Millions of women use “the pill” each year, but very few are aware that birth control is a common cause of hair loss for women using contraceptives.
How can birth control pills effect my hair?
Birth control works by suppressing ovulation using the estrogen and progestin hormone. However, women predisposed to hormonal related hair loss are at a greater risk than those who are not.
Some women can experience hair loss strictly while on birth control pills. Others may experiences it several weeks after they stop taking them. All women, especially those who have a history of hair loss in their family, should speak with a physician about the effects of birth control pills on normal hair growth.
Can other contraceptives cause hair loss?
Their are several other forms of hormonal birth control aside from ‘the pill’. However, they too, have a significant potential for causing hair loss. Below we’ll explore their composition and their relationship with female hair loss.
Note: any medication or therapy that alters women’s hormones including, but not limited to, contraceptives can cause hair loss.
Norplant are small rods placed surgically beneath the skin usually on the upper arm. These progestin implants release a continuous dose of the progestin hormone to prevent ovulation for two or five years. One of the known side effects includes hair loss.
Depo-Provera are large hormone injections given into the muscles of the upper arm or buttocks every three months. The injection prevents ovulation and can cause continuous hair loss while in use.
Ortho Evra is a skin patch on your shoulder, buttocks, or other locations and continually releases progestin and estrogen into your body.
Lastly, Nuvaring is a flexible vaginal ring about 2 inches in diameter inserted into the vagina releasing both progestin and estrogen.
A good rule of thumb is that women looking to prevent pregnancy should use low-androgen index birth control pills if there’s a history of genetic hair loss in their family. Additionally, non-hormonal forms of birth control can be used as a safer alternative.