Causes of Hair Loss in Women
What are the top 7 causes of hair loss in women? In this article, we will discuss the top causes of hair loss in women. Let’s discuss the top 7 causes of hair loss in detail. We’ll touch on whether prevention and treatment as well. What kind of hair loss you are struggling with will vary depending on the symptoms you are experiencing. Sometimes, there may be more than one contributing factor as well. Understanding the root causes of hair loss in women is the first step when helping them figure out how to treat this condition.
Hereditary Causes of Hair Loss in Women
This type of hair loss affects both women and men. This is the most common cause of hair loss around the world. It is known as either male or female pattern hair loss, depending on who is experiencing the condition. The medical term for this condition is androgenic alopecia. This is probably a genetic component to this type of hair loss. Women that are experiencing androgenic alopecia have inherited genes that cause their hair follicles to shrink until they eventually stop growing hair altogether.
To some degree, this shrinking phenomenon occurs as an inevitable part of the aging process. Some women will start experiencing shrinking of the hair follicles as early as the onset of puberty, but for most, it begins later in life, after menopause. There are also hypotheses about a link to androgen hormones. However, this link is not as strong as it is when it comes to male pattern baldness and androgens. For most women experiencing hereditary hair loss, it begins in their early 30’s. They may first notice that they are losing their hair by observing a wider area of scalp visible where they part their hair or overall thinning hair in general.
Male Vs. Female Pattern Baldness
With female hereditary hair loss, the hairs that do grow, appear finer and may lose some of their natural colors. This differs from how male pattern baldness tends to express itself, which is often a receding hairline that grows to form a U shape or a bald spot on the top of the head. Hereditary hair loss, or androgenic alopecia, is considered to be a polygenic condition. This means that many genes could contribute to female pattern hair loss. These genes can be passed down by either parent, or a person could inherit genes from both parents.
Your genetic blueprint will determine how old you are when hair loss begins, how fast you lose your hair, and the pattern and extent of your hair loss. As of right now, there is no reliable method for testing whether or not a person is genetically predisposed to female pattern baldness or not.
Aging May Cause Hairloss
As noted above, aging is one of the common causes of hair loss in women. It is perfectly normal and natural for people to experience increased hair loss as they age. As we age the hair follicle slows down its growth cycle, and starts to shrink. This makes the hair that grows from the shrinking follicles to be more thin, short, and more prone to breakage. Hair also starts to lose its original color, turning white or grey as melanin production slows down. The sebaceous glands that are responsible for producing natural oils for the hair and skin may start to slow down, making the hair more prone to dryness and less lustrous. Less than 45% of women make it to age 80 with a full head of hair, and around 40% have experienced some type of hair loss by the age of 50.
Childbirth and Hair Loss
Hair naturally goes through a life cycle of growing, resting, and shedding. During pregnancy, many women will notice increased hair growth, both in terms of length and density. This is due to surges in the hormone estrogen which contribute not only to increased hair growth but for extending the length of the growth phase. During pregnancy, less hair is shed as well, which is why many women see increased density as well as length. After the birth, estrogen levels slowly return to their pre-pregnancy levels, and hair resumes its normal growth cycle. It is normal for women in the postpartum period to experience increased shedding at around 3 months postpartum.
This phenomenon has a scientific name, telogen effluvium, and is a type of hair loss that can occur a few months after a major life event that puts the body through a lot of stress. Examples of this would be after an event like childbirth, surgery, a high fever, or a sudden accident or tragedy. Most often these conditions balance out on their own after a few months. When it comes to postpartum hair loss, this type of shedding usually peaks after about four months from when it began, and it is only temporary.
Hormonal Causes of Hair Loss in Women
Certain health conditions can cause hormonal imbalances that have been shown to be one of the causes of hair loss in women. One example of this is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a condition that causes cysts on a woman’s ovaries. One of the signs and symptoms of this condition is increased hair loss. Imbalances in the thyroid such as hypothyroidism can also contribute to hair loss.
Changes to your normal birth control routine can also throw your hormones out of wack. Going off of hormonal birth control, or changing contraceptive methods can cause hormone-induced increased shedding. If your doctor suspects that you are producing high levels of androgens, the male sex hormones that contribute to the production of DHT, they may recommend taking birth control pills to balance your hormones. It is advisable that you choose birth control pills that are low on the androgen index. High androgen index birth control pills should be avoided as they can make hair loss worse.
For many women, the hormonal changes of menopause play a big role in hair loss. Female sex hormones such as estrogen that stimulate the hair follicles to grow new hair are diminished and for some women, the male sex hormone testosterone becomes more dominant. This can lead to increased hair growth on the face, even while hair is falling from the head. Discussing hormone replacement therapy options with your doctor can be a good solution for bringing hormone levels back into balance.
