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INTEGRATIVE FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE

Handling Women’s Hair Loss With Functional Medicine From Toronto

POSTED BY TORONTO FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE CENTRE

At the Toronto Functional Medicine Centre (TFMC), it’s not uncommon for patients to discuss hair loss as part of their health goals for a tailored treatment plan. In this post, we list basic facts about alopecia in women or female pattern hair loss (FPHL), and how our private downtown clinic may deal with this. 

Hair loss, or alopecia, is a distressing experience that no one desires. It’s important to recognize that alopecia can affect anyone, regardless of age or gender, and it can be triggered by a variety of factors.

The factors contributing to this condition include genetics, underlying medical conditions, certain medications, hormonal changes, and/or even the natural aging process. But there is one encouraging aspect – by closely examining the root causes of hair loss, there’s a chance of slowing down or reversing the issue through functional medicine from our Toronto practice. 

Understanding FPHL

    • It’s natural to shed roughly 100 strands of hair daily. But more than 100 may be considered a symptom. 
    • FPHL symptoms may include: noticeable sections of missing/thinning hair (i.e. the parting on top of the head) and patches of scalp; you may also notice hair left around the home on clothes, pillows or in your bath/shower drain. 
    • There are several factors that can cause FPHL. These may include: 
      • Nutrient deficiencies
      • Contact with chemicals found in perms or dyes; excessive heat from styling tools
      • Stress
      • Hormonal imbalances (i.e. postpartum, post-menopausal symptoms)
      • Genetics 
      • Health conditions linked to thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, sexually-transmitted infections, ringworm, diabetes, scalp infections, chronic inflammation linked to the scalp
      • Cancer treatments
      • Wearing a hairstyle that incessantly pulls the scalp
      • Use of certain medications such as antidepressants, blood thinners and select steroids
    • FPHL may be linked to PCOS and metabolic syndrome. Female hormonal birth controls may also contribute to hair loss due to the ingredient progestin. 

Suggested Reading: The Functional Medicine Toronto Approach: Exploring Adjunct Treatment Options for Depression

If you suspect that your health concerns are triggering this condition and impeding optimal functioning, you should know that functional medicine programs may be able to address the source of FPHL.

Applying integrative functional medicine therapies

At the TFMC, we follow an individualized approach to wellness. When a new patient attends their initial consultation, they’re treated as a unique entity. We do not compare your health to another human body – we scrutinize you as an individual patient. We personalize your treatment service to be compatible with your biology and cellular health, which means functional medicine lab tests may be needed for targeting health goals. 

To address this concern in women, we may advise on these lab tests:  

    • The DUTCH test: Hormone testing can help us customize your treatment plan. We may use this dried urine test to measure sex and adrenal hormones, and to help determine if they’re potentially the root of FPHL. 
    • Personalized nutritional assessment/metabolomics test: Lacking some optimal nutrients, such as biotin, essential fatty acids, iron and protein, can contribute to this as well. This test can help us pinpoint which essential nutrients you’re lacking and the dietary/supplement changes that need to be made. 

Once we’ve looked over lab results, your family history, lifestyle/environmental situation, and other core components, we can tailor your therapies. We may discuss these for customizing your treatment plan: 

    • Alleviating nutritional deficiency: If lab tests show that you’re lacking excessive amounts of nutrients, we may recommend IV therapy as an adjuvant treatment to your daily oral supplementation protocol. Especially if your oral absorption is compromised (i.e. due to a chronic condition such as Crohn’s), a custom-made IV drip with personal ingredients offers a complete absorption of nutrients and rehydration of fluids – all without filtration from the digestive tract. IV nutrient therapy can help relieve vitamin shortcomings and lessen your chances of getting unwanted side effects, such as diarrhea.  
    • Herbal oral supplementation for stress management: If cortisol dysregulation is a potential cause, we may suggest using adaptogens. In our article “5 Stress-Busting Adaptogens for Toronto Patients,”  we discussed how the adaptogen ashwagandha can contribute to balancing cortisol levels – check out our blog to read this article.
    • Dietary modifications: If inflammation is playing a part in FPHL, you may be advised to nourish the body with nutrients through dietary changes. The Mediterranean Diet is one example that embraces anti-inflammatory components with beneficial effects; it emphasizes low-processed items, “good” fats, herbs, and fruits and vegetables with major antioxidants. 

