Hair Loss Treatments for Women: Oral Contraceptives

Among the many hair loss treatments for women, oral contraceptives may occupy a top rank. The birth control pills may cause hair loss in some cases, but there are various types of birth control pills, and some of these will actually prevent hair loss.

Oral Contraceptives

Oral contraceptives, also known as birth control pills or BCP, are used to prevent pregnancies, but may also be used in acne treatment and other medical conditions.

The birth control pills contain female sexual hormones produced synthetically (i.e. estrogen and progesterone), and these will keep the hormonal levels high, preventing the release of an egg from the ovules. The concentration of the hormones may vary, depending on each type of contraceptive in part.

Oral Contraceptives for Hair Loss

Oral contraceptives are often the cause of hair loss in women who are predisposed to developing this condition. However, only the birth control pills that are high in progesterone will cause hair loss. The oral contraceptives that are high in estrogen will prevent hair loss and may be used to treat hair loss in women. These pills will increase the anagen phase of the growing cycle and this will stimulate the hair growth.

Consequently, the birth control pills should have an estrogen dominant and only low amounts of progesterone. Recommended BCP may include:

  • Yasmin
  • Mircette
  • Yaz
  • Desogen
  • Ortho-TriCyclen Lo

The contraceptive pills should be taken once per day.

Side Effects

Oral contraceptives can have numerous side effects such as:

  • The formation of blood clots, especially if the patient is a smoker
  • Heart stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Hair growth in other areas (thicker and darker hair)
  • Pulmonary embolisms
  • Acne flare-ups
  • Depression, the pills may decrease the levels of serotonin
  • Lack of libido or vaginal lubrication
  • High blood pressure or hypertension
  • Breast tenderness and swollen breast tissue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Skin rashes or melasma
  • Increased cholesterol
  • Gallbladder stones
  • May cause weight gain

Certain birth control pills may induce hair loss. The hair loss caused by contraceptives is also known as telogen effluvium. The hair loss is due to the change in the hormonal levels in the body. The hair loss may be experienced when the administration of birth control pills is started, or the pills are switched or discontinued.

Not all types of contraceptives cause hair loss; it all depends on the hormonal levels of the patient and the type of birth control pills used. The pills that contain low levels of progesterone and have estrogen dominant will not cause hair loss.

Other Benefits of Oral Contraceptives

In addition to preventing unwanted pregnancies and reducing hair loss, the oral contraceptives may have other benefits as well:

  • Reduces ovarian cancer risks
  • Reduces endometrial cancer risks
  • Prevents acne flare-ups
  • Reduces premenstrual pain
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