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Hair Loss in Women: Symptoms, Types, Causes, and Effective Methods

Hair loss in women is a broad term used to express hair fall that is seen in females. It happens when a disruption in hair growth causes hair to fall. 

Hair carries great significance in terms of appearance, that’s why hair loss in women is a very important subject.

Some key points from the article:

  • HAIR LOSS IN WOMEN CAN BE HEREDITARY.
  • IT USUALLY LOOKS LIKE DIFFUSE HAIR THINNING.
  • TYPES OF HAIR LOSS IN WOMEN ARE ANDROGENETIC ALOPECIA, TELOGEN EFFLUVIUM, ANAGEN EFFLUVIUM, ALOPECIA AREATA, AND TRACTION ALOPECIA..
  • HORMONAL CHANGES, STRESS, CERTAIN MEDICAL CONDITIONS, AND SMOKING CAN CAUSE HAIR LOSS IN WOMEN.
  • MINOXIDIL, ANTIANDRGOENS, CORTICOSTEROIDS, SUPPLEMENTS, SCALP MASSAGE, HAIR TRANSPLANT CAN HELP.

What Is Female Hair Loss?

Female hair loss is a general term used to describe hair loss in women. The loss of hair in females usually happens due to hormonal imbalances, such as a drop in estrogen or an increase in androgen. 

Hormonal changes or other factors alter the function of hair follicles. Disruption in the hair cycle causes hair to fall, or lose its thickness and strength. 

Since the post-partum period, menopause, and menstruation change hormone levels in the body, the hair loss that women experience in these periods is called female hair loss.

female hair loss

Which Women Tend to Experience Hair Loss More?

Elderly women are more likely to experience hair loss. It is because as you age, hair follicles age too. Aging causes follicles to get smaller, making it hard to produce and grow hair.

Hair Loss in African American Women

Hair loss in African-American women is very common. There are main reason for this is African American hair has a very fragile state because of the traditional hairstyles. This fragile state makes the hair prone to fall out.

The damage usually is caused by straightening with chemicals or hairstyles that constantly pull the hair tightly such as braids and dreadlocks. 

The kind of hair loss that is related to continuous pulling pressure on hair is called traction alopecia, and it is a very common issue among African-American women.

Are Female Hair Loss and Female Pattern Hair Loss the Same?

No, female hair loss and female pattern hair loss are not the same. Female hair loss is a broad term, which covers any type of hair loss seen in women. 

Since women go through different processes throughout their lives and there can be different reasons for hair fall, female hair loss term includes all hair loss types that women can experience.

Female pattern hair loss is a specific type of hair loss that can be seen in females, which is also known as androgenetic alopecia in women. It refers to the type of hair loss that happens mainly due to genetics and hormones. The hair goes through a miniaturization process, which makes the hair fall.

Signs of Hair Loss in Women

The symptoms of hair loss in women are:

  • HAIR LOSS OF MORE THAN 100 STRANDS A DAY
  • REDUCTION IN HAIR VOLUME
  • THINNER PONYTAIL
  • A MORE EXTENDED PARTING

Types of Hair Loss in Women

All of the following types of hair loss can be seen in women.

  • ANDROGENETIC ALOPECIA
  • TELOGEN EFFLUVIUM
  • ANAGEN EFFLUVIUM
  • ALOPECIA AREATA
  • TRACTION ALOPECIA
  • TRICHOTILLOMANIA 

 

All hair loss types happen due to different reasons and can show different patterns.

Causes of Hair Loss in Women

Possible causes of hair loss in women are listed below. 

  • AGE
  • HORMONAL IMBALANCES
  • GENETICS
  • STRESS
  • MALNUTRITION
  • MEDICAL CONDITIONS SUCH AS PCOS OR THYROID DISEASES
  • SMOKING

All of these conditions affect hair follicles or the hair growth cycle, causing hair loss in women.

What Causes Hair Loss in Older Women?

In most cases, hormonal changes are the cause of hair loss in older women. Women experience menopause between the ages of 45-55. 

Menopause causes a drop in estrogen and a rise in androgen levels in the body. This change in hormone levels can shorten the growing phase (anagen) of the cycle, causing hair loss in menopause. 

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may help to regulate hormones and prevent hair loss.

What Causes Hair Loss in Young Women?

The most common causes of hair loss in young women are listed below. 

  • HORMONAL IMBALANCES
  • STRESS
  • MALNUTRITION

Hormonal imbalances can alter the hair cycle. For example, Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) patients have increased androgen levels. High levels of androgens can shorten the anagen phase and cause hair loss in a teenage girl. 

Stress increases stress hormone (cortisol) levels in the body. Increased cortisol can lead to the entrance of a high amount of premature hair to the resting phase (telogen). This condition is called telogen effluviumStress also can trigger the immune system. If the person has an autoimmune disease such as alopecia areata, stress will allow the immune system to attack the healthy follicles. 

Hair needs vitamins and minerals to stay healthy and to have a proper hair cycle. If the patient doesn’t take enough vitamins and minerals, the follicles can’t produce healthy hair and hair loss can be seen.

