Losing your hair, whether it be on the scalp, under the arms, on the legs or in the pubic region, is an emotional and often frustrating experience for both men and women. The loss of pubic hair may be a sudden event, or it may occur slowly over time. There are a variety of factors and conditions that can lead to pubic hair loss. The most important thing to remember is to not be embarrassed to discuss your condition with your doctor, because diagnosing the cause can lead to treatment.
Hormones are chemical messengers produced in the body that affect activity throughout the body, including growth, metabolism, fertility, immunity and behavior. Conditions affecting this delicate balance of hormones can induce pubic hair loss.
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Addison's disease affects the adrenal glands, inhibiting the production of the hormones cortisol and aldosterone. This can result in the loss of both underarm and pubic hair.
Angogenetic alopecia, or female pattern baldness, occurs when the level of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) increases. Too much of this hormone, a derivative of the male hormone testosterone, is responsible for shrinking hair follicles, making hair, including pubic hair, fall out.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease, meaning that the hair follicles are attacked by the body's own white blood cells, making the hair fall out. This disease is believed to have a genetic basis, meaning you are born with it, and it can be triggered by environmental factors. It can cause total scalp hair loss, called alopecia totalis, or a complete loss of all body hair, including pubic hair, called alopecia universalis.
Hair growth has three stages: anagen (growth phase), catagen (resting phase) and telogen (shedding phase). A traumatic or stressful event such as childbirth, major surgery or severe infection can cause up to 90 percent of the hair in the growth and resting phases to shift to the shedding phase. This means that between 6 and 12 weeks after the stressful event, extreme pubic hair loss as well as scalp hair loss is experienced.
In the process of aging, the body undergoes a number of changes. The changes in the body begin at the cellular level, as the rate of cell growth decreases as we age. This can lead to physical changes, including the appearance of wrinkles, a loss of height and the loss of pubic hair. For women, going through the process of menopause causes pubic hair loss due to the change in hormone levels.
There are many medications that can trigger hair loss in both the scalp and the pubic region. Psychotropic medications prescribed for conditions such as depression or bipolar disorders produce a side effect of pubic hair loss. Chemotherapy medications are well-known for causing hair loss, which can also include pubic hair loss. If you are experiencing pubic hair loss due to a medication, or for any reason, consult your doctor to determine an appropriate course of treatment.
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.