Hair Loss & Birth Control Pills – Part Two – Deconstructing Hormones

by admin on March 26, 2008

The other day I posted the listing of certain birth control pills androgen index which I found on The American Hair Loss Association website. Later that day I received an email from Gracie pointing me to a great resource that provides more in depth knowledge about the hormonal components of various birth control pills. She also mentioned that in her own research she found out that most women seem to have more problems on lower estrogen pills, i.e. 20mg. I didn’t ask, but I think she meant mcgm (micrograms). Glancing over at the list I am about to provide you with, I found that the pill I took, Loestrin FE is among the lowest estrogen pills, listing at 20mcgm along with Aleese, Levlite, Micrette, and Ortho Evra patch. The pill I take now, Ortho-Tri Cyclen is 35/35/35 mcgm with a different type of Progestin (norgestimate) than the one used for Loestrin (norethindrone acetate).

The pills listed as likely to cause worse acne and hair growth side effects (obviously not hair on the head, but perhaps your chin) are those pills high in androgenicity and low in estrogen content.

Such pills might include:
Loestrin® 1.5/30
Loestrin® 1/20 Fe
Estrostep® Fe
Levlen®
Alesse®
Ovral®
Norlestrin® 1/50

For a more complete listing and an in depth overview of the pills, visit: http://www.wdxcyber.com/ncontr13.htm

Estrogen Levelethinyl estradiol

(micrograms)

Pill Brand Name Progestin Dose (mg)
20 mcgm Alesse® levonorgestrel 0.10
Levlite® levonorgestrel 0.10
Loestrin 1/20® Fe norethindrone acetate 1.00
Mircette® desogestrel 0.15
Ortho Evra®(patch) norelgestromin(norgestimate metabolite) 0.15
phasic20/30/35 mcgm Estrostep® Fe norethindrone acetate 1.0/1.0/1.0
30 mcgm Levlen® levonorgestrel 0.15
Levora® levonorgestrel 0.15
Nordette® levonorgestrel 0.15
Lo/Ovral® norgestrel 0.30
Desogen® desogestrel 0.15
Ortho-Cept® desogestrel 0.15
Loestrin® 1.5/30 norethindrone acetate 1.50
Yasmin® drospirenone 3.0
phasic30/40/30 mcgm Triphasil® levonorgestrel 0.05/0.075/0.125
Tri-Levlen® levonorgestrel 0.05/0.075/0.125
Trivora® levonorgestrel 0.05/0.075/0.125
35 mcgm Ortho-Cyclen® norgestimate 0.25
Ovcon-35® norethindrone 0.40
Brevicon® norethindrone 0.50
Modicon® norethindrone 0.50
Necon® norethindrone 1.00
Norethin® norethindrone 1.00
Norinyl® 1/35 norethindrone 1.00
Ortho-Novum® 1/35 norethindrone 1.00
Demulen® 1/35 ethynodiol diacetate 1.00
Zovia® 1/35E ethynodiol diacetate 1.00
phasic35/35 mcgm Ortho-Novum® 10/11 norethindrone 0.50/1.00
Jenest® norethindrone 0.50/1.00
phasic35/35/35 mcgm Ortho-Tri-Cyclen® norgestimate 0.15/0.215/0.25
Ortho-Novum® 7/7/7 norethindrone 0.50/0.75/1.00
Tri-Norinyl® norethindrone 0.50/1.00/0.50
50 mcgm Necon® 1/50 norethindrone 1.00
Norinyl® 1/50 norethindrone 1.00
Ortho-Novum® 1/50 norethindrone 1.00
Ovcon-50® norethindrone 1.00
Ovral® norgestrel 0.50
Demulen® 1/50 ethynodiol diacetate 1.00
Zovia® 1/50E ethynodiol diacetate 1.00

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

seema September 14, 2008 at 1:23 am

i’m wondering what has been studied on the shot. come to think of it, after reading some of your posts and how bcp triggered your sheds, i was on the poison shot (depo provera) when i started to notice the acne. am wondering if that’s when i started shedding but didn’t realize it until i got sick travelling abroad. and of course it was during that time i had the facial hairs too…

admin September 14, 2008 at 1:31 pm

Hi Seema, I don’t know of what studies have been done in particular to the birth control shot and hair loss but I do know that there is plenty to be read about the connection between shots like depro provera and hair loss in Google. It is still is altering your hormones so it can in fact cause hair loss. As with all cases of birth control related hair loss it can be temporary or it may have switched into gear your genetic predisposition to hair loss. Hard to know where we fall in the beginning, but time surely answers that question. Of course I’m not a doctor and these are only my opinions based on things I’ve read and of course my own experience.