What Hormone Causes Hair Loss in Women?

Sex hormones (estrogens and androgens) cause hair loss in women. Increased androgen levels are known to be related to female pattern hair loss. 

In terms of estrogen, the sudden drop in estrogen after childbirth or menopause causes hormonal hair loss in women.

Does Testosterone Cause Hair Loss in Women?

Yes, testosterone can lead to loss of hair. Testosterone is converted to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and high DHT can cause miniaturization of hair follicles, leading to hair loss.

A study that analyzes testosterone and dihydrotestosterone levels in female pattern hair loss shows that women who have androgenetic alopecia produce more testosterone than normal rates.

Can Female Hair Loss Be Hereditary?

Yes, female hair loss can be hereditary, it can pass down through generations. As a result of this hereditary transmission, you can have a genetic predisposition to hair loss.

The only hereditary female hair loss is androgenetic alopecia which is also known as female pattern hair loss.

Does Stress Cause Hair Loss in Women?

Yes, stress can cause hair loss in women. Hair loss caused by stress is called telogen effluvium“. Stress stops the hairs in the growth phase and makes them enter the resting phase before maturing. This sudden and premature entrance of the hair into the resting phase causes hair loss.

Nutritional Causes of Hair Loss in Women

If your body lacks certain nutrients, hair growth can be interrupted. These vitamin and mineral deficiencies are: 

  • PROTEIN
  • VITAMIN D
  • VITAMIN B12
  • IRON
  • ZINC
  • FOLATE

Supplements can help to regrow hair loss caused by malnutrition.

Consuming too much of certain nutrients, such as vitamin A and Selenium can cause hair loss as well. Overconsumption of vitamin A can cause hypervitaminosis, a condition that can cause hair loss. Similarly, too much selenium can make the body attack healthy hair cells and lead to hair fall.

Medical Conditions That Cause Hair Loss in Women

There are certain health conditions that can cause hair loss in women, which are:

  • POLYCYSTIC OVARY SYNDROME (PCOS)
  • SYSTEMIC LUPUS ERYTHEMATOSUS (SLE)
  • SYPHILIS
  • THYROID DISEASES
  • ANEMIA
  • RADIATION THERAPY

Does Smoking Cause Hair Loss in Women?

Yes, smoking can cause hair loss in women. Smoking and hair loss in women are related because it constricts blood flow, making hair follicles hard to reach blood.

Proper blood circulation is important for the follicles because blood carries oxygen, and the follicles need oxygen to grow hair and survive.

What About the Sudden Hair Loss in Women?

Reasons for sudden hair loss in women include alopecia areata and telogen effluvium. These conditions can also be the reasons for severe hair loss in women. 

In alopecia areata, the immune system attacks hair follicles and causes sudden hair loss. 

In telogen effluvium, hairs in the growing phase enter the telogen phase before it is done maturing and cause sudden hair loss. 

Along with these, the following can also cause sudden and severe hair loss:

  • GENETICS
  • HORMONES
  • RADIOTHERAPY
  • AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES

How to Treat Hair Loss in Women

The treatment for hair loss in women can change depending on the cause of hair fall. 

We listed the possible treatments for female hair loss below.

  • MINOXIDIL
  • ANTIANDROGENS
  • CORTICOSTEROIDS
  • SUPPLEMENTS
  • SCALP MASSAGE
  • HERBAL OILS SUCH AS ROSEMARY OIL
  • HAIR TRANSPLANTATION

Antiandrogens, corticosteroids, and Minoxidil are medicines that can help with hair loss in women. 

Supplements can treat nutritional deficiency if this is the case. 

Herbal oils can promote hair growth, while scalp massage can support blood flow to the hair follicles. 

A hair transplant technique can cover the visible reason scalp and increase hair density.

How to Prevent Hair Loss in Women

Hair loss can be prevented by removing the reason or taking certain precautions as a hair loss prevention. For example, if you consume nutrients that help with hair growth such as proteins, use herbal oils like rosemary oil, and avoid stress, you can prevent hair loss that may be caused by these reasons. However, of course, not all types of hair loss are preventable.

Hair Loss During Pregnancy and Post-Partum

Hair loss during pregnancy can happen, but it is not common. Usually, the hair becomes thicker during the pregnancy period. The reason for this is the rise in estrogen and progesterone levels. High estrogen and progesterone keep the hair in the anagen phase (growing) for longer, hair becomes fully matured and loss is minimized. Hair loss during pregnancy is usually linked to nutrition, as pregnant women require extra nutrients to ensure the well-being of themselves and their babies.

Postpartum hair shedding in women is very common. The estrogen and progesterone levels that were high during the pregnancy start to drop during childbirth; and during the postpartum period, they plummet suddenly. This reverses the effects they had during the pregnancy. The sudden drop in the levels of these hormones later causes hair to suddenly enter the telogen phase, causing hair loss. 

If you want to track your hair loss day by day, here’s a traction chart for you!

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