Most people know that testosterone can lead to male pattern baldness, but fewer people know that low testosterone can be just as bad as having too much. After all, your body makes testosterone because it needs this hormone.
So, does low testosterone cause hair loss? Either low testosterone levels or high testosterone levels can definitely cause hair loss.
Since hair loss for any reason can be devastating, let’s look at what low testosterone and hair loss have to do with each other.
What Testosterone Does
Testosterone exists to fulfill a number of functions in the body. It gives you facial hair, a deep voice, muscle mass, greater bone density, and many other things that give men their classic male characteristics.
It also is used by your nerves to send signals and for male fertility. In short, it is something you need to function properly.
Testosterone And DHT Levels
DHT is what is made when your body takes free testosterone and binds it with an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase. As mentioned, DHT is what causes male pattern baldness, but it also causes female pattern baldness and other problems.
The amount of DHT your body makes can be reduced by DHT blockers, which use a few different methods. One method is to reduce the amount of free testosterone in your bloodstream.
How much testosterone is turned into DHT is only partially dependent on how much free testosterone you have in your blood. It also depends on how much of the 5-alpha reductase enzyme you have in your blood.
For example, you may have a lot of testosterone in your blood flow, but if you only have a little of the 5-alpha reductase, you aren’t going to be making a lot of DHT.
With male pattern baldness, the DHT hormone attaches itself to your follicles and chokes them of nutrients, preventing them from making their hair strands.
How Low Testosterone Levels Affect Your Hair
The fact is that your hair growth relies on hormones to control its growth cycle. It is this cycle that tells your follicles when to be in the resting phase and when they should be growing.
Testosterone is an androgen hormone that, when it is in its normal range, actually helps your growth cycle. Hair loss is all but guaranteed when your growth factors get thrown off, no matter the reason.
How To Identify Low Testosterone Levels
There are many signs of a testosterone deficiency that you will see if your hair loss is due to your levels being low. All the other things testosterone does in your body will be struggling to carry on their tasks.
For example, body hair and facial hair will not be growing very well if your testosterone levels are low. You may also find yourself losing some of your muscle mass even though you are exercising and eating properly.
Erectile dysfunction and sexual dysfunction are almost certain to occur due to testosterone being a male sex hormone. Other signs and symptoms of having low testosterone include:
It is important to note that you will be far more likely to have hair loss on your body and face long before you have hair loss on your scalp. So, it is vital you pay attention to any hair loss in these areas so you can start the proper treatment as soon as possible.
What Causes Low Testosterone?
There are actually a number of things that can cause you to be low on this hormone. Diabetes and other medical conditions can contribute to this, as can many medications that you may have been prescribed.
That said, there are also some medical conditions that can directly cause your testosterone levels to be low.
Hypogonadism is divided into primary or secondary types. Primary hypogonadism is caused by an interactive prostate, due to an illness, genetics, or injury.
Mumps orchitis is a disease that can damage your testicles, as can cancer treatments. Klinefelter’s syndrome is an example of a genetic defect, and sometimes a male’s testicles simply don’t descend as they should.
Secondary hypogonadism is a bit more indirect but still results in the same thing. Your pituitary gland and hypothalamus in your brain are what tell your testicles to make testosterone.
Pituitary disorders and ones that affect your hypothalamus can tell your testicles not to produce as much testosterone.
What You Can Do About Hair Loss Caused By Low Testosterone
There are, unfortunately, more options for treating testosterone hair loss caused by too much testosterone rather than too little. However, you still have options you can use to get hair growth.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy
Testosterone injections help you have more of this hormone in your body. There are actually a few variations of this hormone. Cypionate is long-acting and can take up to eight days to get metabolized.
Enanthate is metabolized in about five days, and propionate can get into your bloodstream within a few hours. If you have hair loss or other symptoms, you will probably be injected with a blend of these so that your blood vessels will carry a continuous supply of it.
You can also get testosterone pellets, creams, or patches to help you get more into your body. With any of these, you can get some milder versions over the counter. However, you’ll need to have your doctor give you a prescription if you want something stronger.
This is used to treat hair loss by increasing the blood flow to your hair follicles. Your hair follicles need plenty of blood going to them, as this is how they get the nutrients they need to form your hair strands.
It can be used to treat testosterone hair loss by working to stimulate hair growth by helping your hair follicles get everything they need. Topical minoxidil can come in a few different forms, most of which are in a foam or liquid, so you can apply them directly onto your hair follicles.
As mentioned, different DHT blockers work differently. Ones that prevent your body from lowering your testosterone levels should, of course, be avoided if you already have low testosterone production.
However, ones that simply prevent your testosterone from being changed into the DHT hormone may help your testosterone be more available to the rest of your body. In short, a DHT blocker can be potentially helpful, or it may make thinning worse.
There are certain herbs and foods that help boost your testosterone levels. Consuming a larger amount of these should help with hair growth. Exercise also helps your body make testosterone.
Conversely, some foods and things like stress can lower the amount of testosterone you make. This includes foods like dairy products, soy products, alcohol, and other things, which you should try to avoid if you are raising your testosterone.
With hair loss being something that so many people suffer from, there are many products out there for hair thinning. There are hair loss supplements, hair loss shampoos, hair loss serums, and many other treatments for hair loss, like platelet-rich plasma.
While some of these treatment options may not help you get more testosterone, they can help your scalp quite a bit. This can make it easier to get a full head of hair.
A Word Of Warning
If your hair loss is from low testosterone, you can all too easily over-treat your problem. Remember that male pattern baldness, also called androgenetic alopecia, can be worsened if your DHT levels rise.
This means that, if you swing your testosterone pendulum in the opposite direction even a little too far, you will end up with hair loss caused by androgenetic alopecia before you’ve even had a chance to grow new hair strands.
This is what makes testosterone and hair loss so tricky to deal with, and why you should talk to your doctor and schedule regular testosterone tests and keep an eye on your hair thinning.
Testosterone and hair loss are undeniably linked together, probably more closely than you previously thought. This is why it is important to avoid treating testosterone levels as the villain, even if you have male-pattern baldness or female-pattern baldness.
Though low testosterone is less likely to cause thinning hair in women, any type of hormonal imbalance can affect your hair follicles and cause hair loss.
If you’ve had this problem and have found something you think helped treat hair loss caused by low testosterone, I’d love to know what treatments you used to get hair regrowth!