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  • # 124
 

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TITLE
  • Exercise and Hair Loss
 

 

FROM
  • HairSite Editorial
 
DATE
  • 6/18/00
 

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In this day and age, nothing that you do seems right anymore. Now more and more people are suggesting that exercise can increase hair loss. The underlying reason is that exercises increase your testosterone levels which in turn increases the formation of DHT, a derivative of the male hormone that most in the medical world believe to be the culprit for most loss in most people.

In an article by Michael Regan for Dreamlife, he mentioned how exercises can elevate one's testosterone levels. Similarly, Dr. Pickart, world's leading authority on copper peptides techology, indicated that high level exercise training may cause hair loss. Specifically,  "in women, severe exercise tends to reduce estrogen and raise testosterone. This can lead to a stopping of the menstrual cycle and more brittle bones. While there are many positive aspects of exercise training, this effect on hair should be kept in mind since it can increase the rate of hair loss. "

For some reasons, exercise seems to affect women more than it does for men.  Although our discussion gruops do have several posts from men who linked their hair loss to exercise, a majority of the posts regarding exercise and hair loss seem to come from women. One explanation is that women tend to be more vulnerable to shifts in hormone levels and are thus more sensitive to any testosterone-boosting  activities, whether it be exercising or otherwise.

One should be careful not to vilify exercising in general as a cause of hair loss. Exercise is good for anyone, but rather it is over-exercising that should concern us.

It is extremely difficult to diagnose if your hair loss is a result of over-exercising. One reason is that nowadays many of us are on a mission to lose weight which in all cases involve a strict diet and regular exercise going hand-in-hand together. Since we all know diet plays a important part in our hair growth, so how do you know whether you are losing your hair because of over-exercising or because of the strict diet that you followed ? 

Exercise is important to good health and longevity and we do not want our readers to scale down the amount of exercise that they do for fear of hair loss. In our opinion, over-exercising should be way down in our list of possible suspects for hair loss. The first thing that everyone should do is to find a good dermatologist who is knowledgeable about hair loss. Ask yourself the following questions before you cast any doubts on your exercise routine:

  • Does hair loss run in your family ?

  • Do you have severe itch, flakes or crustings forming on your scalp ? If so , perhaps your hair loss is more because of scalp irritation, dermatitis, or scalp psoriasis.

  • Are you currently on any medications ? There are many durgs that are known to cause hair loss, eg: Accutane for acne treatment, birth control pills, anti-depressants etc.

  • Have you recently switched birth control pills or stopped taking them entirely ? Even a switch from brand name to generic control pills may cause hair loss in some people.

  • Have you recently had surgery, or a major illness ? It is quite common for someone to lose his or her hair soon after a surgery or illness. Part of TE.

  • Are you pregnant or currently going through menopause ? Or have you recently given birth to a child ? Post partum hair loss is very common too.

  • Is your thyroid activity normal ? This is a cause of hair loss that has been easily overlooked.

  • Have you been over-processing your hair with dyes, perms or relaxers ?

  • Have you been on any crash diets to lose weight ?

If you have examined all possibilities and nothing really applies to you, then ask yourself if you have over-exercised recently. The good thing is that you should be able to answer that question yourself, cause nobody knows your body better than yourself. If you had over done it lately, you would know. If you feel like looking for someplace to collapse every time you finished your workout, chances are that you have overdone it.

There's more. Perhaps it is not your exercise routine that is causing your hair to fall, but the dietary supplements that most people take before or after their workouts. This is especially the case for bodybuilders who use a lot of performance enhancing supplements. In most cases, these supplements are rich in amino acids and various ingredients that can elevate one's testosterone. A perfect example is Androstenedione, a dietary supplement that was once used by the baseball player Mark McGwire. Researchers at Harvard has recently established that Androstenedione can increase one's testosterone levels.

For your reference, we have included some comments in our discussion groups that question the link between exercising and hair loss:

 

QUOTE
========

Does Exercise Increase Hair loss ?

From:
Date: 27 May 1999
Time: 11:37:27
Remote Name: magic440.genmagic.com


Comments

Does anyone know if exercise will increase or decrease hair loss? The reason I ask is I read a article which said exercise can increase the testostrone in your body there for increasing Hairloss ? Is this true ? Does this only affect men or does it also affect women ? I would like to start exercising since I've been depressed about my hair loss I've gained some weight and would like to start to lose weight without losing my hair. Any advice would help. Thanks!!

