What You Need to Know When Dealing with Postpartum Hair Loss

Becoming a mother can be very rewarding and simultaneously very challenging. Your body is going through a whirlwind of changes, and in the middle of all this you do not expect your hair to start falling out in clumps. But for some women it does.

This is referred to as postpartum hair loss, telogen gravidarum, and telogen effluvium. This excessive hair shedding occurs most often between two and four months after giving birth, and according to statistics from the American Pregnancy Association, between 40 and 50 percent of women are affected.

But what is the reason for this postpartum hair loss? We asked Dr. Christine Carlan Greves, a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist practicing in Orlando, Florida. Dr. Greves has been working with a lot of these cases and is familiar with postpartum hair loss.

“When a woman is pregnant, she has a lot of extra hormones in the body, including estrogen,” she says.

postpartum hair loss
Shedding hair as a post-baby reaction is something that cannot be prevented but it is however a condition that is a temporary one.

“The estrogen helps protect us from losing our hair. Then when she has the baby, there’s a sudden change in the hormone levels, including a drop in the estrogen. And this shift can cause a response in the body that may affect the hair cycle,” she continues, adding that breastfeeding might also be a contributing factor to excessive hair shedding.

“When breastfeeding, the prolactin levels are increased. That hormone, that is responsible for breast milk production, has been associated with hair loss as well”, Dr Greves explains.

Shedding hair as a postpartum reaction cannot be prevented but is however a  a temporary condition. While it does correct itself after some time, it certainly does not hurt to take extra care of your hair during this period. The following remedies are ones that you can easily do at home.

 

Things To Do When Dealing with Thinning Hair

    • Use a Volumizing Shampoo
      Volumizing shampoos tend to contain something called dimethicone, which is a silicone-based polymer that coats and seals the hair. While this does not stop hair from shedding, it will give your hair the illusion of looking fuller to compensate for the temporary thinning.
    • Condition Light
      When conditioning your hair, make sure to only condition the roots. If you condition the strands further out as well, it will weigh the hair down, making it easier to break and fall off.
    • Stimulate Your Scalp
      Use massage to increase the blood flow to your scalp, but also invest in a scalp treatment that will help you clear all the dead skin cells around the hair follicles. This will make the hair follicles stay open, which will promote hair growth.
    • Choose Softer Hairstyles
      Do not pull your hair back too tightly, as the traction can lead to hair loss. Try putting a scarf over your hair instead of ponytailing it.
    • Invest In a Supplement
      Biotin seems to be the natural choice for many people looking for a supplement to help with their hair. But why not try a hair supplement that contains biotin AND other natural ingredients? Nutrafol’s supplement contains enzymes naturally found in the body which help nurture healthy hair growth. It is designed to provide essential nutrients for growing healthy hair and targets the potential triggers of thinning hair. Note: Nursing mothers should wait until they’ve stopped breastfeeding to begin taking Nutrafol.

So if you are currently experiencing postpartum hair loss, are not nursing, and are in the process of growing your hair back, Nutrafol may be a great addition to help your hair remain healthy and strong as it begins to naturally regrow.

Feeling Uninspired? These Are the Best Hairstyles for Fine Hair

hair inso

Having very thin and fine hair can pose a challenge if you like a voluminous updo or thick curls. It can be hard to create volume by yourself, without the help of a professional. But many people with thick hair envy you! There are a ton of hairstyles that are easier to create and that look better on someone with thin hair. We have a list of the best hairstyles for fine hair.

  • The Angled Cut

If you cut thick hair at an angle, especially if you have shorter hair, it tends to blend together in thick waves and it is hard to even see the shape that the hairdresser had in mind. If the hair is curly, the effect is even less visible. However, this is a perfect cut for those with finer hair, as every strand falls into place. An angled bob also creates an illusion of thicker hair, thanks to the different layers and lengths. If you also add some waves using a curling iron or rollers, it will definitely add more body to the look.