The tests and treatments above may or may not be suited for your biology – our functional medicine practitioner may suggest these strategies and/or other modalities, such as other key nutrients as oral supplements (i.e. oral magnesium); we may even advise on balancing major hormonal fluctuations that may occur when entering menopause. 

Need help transitioning towards optimal function? Our private downtown clinic is accepting new patients for wellness services, including IV therapy and acupuncture. Let’s help you get a head-start on improving your quality of life. 

Book your initial consultation at the Toronto Functional Medicine Centre

If your chief health concerns include hair loss or other health issues, such as those related to autoimmune disease, brain fog, blood pressure regulation, chronic pain, irregular periods, heart disease, or cognitive function, our functional medicine providers would be delighted to assist you.

At the TFMC, integrative functional medicine is applied to custom treatments, including therapeutic doses of IV drips. Our IV Lounge has a special function: to provide patients with intravenous therapy drips for adjunct support therapy. When administered with a healthy lifestyle and functional medicine programs, tailored-made, scientifically-formulated IV therapies can help promote optimal function. Our vitamin drip menu contains various concentrations of nutrients to cater to individual needs, such as the key ingredients folic acid, intravenous high-dose vitamin C, a medley of amino acids, major minerals, major antioxidants, Myer’s Cocktail (a famous vitamin infusion) and more. IV glutathione therapy may be administered, too, for upgrading liver detoxification processes, immune function, skin health, and cellular functioning. Vitamin D injections are available in our IV Lounge. 

Our integrated health care may promote symptom relief. With our multidisciplinary approach, you can discover multiple health tools from different treatment modalities. We conveniently offer allopathic medicine (Western), bio-identical hormone treatments/hormone replacement therapy, Traditional Chinese Medicine, naturopathic medicine, detoxification tips, and more. 

Let’s collaborate to uncover the underlying causes of your current health status! Functional medicine therapies from our Toronto clinic could offer you the support you require. Commence your health journey today! Contact us for more details. 

Disclaimer: The information in this article is designed for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. This information should not be used to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting a doctor. Consult with a health care practitioner before relying on any information in this article or on this website.

 

References

Carmina, E., Azziz, R., Bergfeld, W., F, H., Futterweit, W., Huddleston, H., Lobo, R., & Olsen, E. (2019). Female Pattern Hair Loss and Androgen Excess: A Report From the Multidisciplinary Androgen Excess and PCOS Committee. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 104(7), 2875-2891. https://doi.org/10.1210/jc.2018-02548

Fabbrocini G, Cantelli M, Masarà A, Annunziata MC, Marasca C, Cacciapuoti S. Female pattern hair loss: A clinical, pathophysiologic, and therapeutic review. Int J Womens Dermatol. 2018 Jun 19;4(4):203-211. doi: 10.1016/j.ijwd.2018.05.001. PMID: 30627618; PMCID: PMC6322157.

Graves KY, Smith BJ, Nuccio BC. Alopecia due to high androgen index contraceptives. JAAPA. 2018 Aug;31(8):20-24. doi: 10.1097/01.JAA.0000541476.24116.c4. PMID: 29979329.

Hair Loss in Women” from the Cleveland Clinic, last reviewed February 10, 2021, viewed on October 15, 2023. 

Treating female pattern hair loss” from Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School, posted August 31, 2020, viewed on October 15, 2023. 

Tamashunas NL, Bergfeld WF. Male and female pattern hair loss: Treatable and worth treating. Cleve Clin J Med. 2021 Mar 1;88(3):173-182. doi: 10.3949/ccjm.88a.20014. PMID: 33648970.

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