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Reasons and solutions for Women's Hair Loss

Updated on November 7, 2012

Women and Hair Loss

No one wants to lose their hair, but at least for men it is accepted in society that men can be bald. Many women even find bald men sexy. But with the growing trend for women to have thicker and more luscious hair (watch the movie stars get more hair every year) for a woman to start to lose her hair it can be devastating. Believe me I know. And with very unsympathetic professionals most of us have to take matters into our own hands to try to save what we have and maybe even grow some back.

How do you know if you are losing you hair?

This is something many women do not notice until they start to see their scalp, or until some one states “your hairs got thin” at which point she spends all her next waking hours in the mirror and on google desperately trying to find the cure. Before this you may have noticed more hairs in the shower or on the brush but thought “100 hairs a day is normal right?” But even when I lose a lot of my hairs I could never count 100 hairs a day. You have to know your own hair and own hair loss. If you start noticing more hair fall than normal, less hair density, less hair around your hairline then these are sure tell- tale signs. Also a sure indicator is the length of the hairs faliing out. A normal hair should be as long as the rest of your hair. But with hair loss you will notice your short baby hairs fall out as well.

What are the causes:

You can have different forms of hair loss (alopecia):

  • Alopecia areata, which is patches of hair loss. Its cause is unknown but can come at times of stress. These patches usually grow back.
  • Telogen effluvium (hair shedding), is where the body has had a shock and the hairs have gone into a shedding phase. It often happens after child birth, rapid weight loss or an illness.
  • Traction alopecia, is caused by stress on the hair follicles. Usually by hair being tightly pulled back into a ponytail or from the weight of hair extenions.

These types of hair loss can be very distressing but they can often be reversible and the hair will grow back.

But unfortunetly for most women they suffer from the other type of hair loss which is androgenic alopecia. This is a genetic type of hair loss ( you will usually see other members in your family with hair loss) and is caused by your hormones. It is often referred to in women as female pattern baldness as all women get a similar pattern which is a widening part, thinning temples and thinning at the crown. Unlike men women get a general thinning all over as well and will not go completely bald which is something we can be thankful for. Androgentic alopecia can start as early as when you start pubery and usually comes in waves throughout your life. Sometimes your hair will stablise and then you will have a shed. The extent of your hair loss can depend on how much hair you had to start with, your genetic disposition, and what you do about it.

So what can you do?

There are many things you can do to stop you hair loss and to even grow some of your hair back. The best way to keep your hair is to start early and to stick with it. Many people start and then stop, and then when the hair falls again start again. I have done this many time with the hormonal pill and minoxidil, every time thinking they have stopped helping and only once stopping realising how much they are. It is much easier to keep what you have than regrow. You can regrow hair but only if the follicle is still there. Once the follicle dies you can not regrow a hair in this spot again. So save what your have.

  • Minoxidil – This is the only FDA approved medication for women. It is a topical solution you put onto your scalp twice a day and it is proven to work. It will help stop your hair loss and in some cases grow some back. It is not a wonder drug and grow a full head of luscious hair (to my disappointment) but it does help.
  • Chemicals – Be kind to your hair. Your hair follicles will become smaller which means your hair becomes finer. It becomes more brittle and prone to breakage. It may not be able to handle the dye and treatmetns it use to. Natural hair is best but if you need to colour your hair make sure you give it lots of treatments and stay away from sulphate shampoos.
  • Natural Hair Loss Treatments – There are many clinical studies that prove natural treatments help hair loss. Some of these include fenugreek, green tea, coconut oil and cayenne pepper. Read my other hubs to see how to use them.
  • Wigs and add ons – Make these your friends. I still have enough hair to look good but I now love add ons such as buns and pony tails. I pull my hair back and clip on a bun and within a minute my small amount of hair looks glamorous. I also have a few nice wigs which I love to wear. At first they seem a bit strange but now I love having a short blonde bob or shoulder length brown hair for different occasions. They also make me relise that if my hair got so bad, it would not be such a big deal.
  • Do Not Get Hair Extensions! These will pull out the hairs you have – if a hairdresser tells you they are perfect for thin hair, will not damage your hair etc. they are lying. I have had two kinds of extensions, both perfect for thinning hair and both caused so much of my hair to fall out. DON’T DO IT!
  • Propecia for women – Some women choose to take propecia (finasteride). Personally I do not. Many studies have shown it to be not effective enough in women for me to take it. It has side effects such as increased breast cancer risk and defects in children and with no proof of working, this for me is a no brainer.
  • The hormonal pill. I take Diane 35 as it has a high dose of estrogen and cyproterone acetate ( anti androgen, androgens make your hair fall out), and it helps me immensely. If I stop it I get huge hair loss and when I start it again I get huge hair growth and my hair get stronger and shinier. The pill is different for everyone and this is a personal choice. Some hormonal pills can contribute to hair loss.
  • Spirolactone – A strong anti androgen. This is prescribed for women for hair loss. I took this for 2 years and saw no results. It also gave me very dry hair. In clinical studies it as shown to have similar results as cyproterone acetate. It can have side effects as well.
  • Hair transplants – These can be very expensive and are not recommended for women. They take hair from other areas of your head and move them to thinning areas. In men this works better because the areas at the back and sides are stable but in women they get a general thinning so the new transplanted usually thins too and they end up looking worse then they started. If a surgeon tells you they work well on women, they are lying!

If you are a women losing your hair – remember there are many things you can do about it! And thousands of women are going through the same thing. So save what you have now…and its not too far away now before hair loss will be a thing of the past. Hair loss is big money and the race is on for scientists around the world to cure it.

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