Hairstyles for fine hair
Bangs and a Medium length.
  • Bangs and Medium Length

Having bangs with thick hair is kind of a challenge. Most of the time, they do the opposite of what they are supposed to and bend one way or the other. Many people with thick hair also have frizzy hair, which may not be the look you want when cutting bangs. But cutting bangs to a medium length hair, is one of the best hairstyles for fine hair. With thinner hair, the bangs will just fall down and create a relaxed and chill look. This will also make the hair around your face look fuller. You can make tousles in the rest of the hair using saltwater spray, or go the other direction and straighten it to the max. Either way looks good with well-behaved bangs.

  • A Feminine Ponytail

This is another hairstyle that is perfect for those with fine strands. Make the ponytail hight on your head and wrap a strand of hair around the hair tie to hide it. If you curl only the ends of the hair you will make them bouncy and achieve that retro look. If you want to add more volume, start off by using a dry shampoo close to your scalp and tousle your hair.

  • A Very Short Bob

A short bob cut – or if you are really brace, go even shorter an try a pixie – is definitely easier to pull off if you have thin hair. The hair is easier to shape and does not demand a lot of attention to look good. The angles and layers that it takes to cut this kind of hairstyle also makes your hair look fuller.

bob cut
A bob cut.
  • Blow-Dried Curls

The thing with thin and fine hair is that hairstyles – like curly ones – last longer because the hair is not heavy enough to weigh the curls down. Using a curling iron, or – better for your hair health – foam rollers or braids, to create waves will immediately create an illusion of more action. Blow-drying your hair after washing it while using a round brush to make waves will give it volume. Make sure to use a volumizing mousse and finish with a lightweight spray to fix the look.

  • If You Can’t Be Bothered to Style Your Hair

If you lack the time or energy for a lot of styling, be happy that thin hair can look good with minimal effort! Many of the best hairstyles for fine hair do not really demand much.

But – if you suspect that your hair is thin for some other reason than your genetics, looking over your health is a good idea.

Female hair loss is quite common, but most of the time it has an explanation and a solution. Hormonal changes, vitamin deficiencies, stress or pregnancy can all cause hair thinning in women. A healthy diet is important to fight this, as well as enough sleep and a checkup to make sure there is no medical reason. A natural hair supplement could also aid healthy hair growth.

Female Pattern Baldness – An Overview

female baldness

Up to 50 percent of men experience hair loss before hitting 50. Yes, that many, and yes, the issue is that common – as are the treatments. Everything from transplants costing thousands of dollars; to the well known drug Propecia, with its libido-losing side effects; to faithful natural solutions that are long-lasting because they work on making the entire body healthy rather than focusing only on the hair.

The main type of hair loss for both genders is androgenetic alopecia, also known as female pattern hair loss or male pattern hair loss.

Female pattern baldness may not be as common, but for those affected it can be even harder, as a shaved head is sometimes not a desired look among women as it is for men. No matter the reason for the hair loss, the anxiety and stigma that follows with female pattern baldness is stressful for many.

What is Androgenetic Alopecia?

Harvard Medical School wrote this about androgenetic alopecia:
“As the name suggests, androgenetic alopecia involves the action of the hormones called androgens. Which are essential for normal male sexual development and have other important functions in both sexes, including sex drive and regulation of hair growth. The condition may be inherited and involve several different genes. It can also result from an underlying endocrine condition. Such as overproduction of androgen or an androgen-secreting tumor on the ovary, pituitary, or adrenal gland. In either case, the alopecia is likely related to increased androgen activity. But unlike androgenetic alopecia in men, in women the precise role of androgens is harder to determine.”

What Causes Female Pattern Baldness?

The causes are many, including medical conditions, medications, and physical or emotional stress. When the clinicians explain female pattern hair loss, they most commonly use the Ludwig Classification from 1977. The Ludwig Classification divides female pattern hair loss into three categories:

  • Type I is mild, with minimal thinning that can be camouflaged with hair styling techniques.
  • Type II moderate and is characterized by decreased volume and noticeable widening of the mid-line part.
  • Type III is extensive with a see-through appearance (sometimes total baldness) on the top of the scalp.

