Hair Loss in Women – Causes, Diagnosis and Treatments
Nearly 40% of women experience visible hair loss by the age 40. As per a Hair research article by WebMD, the most common causes of hair loss in women are related to medical conditions and hormonal changes. Some of these causes of hair fall are specific to women. If you notice that your hair are getting thinner or you are losing more hair than usual, you should see if any of the following common causes of hair loss in women apply to you.
Hormones – Women experience much more hormonal problems than men, and at a much higher frequency. Pregnancy, birth and menopause are all unique conditions for women that can affect the hormone levels and thus cause hair loss and even baldness.
Medicines – More drugs can cause or contribute to hair loss in women, including antidepressants, contraceptives, anticoagulants, anti-cholesterol drugs, and chemotherapy drugs.
Diseases / Surgery – There are many diseases that can lead to hair loss in women. Common illnesses such as diabetes and thyroid disorder scan cause hair loss in women. Conditions that can put the body under stress such as high fever or major surgery can also result in hair fall.
Other Causes – Anemia, anorexia, bulimia, too much vitamin A, fungal infections, and zinc or fatty acid deficiency can also be the cause of hair loss in women.
Genetic Causes of Hair Loss in Women
Female pattern hair loss or androgenetic alopecia, is estimated to occur in 15% or less of American women. It is caused by androgens in genetically susceptible women. The cause of hair loss and baldness is the same in men and women. In both, male and female body, the chemical process is similar in which the sensitivity of hair follicles is affected by hormones and dehydrotestosterone (DHT) forned in the scalp cells.
Even though the chemical process is the same, the appearance of hair loss in women is generally different, with women who generally experience hair thinning, rather than bald spots or pronounced hairline lines that are so common in men.
Some experts argue that differences in hair follicles between men and women can contribute to differences in the appearance of hair loss. In men, hair tends to grow directly from the follicle, causing oil and other secretions on the scalp to build and block the follicles. In women, however, hair tends to grow from the follicle at an angle that allows the oil and secretions to flow more easily out of the follicle.
Everyday Causes of Hair Loss in Women
If you follow some wrong practices while taking routine care of your hair, your hair can be subjected to stress which can lead to hair damage and hair loss. Some such causes of hair loss in women include:
- Chemical based shampoos
- Hair coloring
- Hair perming
- Frequent use of hair dryers, curling irons and other heating appliances
- Inappropriate or harsh brushing and / or combing
- Frequent wearing tight pony tails, braids, and restricted hair styles
While such practices generally do not cause immediate or permanent loss of hair in women. Such causes often lead to dry, damaged hair that is more likely to break and thus appear thinner and fragile. In women whose hair is already thin because of the hormonal changes that come with age and other events, such practices can have a great impact on your hair health.
Correct Diagnosis of Hair Loss
If you are a woman and experience hair loss, you should consult your doctor for a precise diagnosis of what may be causing your hair loss. In the case of an undiagnosed illness, such as diabetes or thyroid problems, treatment of medical condition can often stop and even aggravate hair loss problems. Expert doctors can even find the hormonal issues related to menopause and aging that may be causing the hair loss and recommend effective solutions to combat the hair fall.
Treatment for Hair Loss in Women
There is only one topical hair loss treatment approved by the FDA for use by women – minoxidil. This drug is marketed under the name of Rogaine and is available over the counter in most drugstores, grocery stores, and even online.
Rogaine is effective in restoring hair growth and reducing the appearance of thinning hair in women, but it often takes several months for results to become visible in most women. It is quite easy and convenient to apply in the privacy of your home, but it should be continued indefinitely in order to maintain hair regeneration. If Rogaine use is interrupted, any hair that has regained will be lost again.
Surgical Hair Restoration
Surgical, hair loss treatments such as hair grafting are quite effective for male pattern baldness, but as of the nature of hair loss is different in women, females are generally not a good candidate for a such treatment.
Hair grafting is a process of harvesting hair growing actively in parts of the head and transplanting them in the areas of thinning hair. Because hair loss in women is of diffuse type where hair thinning is spread evenly. So, it is hard to find donor areas.
Very few females have the kind of hair loss that makes them ideal candidates for hair transplant. It is best to consult an experienced hair restoration surgeon who will diagnose your case and suggest an appropriate solution.