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Does Hair Grow Back with HRT?

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is effective in hair regrowth when hair loss results from hormonal imbalances. By correcting the hormone levels, it is often possible to restore normal hair growth. Hair loss can have various causes, though, so HRT may not be effective in every instance. 

What Causes Hair Loss?

Alopecia can be limited to your scalp or may affect your entire body. Some of the common causes include:

  • Hormonal changes

  • Heredity

  • Medical conditions

  • Certain prescription medications

  • Normal aging

Pattern baldness is hereditary and can affect anyone, but it is more commonly seen in men. When women have hair loss, it is more commonly associated with hormonal imbalance, stress, or another cause. In almost all cases of hair loss, you can take some steps to prevent continued loss. In some cases, treatments are available to restore growth.

Androgenetic alopecia is typically a temporary condition occurring in both men and women. It is directly related to a trigger, such as stress or suffering a shock.

How the Growth Cycle of Hair Affects Hair Loss

The Anagen phase can last as long as two to seven years. During this phase, hair follicles produce growth from the roots. The Catagen phase is when the follicles transition from growing to shrinking. During the Telogen phase, hair follicles rest and prepare to enter a new growth phase. All hair growth is controlled hormonally.

Two hormones influence the growth cycle – estrogen in females and androgen in males. Low testosterone contributes to male hair loss. In women during menopause, the production of estrogen slows, and the production of male hormones increases. Lowering female and raising male hormone levels can cause hair loss in menopausal women.

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Understanding Hormone Replacement Therapy

Because the bulk of hair loss stems from hormonal imbalance, Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) can effectively treat some hair loss. For the rest of our discussion, we will concentrate on female hair loss during menopause.

During perimenopause, the female body slows the production of estrogen and progesterone. In addition to helping with hair loss, HRT might also help with:

  • Increasing libido

  • Reducing hot flashes

  • Lowering stress levels

  • Improving sleep

  • Improving symptoms of osteoporosis

HRT is available in varying dosages and forms, including:

  • Skin patches

  • Oral medications

  • Topical gels and creams

A lower or higher dose may be prescribed depending on your specific needs. HRT typically contains the hormones estrogen and progesterone. The primary purpose of HRT is to replace the hormones that a body is no longer producing due to menopause.

Risks of HRT for Hair Loss Treatment

HRT should always be conducted under the supervision of a doctor or specialist. There are many benefits to this treatment, but also some health risks you should be aware of, including:

  • Breast tenderness

  • Bloating

  • Nausea

  • Moodiness or irritability

  • Headaches

  • Vaginal bleeding

  • Increased risk of uterine cancer

  • Long-term use may increase the risk of breast cancer slightly

  • Increased risk of heart disease or stroke

  • Increased risk of blood clots

Your doctor should discuss your medical history to determine if you may be predisposed to some side effects due to your genetic history.

Estrogen HRT and Hair Growth

Sometimes, HRT using only estrogen can be helpful. It is available as pills, patches, intramuscular injections, creams, gels, sprays, and vaginal rings. This may be administered in low-dose forms and is often used to treat vaginal and urinary issues experienced because of menopause.

When combined with progesterone, the synthetic form is known as progestin or progestogen. The combined form is most often used with post-menopausal women. When prescribed in this form, HRT assists in returning estrogen levels to a healthy level to promote hair growth. 

It is also beneficial in countering the increased level of naturally occurring testosterone, which prevents thinning of hair.  

Bioidentical Hormone Therapy and Other Alternatives

Bioidentical is an alternative to traditional HRT. Using bioidentical hormones is reportedly safer because it is natural, using chemicals that are the same as what the body makes. There is no current data as to the efficacy of bioidentical hormone therapy in combatting hair loss. 

Spironolactone is an anti-androgen that halts the production of androgens. Anti-androgens work because androgens speed thinning and loss of hair. By stopping the production of androgens, the loss process is also slowed.

Cyproterone acetate may also be effective in treating hair loss. This hormone-based medication reduces the level of testosterone in women. It is often used with estradiol in birth control pills.

What’s Right for You?

Androgenetic alopecia is often treated with HRT for post-menopausal women experiencing hair loss. While HRT is not typically prescribed when hair loss is the only problem, it helps treat additional symptoms of menopause. 

It is recommended that patients complete a gynecological exam and physical exam and undergo blood tests before beginning an HRT regimen. Due to frequent changes in health insurance policies, it is helpful to contact your insurance company to verify your coverage for HRT.

Talk to Us About HRT

Discuss HRT with our Anti-Aging & Regenerative Associates doctor to learn more about HRT and determine if it is right for you. Following an evaluation, we can recommend the most appropriate way to work toward restoring your hair growth.

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