What Causes Hair Loss In Women

By: dmaillie

Hair loss is a problem that we usually attribute to middle aged males. What is not as apparent is that women also suffer from this problem. We just do not see it as most women will cover it up with a wig, weaves, etc. Once it has started it is important to find the cause and reverse it, if possible, before it leads to unsightly balding and permanent loss. Many manifestations of hair loss in women can actually be reversed if caught early enough.

What Causes Hair Loss In Women

1) Tight Weaves, Hairdos & Wearing of Hats
These can all result in loss of hair called tension or traction alopecia. According to the American Hair Loss Council:

  • Traction alopecia is hair loss caused by physical stress and tension on the hair such as prolonged use of hair weaving, corn rows etc. Done too tightly on weak hair these can cause permanent loss of hair.
  • Anything that over tightens, constrains, or over burdens our hair and follicles can easily cause hair loss. The wearing of tight hats can also cause this condition. Many males have received receding and uneven hairlines from wearing tight hats. As a rule, do not do anything that unduly puts tension or strain on your hair.

2) Menstration and normal female hormonal changes
These hormonal changes can lead to loss of hair. This is referred to as telogen effiuvium or temporary hair loss. This can be caused by over exertion, stress both physical and emotional, thyroid problems and medicinal side effects.

  • Many medicines have varying degrees in loss of hair as a side effect. Even many common medicines we would not normally link to this hair condition. This is why it is important to see your doctor if you suspect any thinning or loss of hair. Your doctor will ask for a history of all medicines taken and search for related possible side effects. It is normal for women to have some thinning of the hair during their menstruation cycle, from taking anti pregnancy pills, and upon reaching menopause. There are medicines your doctor can prescribe which can help with these causes.
  • The technical term for hair loss is androgenetic alopecia which imparts both hormonal and genetic attributes. Basically, many cases in women are similar to mens cases, with too much testosterone. Over production of testosterone or lack of synthesis of it can result in it being turned into dihydrotestosterone (DHT) at the follicle which will slowly kill the follicle. This over time results in balding patterns and loss of hair. There are hair treatments which treat and reduce the accumulation of DHT in the follicle, but more research into stopping the conversion of testosterone into DHT needs to be done.

There are other causes like chemotherapy, autoimmune disorders, scalp yeast infections, etc. Many of these are temporary and will go away, some require treatment so further hair loss and possible balding can be stopped. The best advice is to see your doctor early so they can properly diagnose the cause and treat it. effectively.

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