pillow when you wake up, hair left in your comb, and what you see going down the drain in your bathtub. Not only that, but you can see the hair loss on your scalp when you look in the mirror. There is a variety of reasons for hair loss in women. These reasons vary from hereditary causes, medical and emotional problems, and self-inflicted damage to your hair.

Female Pattern Baldness

One of the main causes for hair loss is female pattern baldness. This hereditary condition affects nearly 20 million women in the US alone. Typically, hair loss caused by this does not start until you are in your fifties or sixties; however, it can occur at anytime. Hair loss in women is often different from hair loss in men. Generally, men notice receding hair lines, whereas women often notice the top third or half of their scalp is thinning or completely balding.

When hair is shed naturally, a hair of the equal size replaces it. In female patter hair loss, if the hair is replaced, it will be with a thinner and finer strand of hair. Your doctor can diagnose this type of hair loss by examining the scalp with a magnifier. If you have female pattern baldness, the doctor will see that your hair follicles vary in size from small to large. If you have a family history of this and are starting to notice thinning spots on your scalp and an excess of stray hairs, talk to your doctor. Early detection of this can help you slow down or stop continued loss of hair.

Medical Conditions that Cause Hair Loss in Women

The top three health conditions that could be causing your hair loss include pregnancy, thyroid disorder, and anemia. Autoimmune diseases, PCOS, and psoriasis could also be the cause of your thinning hair. If you are under a great deal of stress, you may notice you are losing more hair than you should as well. People who have drastically lost weight over a short period may also notice hair loss.

It has also been reported that if you take too much Vitamin A you are also susceptible to abnormal hair loss. In some situations, treating these problems can help to stop the loss of hair and potentially allow hair to grow back in the thinning or bald areas. However, this is not always the case. In some instances, treatment of the medical conditions may only slow down or stop the loss of hair.

Things you are Doing May Cause Hair Loss

As a woman, you are probably doing one or several things to your hair that could be causing damage and breakage of the hair. Having a hairstyle that pulls on your hair, such as cornrows or tight braids, could lead to breakage and thinning hair. Aggressively towel drying your hair can also cause your hair to break, as can blow drying it. The types of chemicals you put on your hair can also lead to hair loss. By reducing these bad habits, you may quickly see a regrowth of the lost hair over a short period.

Hair loss in women can be very embarrassing. In many cases there are interventions you can put into place to stop the loss of hair completely and your hair will grow back. In other cases there is nothing you can do, short of hair transplants, to have a full head of natural hair. One of the best ways to reduce the severity of hair loss and possibly regrow hair that has already been lost is to speak with your doctor if you feel you are losing an abnormal amount of hair. Simple blood tests and health screenings are generally all that your doctor needs in order to diagnose the reasons for your hair loss. Early detection is vital.

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  1. Hi Leslie
    I would highly recommend you have your thyroid (TSH3 and TSH4) checked.
    From everything I have read when women go through menopause their thyroid is thrown off.
    I was sure my hair loss was from menopause and then from estrogen and prorgestrone cream I use.
    I had my thyroid checked and it was very very low. My doc put me on thyroid meds and my hair stopped falling out.

    • Carole, pls tell me what meds and what dosage you used to get your hair to grow back..i have lost loads of hair..

    • Be careful with Thyroid drugs. My doctor put me on them and it made my hair fall out in clumps!! Endocronologists always say your thyroid is low – if above 2. Ridiculous. I was poisoned by Synthroid and it took forever for that avalanche of hair to stop falling out!!

  2. I am finding this all very interesting. I am 39 and have been struggling with hairloss for about 6 years now. I first noticed my hair shedding at the age of 33. My dr. tested all my levels and said my estrogen was too low so put me on Prempro. My hairloss remained the same if not worse, and my moodswings unbearable and my periods a nightmare! At age 35 I had a complete hysterectomy, removal of uterus and ovaries. For the past 4 years I have tried all kinds of hormones. First there was Premarin, then Estrotest which was great but Im sure my testiserone was too high, because my hairloss was worse! Went off testosterone for a year but no change. Then I found someone who prescribed bioidentical hormones. I am currently on Estrogen/progesterone/ and small dose of testosterone. For 2 years they have been trying to adjust my dosages, but the hairloss continues. I am now using Topix fibers to try to hide my thin spots on top of my head. It works great but what will I do when I don’t have any hair at all? After reading everyones comments I am going to try just estrogen without progesterone or testosterone and see how that goes. Any other suggestions would be appreciated.

  3. whenever i take synthetic progesterone pills (i am on micronized progesterone and a low dose estrogen patch), no matter what dosage i’m taking, from 25microgram to 100micrograms, my hair falls out noticably and my hairline will be very thin (especially the top of my head). my hair will feel very limp and my scalp hurts. whenever i stop my progesterone, my hair grows back in and no more bald spots on my head.
    there is a lot of information out that that claims that progesterone helps prevent hair loss, but that it is obviously not the case for all women. it would be nice if anyone can explain what is going on and what i can do to prevent hair loss when i’m on progesterone. i’d rather endure hot flashes than have thinning hair.

    • Suzie,
      I came across your post and wanted to know if you ever found an answer? I am in the same situation and found another forum and a woman told me to take more Progesterone cream! 100/200mg a day!! I am scared to take more, I was depressed..foggy thinking, and have major hairloss now!

  4. All three times I have taken progesterone in any form, I have had horrible hair loss. The first two timers were with a low estrogen BCP. The last time, I used a progesterone cream with phytoestrogens. I used this cream for 7 months and my hair loss continued for 16 months at a rapid rate, causing me to wear a wig. In my case, my estrogen levels are aleady low but my progesterone levels are not. Therefore, using progesterone makes no sense. Although I am now seeing a bioidentical hormone specialist, who should know better, he put me on estrogen (Biest) and progesterone cream. I told him I would not take the progersterone which made him angry and he gave me the prescription anyway. After taking only the estrogen for 2 months, my hair shedding is finally almost normal (about 15 hairs lost after shampooing rather than 80). I just saw him today and he finally agreed that I need to (stop) progesterone. It is WRONG that companies make the statement that progesterone doesn’t cause hair loss. That is only the case with instances of estrogen dominance.

  5. Janice Collinson

    Hi, just read your post and I too, at the age of 56 and five years post-menopausal, have started losing my hair. Extensive blood tests have shown I have no abnormalities but I go back on Tuesday to see doc as I was going to ask if HRT might at least stop my loss. Reading about it, it seems progesterone is a no-no but that oestrogen might help.
    Sorry I am not able to help, I just thought I would tell you you have many sisters out there going through the same. I have resorted to using Toppix fibres which i must admit works brilliantly for me at the moment, disguising my very thin crown area to the extent that my friends and family are amazed. However they work by thickening available hair and soon there will not be enough to work with. I tried a Nanogen crayon pen for my ever increasing parting and would not recommend this…too block-coloured and unnatural.
    Let us hope and pray for more research into female hairloss and more understanding from the medical fraternity. It is such a very sad situation isn’t it, to lose our crowning glory. Good luck to all of us out there feeling this pain xxxJan

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