What Causes Hair Loss in Women
February 06, 2019It is not surprising to find women who battle with hair loss; twenty-one million females worldwide suffer from it. However, we don't seem to be so familiar with female hair loss, probably because women tend to overlook or disguise their problem to deal with the stress and embarrassment it causes. When hair loss starts, many different variables have to be evaluated carefully to tackle the root of the problem. Since female hair loss can have more than one cause, a comprehensive evaluation of the overall health status is necessary to get a successful hair loss treatment for women. Read on and learn how you can identify female alopecia and what causes hair loss in women.
How to Identify Female AlopeciaHair loss in women is sometimes difficult to identify. Many women with female pattern hair loss tend to think their thin, wispy hair is normal. As they age, they find that their already frail or scarce hair becomes even thinner (which is expected around the time of menopause for women who are predisposed). This may be the time they start realizing that they have female alopecia. Unfortunately, this means they may have wasted time they could have used to start a hair loss treatment and prevent miniaturization of the follicle.
Female pattern hair loss is different to male pattern baldness. Whereas men tend to get a receding hairline, women lose hair in the front of the scalp and crown – while retaining the hairline. Overall diffuse thinning is also noticeable. Other signs to diagnose female alopecia are a shorter duration of the anagen (growth) phase and a lengthening of the telogen (shedding) phase. Vellus hairs (very thin hairs) then start to appear instead of normal hairs, at the same rate as hair follicles shrink until they do not produce more hair.
A dermatologic consultation is the correct way to diagnose female pattern hair loss. Observation and information about the patient's background are usually enough for a diagnose, but a culture for fungus, a biopsy, and a hair-pull test are other resources to confirm.
Women with hair loss are more prone to depression and stress since they have to deal with this condition that can eat away at their self-esteem.
What Causes Hair Loss in Women?
HeredityLike with many other health issues, heredity can be the culprit of hair loss. Genetic predisposition to baldness can trigger female pattern hair loss from puberty on. As mentioned earlier, some women with female pattern baldness start noticing significant hair thinning by age thirty, while a larger number of them will notice it around the time of menopause.
It has been established that male pattern hair loss is largely due to hypersensitivity to DHT (a byproduct of testosterone). In the case of female hair loss, however, the levels of androgens (male hormones) in the blood do not convert to DHT but do have an impact on the hair growth cycle. According to studies, hereditary hair loss occurs more commonly in women with fewer of a particular variant in the androgen receptor (AR) genes, which are located in the X (female) chromosome.
Like in male pattern hair loss, family history can be used as a reference to estimate the probabilities of developing female hair loss. There is no cure for androgenetic alopecia, but the earlier it is diagnosed, the more likely it is to retain hair for longer, by delaying the miniaturization of the hair follicles.
Hormonal IssuesHormones are essential to hair growth, and as we can expect, they also play a role in the onset of hair loss. There are certain hormonal syndromes that women are exposed to:
- PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome): this syndrome is characterized by irregular periods, cysts that stop the ovaries from releasing eggs, excess male hormones, and sometimes, hair loss. There is no known cause for PCOS and there is no cure, but it can be controlled. Once hormonal treatment is applied, the related symptoms of PCOS such as hair loss can be relieved.
- Thyroid issues: females are more likely than men to develop thyroid problems. When the hormones secreted by the thyroid gland are at an imbalance, hair loss is one of the possible consequences. Thyroid hormones regulate cell metabolism in the body, and it has been established that they interact directly with the hair follicle, causing diffuse (all over the scalp) hair thinning.
- Childbirth: during pregnancy, females produce increased levels of estrogen and progesterone, which make hair shiny and thick and "freeze" hair in the resting phase (in other words, shedding hair stays on). After childbirth, those hormones level out, and the resting hair starts falling at a higher rate than before pregnancy started. This type of hair loss can start anywhere between three to six months after giving birth, and last for a similar time until the hair growth cycle resumes its normal rhythm.
- Menopause: it is the natural ending of menstrual cycles. No more eggs are produced, and levels of female hormones decline, giving way to androgens to trigger hair loss in predisposed women.
StressEmotional stress by itself does not cause hair loss. It rather causes hormones to go berserk, which in turn triggers hair thinning. Physical stress due to dramatic weight loss, trauma, pain or prolonged illnesses can also alter the hair growth cycle and mechanisms and result in hair loss.
Nutritional deficienciesMost women with hair loss have also been found to have low levels of iron in their blood. It is important to get tested and rule out iron deficiency. In addition, it is useful to get supplements to strengthen and nourish hair. B12, biotin, and vitamin C are present in many special hair supplements, just make sure your physician has evaluated you and recommended to go through with treatment.
The first step to fighting the problem is understanding what causes hair loss in women. We hope you were able to identify the signs that most resemble your particular case and this information helps you get proper – and most importantly, early – diagnose. If you need to take care of your thinning hair, turn to The Cosmetic Republic USA; we have sulfate-free effective hair loss treatments for women. Call TOLL FREE 1-888-513-8815 or fill out the contact form with us to learn everything about our hair care lines. Don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter for the latest news about us right in your inbox.
If you found this article helpful then let us know in the comments section below. Likewise, feel free to share it using the share options below. Want us to cover another topic of your interest pertaining to hair solutions? If so, then like us and follow us on social media, and post to any of our social media profiles the topic you'd like us to discuss: Facebook @TheCosmeticRepublicUSA, Twitter @TheCosmeticrUSA and Instagram @TheCosmeticRepublicUSA