=======

hairloss and dieting

From: Marie
Date: 13 May 1999
Time: 08:37:05
Remote Name: cust24.209.135.80.dial.tor.accessv.com


Comments

Hi, It's Marie again.. I too lost about 25lbs in 2 or 3 months prior to my hair shedding. I was eating right and exercising. I never use to excersise. Maybe this is what triggered the loss. I stopped the exercise when my head started to burn all over from the hairloss. I have been shedding hair for up to a year now. As women, we can't win, lose weight and lose your hair. I posted another story here on my "painful" hairloss. If anybody wants to reply feel free. Marie

=============

D.KATZ

From: Angelica
Date: 07 Jun 1999
Time: 11:22:53
Remote Name: magic355.genmagic.com


Comments

David Katz, Hello.My name is Angelica. It seems like you are well informed about hair loss and I have a couple questions. I really could use your advice and suggestions. I have become very depressed due to me losing hair and have gained weight over the 3 yrs that I've had hair loss probelm.My question is I heard that you can increase your hair loss rate by exercising. Is this true ? I want to start to exercising but not if I'm going to lose more hair. What product would you suggest me using for my hair loss? I've also noticed my scalp gets very itchy and oily after a couple of days is this due to being heridatary? Please respond asap. Do you also know if Nioxin products cause Hair loss ? THANK YOU VERY MUCH !

===========

To Angelica

From: D. Katz
Date: 07 Jun 1999
Time: 17:10:41
Remote Name: bowne74.bowne.com


Comments

Hi Angelica,

From what you are describing, it sounds like you have had a hair loss problem for a while. Have you been to a doctor? If not, you should go and find out the reason for your hair loss.

Exercise can increase hair loss. But that is usually only strenuous excercise. You should not be concerned over hair loss with simple exercises like walking or jogging. I would recommend to start exercising as soon as possible. You will feel better. This may sound odd, but excersise can be a good therapy sometimes to help get yourself out of a depression. (edited)


D. Katz

======

Pls Don't Ignore My Cry For Help !!!

From: Angelica
Date: 25 May 1999
Time: 10:19:14
Remote Name: magic375.genmagic.com


Comments

I recently posted my story "Need Help" and I was sadden to see that I didn't get any responses. I really could use someones help and advice. I have had Hairloss for about 3 yrs or so and I still cry when I see my hair falling out. I feel so hopeless that there is nothing I can do to stop it. I don't know if my hair loss is due to my dad having thin hair at the age of 45..he's not bald though. My mom has a full thick of hair and soo do all my brother's. However, my Dad's daughter has thining hair and so I think well I wonder if it is due to heridatary. I know the things I noticed about my hair is that it get's oily quick and It's been shedding alot less then it was awhile back. It seems to be shedding in the center down the middle of my hairline also the overall head seems to be somewhat thining. It's not totally noticeable unless in the sun. Which I hate looking in the mirror when I happen to be outside our catch a glance when I pass a car window and you can see the reflection of yourself. Sometimes, I think I'm torturing myself each time I look at myself and just can't seem to get away from looking at the mirror. I feel soo scared and just want someone to talk to about this and help me with advice and maybe get a new friend who would share the same thing in common who understands me. I was wondering Does anyone know if you exercise does it increase hairloss or decreases it? Thanks! I prey for all of you and that soon there will be a cure for us all!

================

Need Help !!!

From: Angelica
Date: 06 May 1999
Time: 17:34:24
Remote Name: magic373.genmagic.com


Comments

I'm 24 yrs old and have noticed some hairloss. At first I thought it was due to stress. Now, I feel like it could be something more but I'm so confused about what I have ? My hair has been thinning in the front and in the middle and I also notice when I pull my hair back thinning all over. I don't know what could be causing this. My dad is not bald neither is my mom or brothers. However, he is thinning at the age of 45. Is my condition hereidatary? I've been taking some vitamins and also He Shou Wu which is a chiense herb. I haven't seen hardly any results. I have some little hair growth but not enough. I guess I should be happy with that. Also, I was wondering does anyone know if it's okay to exercise because I heard that it can increase hair loss? Is this true? Please help with any and all information you can.

==================

Please Help answer Some of my Questions.

From: Maria
Date: 19 Oct 1999
Time: 15:07:54
Remote Name: magic350.genmagic.com


Comments

I heard a few things can someone help answer and give me some good advice?

1) Is MSM something I should try ? Is it have any side effects ? 2) I'm scared to try Saw Palmetto I'm in my 20's and still want to have kids in the future will this do anything to harm that or have a decrease in sex drive ? 3) Has anyone tried a accupuncturist for hair loss ? And Has it worked? 4) Is there anyway to find out if hair loss is due to heridatary if you don't know your family history ? 5) Will exercising (aerobics,stairmaster,running) will that increase hair loss..I heard that it may..is that true?

If you can please help answer it would be a great help. I'm trying to go with the natural approach first so if anyone could recommend any thing natural to start I would really appreciate it.

Thank You ALL and I hope we find a Cure Really Soon...I feel like I'm losing my idenity as well as my mind.

=============
END QUOTE

In summary, we do not believe that moderate and reasonable exercises increase hair loss. The only link between exercise and hair loss lies in people who over-exercise and inappropriate use of performance enhacing supplements. If you feel that you are physically drained and exhausted after a workout, cut it down !

 

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EXERCISE & HAIR LOSS

 

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