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Hair Loss In Women – Understanding the Causes and Solutions

Updated on October 7, 2010

Losing your hair can be a life changing event that can adversely affect your life in a number ways. Unfortunately for women this also means having to deal with the stigma of having bald patches or no hair at all.  This article will look at some of the major causes of hair loss in women as a step to help you find a solution.

Men’s vs. Women’s Hair Loss

There are some significant differences between hair loss in men and women. It was thought that the root cause of the problem was the same however more recent studies are showing that hair loss in women stems from a larger variety of sources. The differences are highlighted in the different hair loss patterns amongst women. As opposed to men who tend to lose their hair in very specific spots like their crown or temples, hair loss in women is much more diffuse and affects the entire top of the head. Significant factors in men like genetics combined with age don’t seem to hold true with women as hair loss can happen throughout their lives at any time.

Hair Loss in Women
Hair Loss in Women

What Causes Women to Lose Their Hair?

There is not real simple answer to this question. Hair loss in women can come from a number of causes that must be treated very differently from one another. Because our hair grows in cycles, both hair loss and new hair growth after treatment will occur sometime after the causes that trigger it. Some of the most common reasons for hair loss in women include Stress, Thyroid disorders, Hormonal Interruptions and even extended use of certain medications. Lets look at those in more detailed causes.

Hair Loss Handed Down

If your family has a history of hair loss then this is being caused by a certain type of hormone known as androgens that interfere with the natural growth process of your hair. The hormones that cause this are more commonly found in large amounts in men and smaller quantities in women. If there is a build up of one of these hormones in particular DHT (dihydrotestosterone), it causes the hair follicle to shrink and change the hairs natural growth cycle. Some of the hair follicles will die after prolonged exposure to DHT and others will struggle to grow hair consistently. This type of hair loss is known as androgenic alopecia and is a more common cause in men.

Medical Reasons

Hair loss in women may be the consequence of some of the following medical causes;
An autoimmune disorder can result in a type of hair loss known as alopecia areata. This disease is caused by white blood cells that attack the hair follicles and can cause hair loss in patches and bundles. The disease is present in more than 2% of the population.  The effect of this on the follicles meant that new growth slows down dramatically and it could take several months or longer to grow back. On the plus side all the hair follicles are still alive though the technology to activate them isn’t yet available.

One of the most prevalent causes for women’s hair loss is shedding of the hair both on the head and body. This condition is referred to as telogen effluvium, this correlates with changes to your natural hair growth system and is commonly a reaction brought on by extremely high levels of stress. A traumatic incident, major surgery or even some extreme forms of dieting and medication can lead to sudden hair loss in women and men. Fortunately this condition fixes itself and only in rare cases does it become a recurring problem

Hair loss in women may also be caused be a common hormonal problem affecting ladies know as polycystic ovary syndrome. This syndrome in fact may only be recognisable through hair loss in the absence of any medical testing.

On top of the aforementioned causes, hair loss can also stem from anemia, recurring illnesses and some thyroid disorders. The difficulty here is that these that may go undiagnosed and cause subsequent treatments to be ineffective.

Because of the vast array of possible causes it is imperative that you seek the help of a specialist to determine the real cause prior to beginning any treatment. Often a simple blood test will be enough to accurately pinpoint the cause, something more invasive like a scalp biopsy may be required though is rare among most patients.

Hair Loss In Women
Hair Loss In Women

Treating Hair Loss in Women

There are a number of different treatments for the various causes of hair loss in women. These start with simple cosmetic treatments like a hair loss shampoo or a wig and at the other end there are medical therapies and surgery.

Some of the available drugs to treat hair loss were originally designed to treat other conditions. Originally made for high blood pressure, Minoxidil can thicken hair growth in some people thought the drawback is that you have to go on using it.

If you are interested in surgical procedures then your options include a hair transplant which involves moving hair follicles to where the growth is less dense. And secondly a Scalp reduction which will stretch out parts of your scalp that still has hair while bald parts are removed

None of these methods should be taken lightly especially considering that most hair loss isn’t permanent so it may not hurt to consider all the available options including things like hair loss vitamins and vitamins for hair growth. If you are still unsure about your condition then make an appointment with your local doctor and don’t be shy about bringing along well researched questions from your own research and other recommendations.


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      yolanda 6 years ago

      otratamento a leise funciona mesmo

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 7 years ago from South Carolina

      I live in Delaware and the current Miss America contestant from my state, Kayla Martell suffers from alopecia areata. She's a great role model for other women suffering from hair loss and baldness and I've written a hub about her.

      Thanks for sharing this very informative and well written article about hair loss. It's a problem that's very distressing to many who suffer from it.

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      flirteur 7 years ago

      can you fine alot information about hair in my page than i hope to give me your idea about this page thanks so very much