 

Almost every woman will eventually develop some kind of female pattern hair loss. When it occurs will depend on your DNA. For some it can start as early as puberty, for others during menopause. The risk rises with age, and the risk is higher for women who have a history of hair loss on either side of the family.

What Can You Do?

The most common treatment is through medication – here are some of them:

Anti-androgens
Some anti-angrogens are Aldactone and Propecia, but these androgen receptor-blocking drugs are not really for women to use. There are only a few studies on what affect they have on women, which means little reliable evidence that they are effective or even safe. Therefore these options are really only open to men.

female hair loss
Almost every woman will eventually develop some kind of female pattern baldness. When it will occur, depends on your DNA.

Iron Supplements
When women lose hair, iron deficiency can be one of the causes. Get your clinic to test you and see if you are short on iron. If the iron level is less than 70 nanograms per milliliter, then your doctor may suggest taking an iron supplement.

Botanical Supplements
Going green is always a wise suggestion. Botanical supplements contain many of the nutrients your hair needs. These kind of supplements are usually sourced from herbs and vitamins that go along well. The ingredients target the potential triggers of thinning hair and provide your hair with the essential nutrients it needs to stay healthy.

Menopause Symptoms and Hair Loss – How They Are Connected

Menopause Symptoms

Menopause is inevitable, but many women are not aware that hair loss is one of the symptoms of this phase. Unlike male pattern baldness, female hereditary hair loss is subtler and more spread out over the whole scalp. This makes it more difficult to notice, but also harder to treat in time since you may not know about it. But luckily, there are steps you can take to avoid losing your hair.

What Are the Most Common Menopause Symptoms

This physical change in women occurs around the age of 50. But signs of what is coming can be noticeable years before, sometimes as early as in your 30’s. Some menopause symptoms include hot flashes, irregular periods, trouble sleeping, mood swings, forgetfulness and physical changes. The hair and skin will get drier and thinner, and the hair can even start falling out.

Why Do We Lose Our Hair During Menopause?

Menopause symptoms are mainly caused by a change in your hormones. As you get older, your body produces less of the female sex hormone, estrogen. This starts in the period leading up to menopause, known as the perimenopause. Then, when you have not had your period for a full 12 months, it counts as menopause. The ovaries have then stopped releasing eggs and stopped producing most of the estrogen. During the years following this phase, the symptoms slowly cease. This period goes by the name of postmenopause.

The female hormones estrogen and progesterone help our bodies produce hair on our head. They also keep the production of androgens, a male sex hormone, at bay. But when the female hormones decrease, androgens increase. This contributes to hair thinning on the head and increased hair growth elsewhere.

Other Contributing Factors

But there are other possible factors that can cause hair loss during this time of life, and they are the ones we can do something about. Some menopause symptoms include depression, fatigue, insomnia, and irritability.

Increased Cortisol Levels

When we are depressed, stressed or not getting enough sleep, our bodies produce more of the stress hormone cortisol, which is known to cause hair loss. Reducing stress, eating well and getting enough sleep is important if this is the reason for our hair loss.

Thyroid Disorder

Make sure that you are not confusing your menopause symptoms for a thyroid disorder. The two conditions share many symptoms, and treating one could actually help the other.

The thyroid is a gland in our neck and is responsible for the thyroid hormones T4 and T3, also called the beauty hormone, which affects our skin, nails, hair and overall health.

When you have an over-active thyroid, it is called hyperthyroidism. The symptoms of this disorder include weight loss, a more rapidly beating heart, irritability and heat intolerance. Hypothyroidism is when you have an underactive thyroid, and these symptoms are even more similar to those of menopause. You could feel more tired than usual, get an irregular period, gain weight, feel depressed, cold and lose hair. To find out for sure what the cause of your symptoms is, go to your doctor and get diagnosed.