I know that probably wasn’t much help, there are just so many unanswered questions about women’s hair loss.

Hope you are doing well today,
~Y

Dee September 15, 2008 at 4:58 pm

I have experiend hair loss as well and I noticed that it started happening more so as I was coming off the Depo provera shot. I really do believe in my heart that this was the cause of me losing hair. I know there may not be alot of studies on it, but I feel it in my soul that this shot is a contributing factor to women and hair loss. I wish I could have predicted this problem and now I am dealing with the aftermath of it.

tahi November 4, 2008 at 8:28 am

I have an oily skin and hair on my face.My dermatologist made me go through some blood tests.I have been taking a combination of diane 35 and metformin for three years . An ultrasound showed a single cyst (not polycystic). I stopped 4 months ago and my skin has broken out in horrible pimples.Is it due to the fact that I’ve stopped taking the medicine ?

Tania November 14, 2008 at 7:13 pm

Has anyone figured out anything to help with this? Any supplements? Any tips?

Please let me know tkdnyc at gmail dot com. Thanks

MJ January 15, 2009 at 9:53 pm

I also have been having hair loss problems due to my decision to discontinue with the shot (depro). I have been searching everywhere on the net for some sort of concrete evidence or facts that would prove my intuition. I have never had hair problems, and use to have thick hair….now I worry about how many hairs fall in the shower. I wish I would have been informed about the after effects.

Amber March 29, 2009 at 5:50 am

I found this piece of info while searching online about Ortho Evra……

“You will be exposed to about 60% more estrogen if you use ORTHO EVRA® than if you use a typical birth control pill containing 35 micrograms of estrogen.”
http://www.rxlist.com was the source

I’ve been off the patch since August/07 and noticed light shedding in Oct/Nov and most recently more excessive shedding. I’m only just about to visit my GP for some insights and thought of browsing online to see if there were any questions I should ask when I came across an article on here about BC affecting hair loss even after you’ve discontinued birth control. This was certainly news to me, I’ve been on various method of birth control over the years and had stopped last fall, I never knew something like this could happen….. especially from stopping a method of BC.
My hair is still in pretty good shape, with styling no one can really notice anything. I’m the one that sees all the hair on my shoulders in the shower or stuck between my fingers when I put in some styling product. I even noticed a bit of my eyebrow hair is falling in the sink *shock*, not something i was expecting.
Anyways, off to read some more!

Sydney April 17, 2009 at 3:49 pm

I recently had a baby and noticed that my hair grew back while I was pregnant. Now that my daughter is four months old my hair is falling out again. Does anyone know if there is a birth control pill that replicates the hormones you have while pregnant, or just one that helps hair growth?

Adrienne July 31, 2009 at 4:55 pm

Does anyone out there know if birth control pills in general cause excessive oily scalp and extreme anxiety, especially in the morning ?? I’ve been using Zenchent birth control pills for a year now and for exactly one year I’ve suffered greatly ! I’ve decided to stop taking them after this month. I’ve tried other brands for years and I’ve suffered from other symptoms like bloating, fatigue, and hair loss. I don’t think it’s worth taking any of them any more !

Can someone please tell me if they suffer from these synptoms too ?
Thank you.

Wantresources December 15, 2009 at 4:40 pm

Dr Redmond’s book and website has very very good info on this. Includes info on what are the good pills and what are the bad pills (and what they contain)

B. February 11, 2010 at 9:08 am

OMG… I am on Levlen…what can i do to change the pill to maybe a better alternative and maybe avoid that possible side effect?

I got slack with the pill a few months ago for like 2 weeks and stopped taking it for that small period. I doubt that caused my hair loss, but i suppose along with my stress – it may have contributed as all my tests have come back normal…………When i mentioned the pill (as i reckon is has worsened my dermatitis) my dermotologist and my doctor and the 2 natropaths i’ve seen just seem to not acknoledge it….

