The effects of hair loss in women is devastating and often extremely stressful. Most think that hair loss is only a man's problem and therefore are confused and frustrated when it happens to them. In reality female hair loss is more wide spread than most people realize. The good news is is that in a large percentage of women, hair loss is preventable, treatable and reversible.
The most common causes come from temporary hormonal problems associated with unusual stress, crash diets, major surgery, high fever and infection, and chemotherapy, certain drugs and pregnancy. These conditions are usually temporary and once the problem is alleviated, the hair thinning stops and healthy regrowth usually occurs.
If the loss of hair is not related to a metabolic issue, it is most likely due to Female Pattern Hair Loss. Unlike men, women do not lose their hair in the classic "horseshoe" pattern on the head, but rather in an overall thinning at the hair line and top of the head. This type of loss may appear at anytime after puberty, but is most commonly seen after menopause. In Female Pattern Hair Loss, the male hormone Testosterone is converted to Dihydrotestosterone, or DHT. This hormone then proceeds to influence the susceptible hairs to thin and eventually fall out.
There are a variety of reasons why women could be experiencing hair loss:
Normal Hair Loss
Many people become concerned about their situation when they see hair on their clothing, in the shower or on the pillow. However, hair is constantly going through cycles of growth, resting and shedding. It only becomes a concern when hair that are lost are not replaced. The average person sheds approximately 50 - 100 hairs per day.
Many women experience hair loss after pregnancy, typically during the first 3 to 6 months after giving birth. Most noticeable is large amounts of hair coming out after washing or after brushing their hair. This is caused by the hormonal changes occurring within the woman's body, causing the hair to go into a resting phase, and usually resolves itself within 6 months.
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy stop the growth of hair follicles within their hair cycle, causing sudden loss of hair as those follicles shed their hair at about the same time. Other medications such as antidepressants, anticoagulants, amphetamines, some antibiotics, some blood thinners, some medications for ulcers, gout and high blood pressure also cause hair to fall out.
After menopause, about 1/3 of all women find their hair begins to thin due to hormonal changes in the body. While there are various treatments for hormone replacement, there are also side effects associated with many of them and experimentation and discussion with your doctor are recommended.
Stress is a common factor in hair loss, which ironically often leads to additional loss of hair due to the added anxiety. A stressful event can cause a large number of hair follicles to enter the resting (telogen) stage at the same time, resulting in sudden excess shedding.
Sebum is the fatty substance that is secreted from the sebaceous glands which open into hair follicles. When sebum builds up in the follicle it attacks the hair bulb, resulting in the shrinking of the hair bulb until the hair strand grows weaker and weaker and eventually dies.
For women with a predisposition to female pattern hair loss and has a history of it in her family, should advise her doctor before going on the pill. Following discontinuation of the pill, there may be noticeable shedding 2 to 3 months later and may continue for up to 6 months. Women who are susceptible to Androgenic Alopecia (Female Pattern Hair Loss) can experience hair loss at a much younger age by being on birth control pills.
Many women experience overall thinning at the tops of their head as they age. Prior to menopause approximately 13 percent of women experience thinning hair. After menopause this number increases to approximately 37 percent.
Severe infections and illnesses can cause thinning and loss of hair. These may include diabetes, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, thyroid issues, as well as fungal infections on the scalp.
Androgenetic Alopecia is the genetic predisposition in both women and men for loss of hair. Contrary to popular belief, the responsible trait can be carried through either the mother or father's side of the family.
Loss of hair may result when androgens (male hormones) and estrogens (female hormones) are out of balance. Also, either underactive or overactive thryoid can lead to hair loss as well.
If you are a women experiencing thinning of the hair, the first thing to do is get properly diagnosed by your family doctor or dermatologist through a series of tests to determine the cause. These tests include a thorough medical history and physical examination as well as blood tests checking the blood count, thyroid, iron and glucose levels.For more info: How Long Should I Wait to Bleach My Hair Again