Medications That Can Cause Hair Loss

If you take certain medications, and in some cases birth control pills, they can also cause hair loss. That means that your struggle to defeat menopause symptoms will not have any effect on your hair. Look over your medications and see if they could be the real cause of why you are losing hair.

Check the Health of Your Scalp

You might have a scalp disease, like scalp fungus, which sometimes causes hair to thin or fall out.

If you lack a vital nutrient or do not eat a sufficiently nutritional diet, your hair growth could also be in danger.

Menopause Symptoms and Hair Loss
Menopause symptoms are mainly caused by a change in your hormones. These hormones include estrogen and progesterone that help our bodies produce hair on our heads.

What to do About it

To cure hair loss, look at the whole picture. Is your diet healthy enough? How much exercise are you getting? Do you take any medication with hidden side effects? Do you feel stressed or depressed? If you are sure that menopause is the culprit, the problem can still be helped by adding some extra nutritious food, vitamins or a hair supplement.

Use a Topical Scalp Treatment

You can also get a topical treatment to apply to your scalp, which can help getting your hair growth back on track.

Protect Your Hair from the Elements

Protecting your hair from weather and wind is always a good idea. Wear a hat in the sunshine and a scarf when it is windy and cold. Very dry or hot air wears the hair out, and the sun damages not only your skin but also your hair. You can also use a sun protection spray if you spend a lot of time out in the sun.

Laser or Surgical Treatments

In severe cases of hair loss, there are options like laser treatment or surgical procedures like hair transplants and hair cloning to consider.

Avoid Worrying About It

But above all, try to stay calm, keeping in mind you have options. Often when we worry, we stress ourselves out and the effect causes the problem to get worse. The majority of symptoms related to menopause slow down after the initial onset.

This is How You Will Prevent Hair Loss on Your Vacation

Are you afraid that too much fun in the sun can lead to brittled hair and hair loss? Nutrafol gives you the foundation that you need to prevent hair loss on your vacation. So besides from prepping your body with vitamins and nutraceutical ingredients, this is also what you can do:

Give your hair some much needed hydration

Hydration is key because lack of moisture causes hair to expand and frizz, leaving it brittled. There are a few medical causes of brittle hair like malnutrition and hormone imbalances, but the most common causes of brittle hair are the elements. UV rays, chlorine, chemicals — all of these things attack our hair on a daily basis. If your hair is brittle it is easier for it to break and in some cases, even fall of. Before heading out in the sun, make sure to put some UV protecting oil in your hair.

prevent hair loss
Putting some UV protecting oil on your ends, even entire hair, will help you prevent hair loss on your vacation.

Avoid brittle hair and prevent hair loss on your vacation

The foundation to healthy, hydrated hair during the summer, is a protein-based treatment mask that you should apply at least 2-3 times a month. When you have applied the mask, use heat activation for the best results since it allows the proteins to penetrate and internally repair the structure of your hair. You can use heat from a blow dryer, steam from the sauna at the gym, or why not the beautiful summer sun?

After shampooing and conditioning use a leave-in conditioner as well, says Morgan Willhite, Creative Director at Ouidad. I call this the ‘base’ of your hairstyle, Morgan continues. The ‘base’ helps seal in the moisture by filling in any dry areas and taming the texture. Coarse, kinky and/or dry textures should use a cream leave-in conditioner.  This will smooth the texture in preparation for a styling product. Fine, curly and/or wavy textures should start with a base created with a liquid spray leave-in conditioner, which adds moisture without weighing down the curl pattern. Preparation is key. Therefore, by starting with these simple steps, you will tame the summer hairdo and prevent hair loss on your vacation.

Thinning Hair in Older Women – Why Does Hair Thin with Age and What Can We Do?

thinning hair in older women

One of the chief complaints of women as they age is the appearance of their hair. Thinning hair in older women is something that many just accept as the way of life. What was once lush becomes drier, thinner, and less voluminous. There are several possible causes for hair becoming thinner as one ages, some of which can be helped.