Nutritional deficiency is one of the leading causes of hair loss in women. There are links between deficiencies in iron, zinc, vitamin B3, vitamin D, and selenium and various types of hair loss. Sometimes too much of a nutrient can also be to blame, for instance, excessive Vitamin A can contribute to hair loss. Iron deficiency in pre-menopause is one of the main causes of hair loss in women. Iron is important for the production of hemoglobin, which helps deliver nutrients and oxygen to the hair follicles. When a woman is deficient in iron, one of the symptoms she may experience is progressively thinner hair. Women with very heavy periods can sometimes develop iron deficiency anemia.
Other causes of iron deficiency include a lack of iron-rich foods in the diet such as red meat, seafood, and beans, blood loss due to ulcers, and certain cancers. The best way to determine whether or not a nutritional deficiency is to blame is to discuss it with your doctor. They can order blood tests in order to accurately diagnose any nutrient deficiencies. If any deficiencies are discovered, your doctor may order prescription supplements or refer you to a registered dietician for further guidance.
Dandruff or Scalp Psoriasis
If the scalp is inflamed or itchy, this may cause increased hair shedding. Dandruff is the build-up of white flakes on the scalp. This is the easiest inflammatory condition of the scalp to treat. It can usually be resolved with the use of anti-dandruff over-the-counter products, so long as they are used consistently.
Other inflammatory conditions of the scalp may be more difficult to treat. These include seborrheic dermatitis, which is a more severe version of dandruff that is caused by a buildup of yeast and oil, as well as psoriasis, an autoimmune condition that causes thick patches of white plaque to build up on the skin. Treating these issues can be more complex than a simple shampoo. It can be helpful to talk to your dermatologist if you think that inflammation of the scalp could be to blame for your hair loss. They may order a biopsy of the scalp to be performed in order to determine the cause.
Traction Alopecia Causes Hair Loss in Women
Traction alopecia is a condition caused by too much weight and stress being placed on the hair follicle. Heavy braids, weaves, or tight ponytails can cause the strands of hair to be pulled and strained. As a result, they will fall out. Traction alopecia most often presents around the hairline, or area that has been subjected to heavy hairstyles. Harsh styling practices such as bleach, relaxing agents, perms, and dyes can all cause damage to the hair as well, making the strands more prone to split ends, shedding, and breakage.
Hairstyling practices that involve heated tools such as blow dryers, hair straightening irons, and curlers, especially those that are high heat can be extremely damaging to the hair, dehydrating the strands from the inside out, and changing the overall texture of the hair, as well as making it more susceptible to further damage. More low heat styling tools are being developed, but if you have hair that is easily prone to damage you may want to consider more gentle and natural styling methods that ditch the high heat and harsh chemicals. Checking your hair care product labels carefully for ingredients known to damage hair such as parabens, sulfates, and alcohol is another way to protect against unnecessary damage to your precious tresses.
Fighting the Causes of Hair Loss in Women
No matter the causes of hair loss in women, the experience of losing one’s hair can be extremely distressing. Currently, there is no known cure for hair loss in women. However, there are many methods that can reduce its severity, and restore the appearance of a full head of hair. Which treatment is most appropriate for you depends on the cause of your hair loss. Additionally, you’ll have to assess how far it has progressed.
Some women respond well to medications like minoxidil, also known as Rogaine. This is a topical foam comes in both 2% and 5% concentrations. It may prevent further hair loss and encourage some new growth. Minoxidil must be used consistently in the long term in order to work. If you stop applying it then you will start to lose your hair again. Minoxidil is the only FDA-approved treatment for female hair loss. Propecia may not work for women the way it does with men.
Other treatments that have shown promise for treating hair loss in women include derma rolling and low-level laser therapy (LLLT). These treatments can help to restore lost hair and encourage growth by improving circulation to the scalp and hair follicles. It is advisable to consult with your doctor about whether either of these treatments is appropriate for you. Not all laser cap devices are high quality or effective. Capillus is a great answer for fighting female hairloss. However, that’s not the case with most lasercap devices. Buy an FDA-cleared laser cap. Additionally, consult your physician. After all, there are some cheap knock-offs that could actually damage your hair. Being cheap is not worth it.
Hair Transplant Solutions for Female Hair Loss
The most permanent solution to female hair loss is hair transplantation. These surgeries involve the removal of follicular grafts from an area of the scalp where the hair is thicker, usually the back of the head, and transplanting them into a recipient area where the hair is thinning or has been lost. There are two primary methods of performing hair transplants: Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) and Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE). However, the procedures are different in terms of follicular graft harvesting.
FUT harvesting removes a small strip of the scalp. With FUE, grafts harvesting occurs individually using a punch tool. They are both outpatient procedures performed under local anesthesia. Both surgeries are very effective, the one you choose will depend on several factors including the severity of your hair loss, the cause of hair loss, how loose the skin on the scalp is, and your budget.
The best way to decide if hair transplantation is the best choice for you is to talk to your doctor to determine the cause of your hair loss and which treatments are most effective as far as restoring your hair.
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