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Q:  My hair has been thinning for over a year. I've been on the oral contraceptive Yasmin. My doctor did tests and told me that they showed my estrogen level to be somewhat low. He suggested I stop the pill for a few weeks but I'm worried that this might make my hair loss worse.

A:   You are right to be worried about stopping the pill. When women go off the pill, their estrogen level drops, often triggering shedding. If you already have a problem with hair loss, stopping Yasmin (one of the best OCs for hair) it may well make things worse.

I frequently hear from women whose doctor said their estrogen was low when they are taking an OC. One, who was in her twenties, was even told she was in menopause because of a low estrogen level while on the pill.

This is WRONG!.

The pill suppresses the ovary, which is what it is supposed to do, to prevent pregnancy. However the pill supplies another form of estrogen, ethinyl estradiol, so that women on the pill have higher estrogen levels. The level only seems lower because the pill estrogen does not show up on the standard lab test.

There is detailed information on the pill and hair loss in my new book, The Hormonally Vulnerable Woman.

Hope this is helpful.

Geoffrey Redmond, MD

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