Hair loss is a common problem that has many causes. Birth control can be one of these causes, especially if you have recently stopped using it.
Getting hair loss after stopping birth control can be very frightening. Some women lose nearly 50% of their hair when they stop.
Therefore, knowing why hair loss happens after stopping birth control and what you can do about hair loss caused by this is vital information. Let’s begin with why stopping birth control causes hair loss.
What Causes Hair Loss After Stopping Birth Control?
Most people on birth control are aware that it affects a woman’s hormones. There are five hormones that control and regulate your menstrual cycle. The two hormones most people are aware of are estrogen and progesterone.
These are more known because birth control works by affecting these two hormones. Estrogen is tied in with your ovaries, causing them to prepare an egg. Meanwhile, the progesterone signals for the egg to be released and keeps your cycles regular.
Many birth control products work by delivering a constant stream of estrogen, progesterone, or both to your bloodstream. This is meant to trick your ovaries into thinking they are still on the same cycle. Therefore, they don’t feel the need to release an egg down to where it can be fertilized.
Fewer people know that two of these hormones directly affect hair growth. Estrogen and progesterone are part of what keeps your hair in its growth cycle. This is why some women using birth control have less hair shedding.
Their hair is constantly receiving a signal that it should keep growing instead of moving to the next phase. Unfortunately, once you stop the birth control, you will have a sudden decrease in these hormones.
This gives your hair the signal that it should be ending the growth cycle and going into its resting stage. Sometimes, all the hairs that would have otherwise left the growth cycle a few at a time all fall out at once when this happens.
The result is severe hair fall when much more than the normal amount of hair follicles leave the growth stage. If you’ve been on birth control only a short amount of time, your hair follicles may not be affected as much, but there’s no guarantee.
What To Do About It
The good news is that, in most cases, the hair you lose after stopping birth control is not gone forever. It can take half a year for your hair regrowth to reach what it was when you first stopped contraceptives. However, most women don’t have to do anything to achieve hair regrowth.
That said, sometimes your hair needs assistance regrowing, and this assistance doesn’t harm your hair even when not needed. The first thing is to eat healthily and make sure you are consuming the nutrients your hair needs.
Hair growth supplements can help tremendously with hair loss caused by stopping birth control. Even better are hair supplements specifically for women who need help balancing their hormones. The two options here are menopausal hair supplements and supplements for women who have just given birth.
Both of these supplement types are for women whose hormones are out of balance for different reasons. Your doctor might know which would be better for you, or you can choose whichever one you prefer.
Next, you should treat your hair gently. Don’t pull it too tightly, use chemicals on it, or cause traction damage by wearing tight hats. You also shouldn’t use heat or dyes on your hair, as all these things cause damage. Healthy hair can handle this, but hair that is recovering will be set back in its progress.
If you want to do more for your hair growth, you should decide if you want to stick with natural remedies. These include hair masks, rinses, scalp massages, shampoos, and things like that.
Hair loss treatments that should help but are not natural include minoxidil, red light therapy, Rogaine, and other medications. If possible, it is best to stick with natural options in order to avoid side effects caused by medications.
A Few Helpful Tips
Unfortunately, in my research, I saw one 23-year-old woman who reported having stopped birth control shots well over a year previously. Not only had her hair not grown back, but she also reported that her mother had experienced the same problem. Thirty years later, her mother’s hair had not grown back.
Some women are extremely sensitive to any changes in their hormones. These people are more likely to have severe hair loss due to birth control. Their bodies are also going to have a harder time recovering from contraceptives.
Therefore, a good tip is to try sticking with contraceptives that don’t affect your hormones. Specifically, avoid birth control options that dose you regularly with estrogen and/or progesterone. Oral contraceptives, skin patches, progestin implants, and vaginal rings are birth control options that do this.
Birth control options that don’t affect your hormones include male and female condoms, cervical caps, and almost all the different spermicide options. These contraceptives are not always effective as hormonal types, so you may wish to use more than one type.
Also, there are other symptoms you should watch for when stopping birth control. These can provide an indicator of when your hormones are getting back on track. Some of these symptoms include acne, mood swings, irregular cycles, heavier period, anxiety, weight gain, and more.
It can be a good signal that your hormones are balancing out when these other symptoms start resolving themselves. Your hair will take longer before you start seeing regrowth, but that should happen after the other symptoms disappear.
Finally, there are situations where you must use birth control that affects your hormones. Those with athletic amenorrhea, for example, are often prescribed contraceptives to help control their symptoms. In this case, ask for ones with a low androgen index.
Hair loss can happen within days of stopping birth control, or you can only start noticing hair fall months afterward. This can make it hard to determine the cause. If you are in doubt, hormone tests can be done by your doctor, who may also have you do other tests to see if anything else is contributing to your hair loss.
Something you should always do is mark on your calendar when you start or stop any type of medication, make any changes in your diet, or anything else that can affect you. This helps you better see what might be causing your hair loss.
So, did you get hair loss after stopping your birth control? Did your hair regrow on its own, or are you still struggling with hair loss? Let me know in the comments.