Hormonal Changes – the Most Common Reason for Thinning Hair in Older Women

As women age, the levels of estrogen they produce begin to decline. Estrogen does several things that promote thick hair. Therefore, the loss contributes to thinner hair in several ways as well. First, estrogen lengthens the growth stage of hair. This means more follicles of hair are growing at a given time when estrogen production is at an ideal level. It also stimulates the growth of new hair, after the old hair has shed.

Estrogen plays an important role in the overall appearance of hair. It is easy to see why an imbalance could cause hair to begin to look thinner over time. There is very little that can be done to increase the natural production of estrogen once menopause has started. However, many natural and synthetic forms of estrogen can be taken to increase estrogen levels.

Thinning Hair in Older Women
Often the reason for thinning hair in older women is hormonal imbalance. Estrogen can be taken as a supplement.

Nutritional Deficiencies – Nutrients are Processed Less Efficiently

As women age their bodies begin to process nutrients less efficiently. Many vitamins and minerals are necessary for hair growth. Iron and Vitamin C are good examples of this.

Iron deficiency has been linked to hair loss in several studies. As the body ages, it can become more difficult for it to obtain the iron it needs from foods. The deficiency can then lead to thinner hair. Interestingly, a Vitamin C deficiency can contribute to the iron deficiency. This is because, without enough Vitamin C, the absorption of iron from foods such as red meat becomes more difficult.

There are a great number of nutrients that play a part in thinning hair in older women. In addition to iron and Vitamin C, getting enough magnesium, B vitamins, selenium, niacin and zinc is important. Some deficiencies can be helped with a diet change or nutritional supplements. Nutrafol is a supplement that contains Vitamin C, Selenium and Zinc – among other things.

Stress Can be a Factor with Thinning Hair in Older Women

As we age our stress levels increase. Additionally, realizing that we are aging can cause additional stress. High levels of stress over a long period leads to increased cortisol production. This can have an negative impact on hair growth and lead to hair appearing thinner.

Cortisol is a hormone created in response to all types of stress. High levels mean that the body is busy producing this one hormone. And therefore producing less of the hormones that promote healthy hair growth. By reducing stress levels, it can be possible to reduce the cortisol levels and bring the body back to balance. Some methods for stress reduction include physical activity, enough amounts of sleep, and laughter.

As we age, it is not uncommon for women to become more aware of their physical appearance and how it is changing. While many women dread the changes, some steps can be taken to keep a youthful look. Healthy hair is one of the most visible signs of our appearance. With attention to diet and supplements, it can be possible to help hair regain some of the fullness of youth.


Featured image by Romana Klee

Dealing with Cancer and Hair Loss, Part 2

Cancer and hair loss

For many people with cancer, hair loss is a necessary evil. In the previous text, Anne Sarte shared her story of how she was fighting hair loss during her cancer treatment. Here is the continuation of her series of articles on cancer and hair loss.

Cancer and Hair Loss Part 2

During that late afternoon when my dad invited a barber over so I could have a haircut in the privacy of my own home, I felt that the gathering dusk heightened the pensive mood that everyone in the room seemed to have. My entire family was there to provide support. It was like an event that one had to witness and I tried my best to embrace the moment as positively as I could.

Most cancer patients experience hair loss as a result of chemotherapy. While people who do not have cancer may have varying stages of alopecia at some point in their life, those undergoing treatment are most vulnerable to hair loss because the chemicals used to target cancer cells also destroys hair cells.

The cocktail, that combination of burning chemicals that was injected into my body, was like an M240 machine gun shooting both good and bad cells at the rate of 950 rounds per minute. My hair follicles, which were in charge of producing my hair by dividing every 23 to 72 hours, were no match for the assault weapon and were clearly collateral damage.

It was then that I realized that it was only a matter of time before it would attack not only the hair on my scalp but also my eyebrows, lashes, the hair on my arms, legs, armpits, and even those in the nether regions. Well, at least there is no need to be terrified of the infamous Brazilian wax!

