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Does Endometriosis Cause Hair Loss? Expert Review 2023
Dr Ahmad Moussa (FRCS)
Medically reviewed by
Dr Ahmad Moussa (FRCS)
Updated on May 9, 2024

If you are wondering whether endometriosis causes hair loss, you might be one of the 6-10% of women affected by this disease worldwide [1]. Since you are already likely facing symptoms such as severe pelvic pain, fatigue, or digestive issues, adding hair loss to the list of endometriosis woes can be very frustrating.

The good news is that there is no scientific evidence that endometriosis causes hair loss. There is indeed some indication that side effects of some medication used to control the symptoms of this condition may include hair shedding. But that doesn’t mean that endometriosis itself is the reason your hair is falling out.

This article will tell you all you need to know about:

  • The nature, causes and symptoms of endometriosis
  • The relationship between endometriosis and hair loss
  • The main reasons your hair might be falling out
  • The best hair loss treatments for women with endometriosis
Table of Contents

What is endometriosis?

information graphic showing the female reproductive system

Endometriosis is a chronic disease which makes uterine tissue (endometer) grow in places where it is not supposed to, mainly in the pelvic area (e.g. around the ovaries or the fallopian tubes) [2][3]. The inflammatory reaction caused by this condition can result in the formation of scar tissue.

Endometriosis affects approximately 190 million women worldwide. It can start as early as a girl’s first menstruation and only end once she has reached menopause (sometimes even beyond that). Given the fact that pain is the main symptom of this disease, it is believed to be significantly underdiagnosed (or diagnosed late), as patients’ complaints are often mistaken for normal symptoms of premenstrual syndrome [1].

What are the symptoms of endometriosis?

The most common symptoms of endometriosis include [1] [2]:

  • Severe pelvic pain, especially during menstruation
  • Pain during sexual activity
  • Pain while urinating or defecating
  • Heavy vaginal bleeding during or in-between menstruation
  • Vaginal wall pain or tenderness
  • Difficulty getting pregnant
  • Bloating and nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Depression or anxiety

What causes endometriosis?

The causes of endometriosis are not sufficiently understood by scientists at this time. However, there are several theories which might explain this disease:

Retrograde menstruationSome menstrual blood, containing endometrial cells, flows back into the pelvic cavity, allowing endometrial cells to grow in the pelvic area.
 Cellular metaplasiaSome of the cells in the pelvic cavity, outside the uterus, start to behave abnormally, transforming into endometrial cells and forming endometrial tissue.
Stem cell abnormalitiesStem cells turn into endometrial cells and spread endometriosis through your blood and lymphatic system.
Autoimmune causesLately, a growing body of literature points to an autoimmune cause of endometriosis, as it seems to behave similarly to other autoimmune conditions and occur alongside them [4].

What is the treatment for endometriosis?

There is currently no cure for endometriosis, nor is there any way to prevent the disease. However, its symptoms can be managed with hormonal medicine or contraceptive methods (e.g. combined birth control pills, hormonal intrauterine devices, such as IUDs, vaginal rings, etc.) [2][3].

In severe cases, surgery is performed to remove the affected organs, such as the uterus (hysterectomy), the ovaries or even part of the colon (however, this is rare)[2].

Does endometriosis cause hair loss?

woman inspecting her hair

While it is unlikely that simply experiencing endometriosis can make your hair fall out, this condition may place you at a slightly higher risk of developing certain autoimmune conditions which cause hair loss, such as alopecia areata or alopecia universalis.

Moreover, the stress and anxiety this disease causes and some of the treatments used to control its symptoms can, indeed, lead to hair shedding.

So why is my hair falling out so much?

The good news is that endometriosis does not cause hair loss. If your hair is still falling out, this may not bring you much comfort. 

There are however a variety of reasons why your locks may be thinning and how it is related to your condition:

1. Your endometriosis treatment may cause hair loss

contraceptive birth control pills

Research indicates that there is some indirect relationship between endometriosis and hair falling out.

That is partly due to the fact that some of the treatments used to alleviate the symptoms of this disease (e.g. birth control pills, danazol, gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists or aromatase inhibitors) are known to cause diffuse hair thinning and hair loss [5][6][7].

  • Oral birth control – the hormones in this medication cause your hair follicles to transition faster from the anagen (hair growth) phase to the telogen (resting) phase, causing telogen effluvium, a temporary condition that leads to diffuse hair loss.
  • Danazol – this anabolic steroid is a synthetic androgen, which means it has the same kind of hair loss side effect as male hormones.
  • GnRH – gonadotropin-releasing hormones reduce the level of oestrogen in the body, producing symptoms similar to menopause. This can lead to an androgen/oestrogen imbalance in the body, which makes the physiological effects of androgens – including their effects on your hair – more pronounced. In rare cases (less than 1 in 100 users), they can lead to hair loss [13].
  • Aromatase inhibitors – this class of medication, which is also used in chemotherapy, is known to cause hair thinning or hair loss by substantially decreasing the concentration of oestrogen in your body and thus creating an imbalance with the androgens, in a similar fashion to GnRH. [14].