CASTuquero January 26, 2012 at 1:46 am

HI, i’m just confused and i want to know if their are researches that proves that medications specifically birth control pills affects hair loss

Tnx

Sheila November 23, 2016 at 11:43 pm

I need help please! Since I was 18 I have been on Tri-legest, brand estrostep at first and never experienced scalp hair loss but did have hair on my face and thicker body hair. I’m sensitive to meds in general and have adverse reactions to many. I finally switch ed to Tri-sprintec which I took it expired for six months and did not experience any reactions. June:2015 for six months not for contraceptive reasons but for him a reason since my body produces naturally too much too testosterone and too little estrogen. I was on the South Beach diet for the third time, eating healthy, losing weight slowly, and did not experience any hair loss seven months prior to starting the new birth control while on the South beach diet. I lost weight on two previous occasions on the South Beach diet and did not lose any hair. My father fell ill with onset dementia and that was around mid October and the stress level was extremely high! ( have underlying anxiety, but has never caused her loss). My hair length being between my elbow and shoulder had been reduced to just being at my shoulders by mid November. My hair continue to shed and still continues to shed and layers and hair is noticeably thinner. I started taking full strength Sprintec no longer Tri-Sprintec January 2016. Why my gynecologist decided to make the puzzle more difficult I don’t know. I do have noticeably side effects to the full strength of sprintec. Moodiness, have your period, being more emotional. My stress alleviated dramatically May 2016 and still my hair continues the shed. I return back to Tri-legest in August and experienced regrowth of facial hair in a little over a month, as well as other parts of my body. I also noticed standing on the top and side of my head. November 20, 2016 I started back on Sprintec. I was on this for 14 months, and I’m wondering if the progesterone Norgestimate has caused the hair shedding and thinning? The higher estrogen has done wonders for facial and body hair! But while on Sprintec even after the stress alleviated my hair was still shedding And my curls were lost and my hair was drier. I have been using protein treatments now for over nine months as well as moisturizing treatment. I’ve never had my hair so close to my Scalp line before and so thin. I can no longer amplify my natural curls and put my hair up in a clip anymore. I can barely type my hair in a Scrunchie without having to use bobby pins to keep the hair up from falling. I am very sensitive to all medications and I’m wondering since I’ve been on a estrogen/Norethindrone since I was 18 and now I’m 36, perhaps my body is not reacting well to the progesterone and sprintech(norgestimate)? I would like to be in a birth control was low androgen levels of Norethindrone/ and higher levels of estrogen to see if perhaps my body will react better and my hair will finally grow back. (ovcon 35 or generic of it balziva. Can being on another birth control was a different progesterone generally cause hair loss, even with low androgen levels and high estrogen levels of sprintec? I am very sensitive to medication and I’ve always been that 1% and experiences odd side effects.

I have visited a dermatologist who has told me it has nothing to do with diet and is just from the stress I experienced and told me not to expect hair growth until 6 to 9 months.

I visited a Medical internist who said it was due to weight loss and the fact that my diet wasn’t the best when my father fell ill for the five months. I was extremely exhausted and experience several panic attacks and fortunately. But fortunately the stress has alleviated some wondering why the hair has not resumed?

I had my TSH levels checked and they were normal. I also had my T3 and T4 thyroid levels tested which were also normal thankfully recently by an OB/GYN who just put me back on Sprintec, which I’m afraid due to the different progesterone will continue with the hair shedding and thinning. She said the progesterone should not matter, but while I was on Sprintec I still had loss of hair, even after the major stress of my father onset dementia tapered off and just have my regular stress that I’ve had for years with no hair loss due to Anxiety.

I have had wild adverse reaction, meds I took in my 20s that I stopped that I attempted to take in my 30s I am unable to take. I take it all off and experience lack of urination. I never look at side effects of medication. I was told by the physician at the time that this is only cause and people 60 years old and older but it happened to me. I became super hyper when I took a Zyrtec. Cipro cause me extreme euphoria and drowsiness to the point my coworkers call the fire department. I am not on any medications I would interact with Sprintec.

Any suggestions or help would be greatly appreciated.

I’ve been dealing with us from most a year.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated thank you so much.

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