One of the most common causes of hair loss is hormonal changes and imbalances. This occurs in both men and women. Hormonal imbalances can actually increase hair growth, for example, when teenagers hit puberty, a time of hormonal influx, hair can begin to grow on the face and in different areas of the body.
However, for both men and women, it has long been suspected that baldness, thinning and hair loss has a link to virility. It is true that your hair loss could suggest you are less fertile, but it’s important to fully understand the situation before you book a hair transplant and reconsider your future life plans.
Male Hair Loss and Infertility
Research confirms that men that have experienced a moderate to severe degree of hair loss can have up to 60% lower sperm count. If hair loss is at a milder stage, studies show that sperm count was only reduced by 20% in comparison to men with a full head of hair.
But Bald Men Have More Testosterone, Don’t They?
The male hormones that cause hair loss are testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is much more potent than standard testosterone, but it is how these chemicals react to androgen receptors within a hair follicle that can cause male pattern baldness, because it can extend the telogen phase of the hair growth cycle (which is the shedding stage), making hair fall out. Testosterone is also noted to play a major role in male fertility but, as we’ve already mentioned, DHT is more potent. It is not the only factor when it comes to male fertility, though as the lifestyle and diet of the individual are also very important.
Female Hair Loss and Infertility
For women, things are just as complicated. It’s important to understand the process, cause and affect of hair loss in women and its relationship with fertility. So, hair loss is its own side effect of a hormonal change. The hormonal change can also affect fertility, thus there is a shared denominator between hair loss and infertility: hormonal changes.
A natural increase in testosterone and DHT can cause hair loss, just like in men. Birth control pills that contain progesterone are commonly linked with hair loss. This is because the chemicals are an artificial replication of the male hormones which impact the health of the hair follicle, typically shrinking it so that no new hair can grow. Alternatively, a follicle with 4 hair strands could become restrictive and only grow 1 or 2 in the future. This gives off the appearance of hair loss and heavy hair thinning.
PCOS and Hair Loss
PCOS stands for polycystic ovary syndrome. This is a condition that has a strong link to hair loss and infertility, in which ovaries become swollen with fluid that affects the mobility of the eggs and regular menstruation. This mean sit can impact women’s ability to conceive.
Just like during puberty, hormonal changes can fuel hair growth in areas of the body. Some women who have PCOS experience a growth in hair on their face and body, including the back, chest and pubic region. This is known as hirsutism. In turn, PCOS sufferers are also likely to experience hair loss on their head, most commonly around the temple and parting.
Interestingly, women who have male pattern baldness run within their family are more likely to experience PCOS. There are permanent hair treatments, such as hair transplants and PRP injections that can combat PCOS hair loss, but unfortunately, there is very few options for the cysts that occur on the ovaries. Surgery is an option when the ovaries become too enlarged because they can cause great pain.