2. Your hair loss may be due to psychological factors

woman shocked at hair shedding

The sheer psychological burden of experiencing a painful chronic disease such as endometriosis can make your locks fall out. It is a proven fact that stress and anxiety can lead to hair loss, as they can trigger conditions such as telogen effluvium, alopecia areata or trichotillomania [8][9][10].

3. You may be more susceptible to autoimmune disorders which cause hair loss

patchy hair loss on the scalp

While further research is needed to demonstrate this, some studies suggest that endometriosis may be an autoimmune disorder, which has common genetic roots with other autoimmune illnesses and is sometimes developed alongside them. Some of these, such as alopecia universalis [4], alopecia areata [12] or lupus [11] are known to cause hair loss.

For example, one longitudinal study on over 35,000 women with endometriosis in Taiwan found that 88 participants developed alopecia areata (0.25%) over the 13 year course of data collection, while only 61 participants in the control group of 140,000 women did so (0.04%). The authors explained that there might be a common cause which makes these two diseases more likely to develop in the same person. However, this does not imply that endometriosis causes alopecia areata.

If this theory is correct, if you have endometriosis, you may be at a somewhat greater risk of being diagnosed with another autoimmune condition alongside it, some of which may cause your hair to fall out [4] [11] [12]. However, these occurrences are rare and unlikely in the absence of other symptoms.

4. Your hair loss may be completely unrelated to endometriosis

While it may seem to you like your hair loss is a result of endometriosis, it could just be an unfortunate coincidence. There are a variety of conditions which can cause female hair loss. The most common of these are:

hair thinning due to female pattern hair loss
  • Alopecia areata
bald spot due to alopecia areata
example of traction alopecia caused by tight hairstyles
example of frontal fibrosing alopecia
woman concerned about her hair loss

Common scalp problems that cause hair loss 

scalp problem

How can I stop hormonal hair loss in endometriosis?

Hormonal hair loss in endometriosis is likely not a result of the disease itself, but usually a side effect of the hormone-based treatment you are taking for it. That is why the best thing you can do is to have a conversation with your endocrinologist and let them know that you suspect your medication is causing hair loss. Depending on your health condition, they might be able to recommend a different treatment, which is easier on your hair. 

However, if you cannot change your hormonal medication, you can stimulate hair growth through hair loss treatments and therapies. 

What hair growth treatments can I use if I am diagnosed with endometriosis?

If you have been diagnosed with endometriosis and are experiencing hair loss, it is important to book a consultation with a trichologist and get a personalised treatment recommendation. That is because some of the most popular and efficient hair growth treatments (especially DHT blockers, such as  Finasteride or Dutasteride) can have side effects that may influence your hormones, making your symptoms worse or interfering with your treatment.

For example, it is generally not advised for women to use Finasteride while they are still premenopausal, because it can disrupt your menstrual cycle or cause foetal malformations if you are (or are trying to become) pregnant.

In order to provide you with an effective, personalised treatment plan, the trichologist will first diagnose the nature of your hair loss.

To do so, they might order some blood tests for hair loss, perform a dermoscopy to see your hair and scalp up close, and perhaps measure the extent of your hair thinning on the Ludwig scale.

Then, in accordance with their findings and your preexisting health conditions, they may recommend one of the following common hair growth treatments and therapies which can normally be used by women with endometriosis:

If your hair loss is too advanced for these treatments or its cause can not be treated with medication or therapies, there may be hope yet. You might be a good candidate for a hair transplant.

woman before and after female hair transplant
Before and after - female hair transplant

Female hair transplants are one of the most popular hair restoration procedures and Wimpole Clinic has great experience and a 97-100% success rate in performing them. So regardless of whether patients opt for a FUT or FUE type surgery, they get a natural-looking hair transplant.

Another advantage is that, unlike other treatments and therapies, hair transplants are permanent. You can see the results for yourself in our before and after hair transplant gallery

Does Endometriosis Cause Hair Loss? Expert Review 2023, Wimpole Clinic

Dr Ahmad Moussa (FRCS)
Medically reviewed by Dr Ahmad Moussa (FRCS)Updated on May 9, 2024
The Wimpole Clinic offers FUE Hair, Beard & Eyebrow Transplants & Trichology.
Talk to a specialist ☎ 020 7935 1861.

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