Cancer and hair loss
Hair loss due to chemotherapy not only affects the hair on your head, but also lashes, eyebrows and all the hair on your body.

Someone once asked, “How can I control my life when I cannot control my hair?” It is a perfect metaphor for people who need some organization in their lives, but what happens if one does not have hair, or has lost it in the battlefield of chemotherapy? Does that mean that one has lost control over one’s life? For most patients, cancer and hair loss go hand in hand. It seemed very much so as I clutched clumps of falling hair in the shower during those days. There were days when my health, like my hair, was slipping through my fingers and waxing philosophical just became a hobby.

The barber took out his trusty electric razor and started parting what was left of my hair in sections. I heard the whirring of the razor before it landed on my head, much like a lawn mower does on a grassy lawn. My lawn was now in patches and desperately needed some serious makeover.

I tried to peep at my family through wisps of hair hanging on my forehead. My son, who was 12 at that time, was a mix of awe and good humor at seeing his mom turning into a skinhead. My dad, though, looked serious, and my mom had that look in her eyes that I knew was borne out of sadness and pity. It was then that I took in a deep breath and knew these were the people I wanted to have beside me at a time like that. As the remaining patches of hair fell gently on the floor, I could not help but shed a tear.

I had lost all my hair, but in the process of fighting against cancer and hair loss, I found myself and a lot of other little lessons along the way.


Text by Anne Sarte

This was the second part in a series of three. Part three will be published in two days.

Photo credits: Jose Martinez via Flickr

arianne leishman via Flickr

Female Hair Loss and How to Prevent it

Female hair Loss

Female hair loss may be less observed than men’s, but nearly 40 percent of all women experience visible hair loss or thinning hair by the age of 40. Hair loss can be devastating – it can make you feel depressed or fill you with anxiety in social situations. What if there was a way to help slow down the process or to take preventative measures before its onset?

Top 4 Causes For Female Hair Loss

Hormonal Changes: Menopause, new medications, birth control, pregnancy, thyroid conditions, stress, genetics, and surgery.

Hair Products: Overuse of flatirons, curling irons, blow dryers, hair products, relaxers, and chemical coloring products.

Poor Nutrition: Iron deficiency, crash dieting, fatty foods, and too much sugar intake can all cause hair loss in women.

Traction Alopecia: This is a hair condition caused by wearing your hair in very tight ponytails or applying daily force on it – topknots or tight headgear are common causes.

What Can I Do About it?

Female pattern baldness affects millions of American women. The Savin Scale is a common measurement that can define the density of the hair as a whole. It can determine what range your head of hair falls into and ranges from normal to bald. Which range you fall into can determine what your next steps can be to help prevent the situation from worsening.

Caring For Your Hair and Scalp

If you are suffering from significant female hair loss, just starting to lose your hair, or have thinning hair, don’t give up! You can help prevent or even reverse hair loss by making a few changes.

Consider eating better. Stock up on foods containing healthy nutrients like Omega-3 fatty acids, iron, protein, and foods rich in vitamin B. Be sure to eat nutrient-rich foods like eggs, fat fish like salmon, mussels, fruits, vegetables like carrots and spinach, beans, and lean meats.

Take care of your scalp, and massage it. This helps with blood circulation and keeps the scalp moisturized. Use your favorite oil if you like and move in gentle circular motions, massaging for five to ten minutes per day. Use this same technique when shampooing.

Female hair Loss
Blow drying your hair or using other heated styling tools can cause your hair to break.

Be kind to your hair, and avoid heated hair tools and too many styling products. Air-dry hair when you can. This helps prevent the hair shafts from breaking off and can make your hair look fuller.

Switch your hair part. Just changing the direction of your hair can make it look like it has way more volume and help mask a bit of the thinning.

Change your brush. Using brushes with boar bristles or flexible nylon are better for your hair than metal ones, which can overheat when used in conjunction with blow dryers, or cause breakage with their hard bristles.

Don’t Give Up

There are many ways to help prevent female hair loss. Times have changed and hair health remedies are becoming plentiful. Choose what works best for you – you’re in control! Many modern hair supplements contain only natural ingredients that help provide nutrition from the inside out. Healthy hair growth is a stepping-stone to helping you feel better about yourself, boost your self-esteem and confidence.

The Role of High Prolactin Levels in Hair Loss and Hair Health

high prolactin levels

Prolactin is a hormone secreted by the anterior pituitary gland and its major function is to stimulate milk production in women after childbirth. However, recent studies have also shown a connection between high Prolactin levels and the health of our hair – or lack thereof. It has been observed that higher levels of serum Prolactin are associated with excessive hair loss in the human body.
Hyperprolactinemia, i.e. high levels of Prolactin, is a normal change during pregnancy and breastfeeding, but in non-pregnant women it can be a sign of disease. This condition leads to progressive hair loss because of its effect on the levels of testosterone in the body.

Prolactin acts by increasing the receptors of Luteinizing Hormone in the Leydig Cells, testosterone producing cells that are found in men‘s testicles and women’s ovaries. The increased testosterone secretion can cause hair loss in certain individuals because their hair follicles are genetically more sensitive to the elevated levels of the hormone, which causes the follicle to shrink.

 

Research on Hair Loss Due To High Prolactin Levels

In a recent study, organ-cultured human scalp was treated with a very high dose (400ng\ml) of Prolactin. The normal level of Prolactin is below 18ng\ml in men and 29 in women. The result was a significant decrease in the elongation of the hair shaft along with more hair prematurely moving into the catagen phase, when the hair gets cut off from its blood supply and stops growing. There was also elevated Apoptosis, which is increased natural cell death of the hair bulb keratinocytes (cells in the skin with a protective function), which can lead to hair loss.

 

high prolactin levels
While pregnant and breast feeding, it is normal to have higher prolactin levels but for non-pregnant women it can lead to hair loss.

Reasons for Increased Prolactin Secretion

Hyperprolectinemia can be caused by the following:
• Prolactinoma, a non-cancerous swelling of the pituitary gland, which leads to increased secretions of Prolactin.
• Increased secretion of TRH (Thyrotropin-Releasing Hormone) due to Hypothyroidism, stimulates the secretion of Prolactin.
• Excessive use of anti-depressants such as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), Benzodiazepines (such as Alprazolam, Diazepam and Lorazepam), and Tricyclic Antidepressants (such as Imipramine, Amitriptyline, and Nortriptyline).
• Any psychotic disorder or chronic anxiety syndrome.
• During pregnancy and lactation there is increased secretion of the hormone Oxytocin which in turns stimulates increased secretion of Prolactin.
• Increased levels of Estrogen during the end of the gestational period also causes elevated levels of Prolactin. Paradoxically, Estrogen is also said to prolong the growing phase (anagen phase) of the hair cycle, which is why women’s hair can be thicker during pregnancy. More on Estrogen and how it affects the hair can be found in this article.

Reasons for Decreased Levels of Prolactin

• Excessive exposure to sunlight can decrease levels of Prolactin in the body.
Increased release of Dopamine by the Hypothalamus also inhibits Prolactin’s secretion.

 

Pharmacological Treatment of High Prolactin Levels

One recent study has shown that use of Dopamine Receptor Agonists such as Bromocriptine, Cabergoline, Pergolide and Quinagolide significantly reduces the levels of Prolactin in the body due to increased secretion of Dopamine.
All of these dopamine agonists have the same mechanism of action and minimal side effects. However, studies have shown that Cabergoline has the highest efficacy and drug tolerability for children and adolescents. Hence, Cabergoline should be the drug-of-choice for the treatment of Hyperprolactinemia, especially in young children and teenagers.
High Prolactin levels are emerging as a potential reason for increased hair loss in many people. Hence, levels of Prolactin should be checked in case of massive hair loss or Alopecia in order to treat these issues accordingly.