What Are The Stages Of Hair Growth
There are three main stages of hair growth:
Anagen: This is the growth phase in which the hair follicle grows.
Catagen: This is the transition phase where the hair follicle stops growing.
Telogen: This is the resting phase where the hair stays for 2 to 3 months until it falls out. About 10% to 15% of your hair is in the telogen phase at any given time.
Telogen effluvium occurs when hair follicles are pushed into the telogen phase earlier than normal. In 2 to 3 months after the stressful event, these hairs will start falling out.
There Are Different Types Of Hair Loss Genetic And Reactive
There’s a chance you’re genetically predisposed to hair thinning, which means you may see a progressive, gradual reduction in hair volume. “In these instances, certain hair follicles are sensitive to male hormones and this sensitivity causes follicles to gradually shrink and produce slightly finer and shorter hairs with each passing hair growth cycle.” Explains Anabel Kingsley.
This means your hair loss is the result of a trigger. “Excessive daily hair shedding is not reliant on having a genetic predisposition, it occurs as the result of an internal imbalance or upset, such as a nutritional deficiency, severe stress, crash dieting or an illness” says Anabel Kingsley.
Menopause And Hair Loss: Whats The Connection
When entering the years of menopausal transition, it is a good idea to check the bodys hormone levels. This can help explain symptoms such as hair loss.
When a person experiences hair loss and other symptoms of menopause, it is predominantly due to hormonal changes. With age, the ovaries begin to decrease the amount of sex hormones that are normally produced. As the body responds to the fluctuations in hormones, numerous physical changes occur. Menopausal hair loss is directly related to the decreased production of estrogen and progesterone.
As these hormone levels drop, hair may begin to grow more slowly and become thinner. Over time, the decrease in estrogen and progesterone causes an increase in the activity of male hormones that the body makes. Androgens cause the hair follicles on the head to shrink, which leads to hair loss. These are the same hormones that are responsible for increased facial hair growth in menopausal people.
Among other factors that contribute to hair loss are lack of nutrients, stress, and illness. A health care provider may suggest tests for basic blood count, thyroid function, or hormone levels to identify the cause of hair loss.
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What Can I Do
- The appearance of menopausal hair loss can sometimes be improved by cosmetic practices, e.g. reducing the use of straighteners, hair dryers and other heat damaging tools. This along with the use of thickening shampoos and conditioners may improve hair appearance.
- A healthy, varied diet is a contributing factor to a healthy body, so a nutritional review may be helpful.
- Topical solutions to increase hair growth can be purchased. These take several months to take effect and must be used on an ongoing basis, or hair loss will return.
- Laser devices that emit low-energy laser light may stimulate hair growth to help fight thinning hair. Laser therapy is best carried out by a hairdresser or therapist with experience and training on these devices. The long-term safety and effectiveness are unknown.
- Some medications have side effects that could include hair loss. Make sure to talk to your doctor if youve noticed significant hair loss and you think that your medicine might be the cause.
- An important function of hair is to protect the scalp from sunlight it is therefore important to protect any bald areas of your scalp from the sun to prevent sunburn and to reduce the chances of developing long-term sun damage.
- Be reassured. Most menopause related hair loss does slow down with time.
Beware Of Big Promises
There are numerous devices and products that are marketed as effective hair loss treatments, but many of them do not work. Beware of all of the false advertising associated with these products. If a cure for hair loss in women sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Before-and-after pictures may have been doctored to be misleading. How do you know if a hair loss treatment really works? Ask your dermatologist about any treatment you are considering. Look on the FDA and Federal Trade Commission websites to search for approved medical devices and drugs.
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Which Women Are Likely To Experience Hair Loss
Any girl or woman can be affected by hair loss. However, it is usually more common in:
- Women older than 40.
- Women who have just had babies.
- Women who have had chemotherapy and those who have been affected by other medications.
- Women who often have hairstyles that pull on the hair or use harsh chemicals on their hair.
- Menopausal women.
Medical Treatments To Arrest Hair Loss And Promote Regrowth
If your hair loss is severe or continues over 6 months, then seek help from your dermatologist or hair specialist. There are many FDA approved medications and treatments that control hair fall effectively. Medications such as Minoxidil, Finasteride and cyclical vitamin therapy for hair loss have proven benefits. In addition to this, hair loss treatment such as PRP hair treatment and meso-therapy give very good hair regrowth.
Post COVID-19 hair loss is usually caused by telogen effluvium and lasts for around 6 months. Except in cases where it becomes chronic telogen effluvium, where it lasts longer. Supportive care and lifestyle changes can be effective in controlling hair fall. Medical help can control the hair fall faster.
How Can I Tell If I Have Female Pattern Hair Loss
Its best to make an appointment to see a dermatologist. Dermatologists are the experts in diagnosing and treating hair loss. A dermatologist can tell you whether its FPHR or something else that is causing your hair loss. Other causes of hair loss can look like FPHL, so its important to rule out these causes.
What Are The Common Causes Of Hair Loss In Women
What causes hair loss?
- Hair style: Your style of hair can cause hair loss when your hair is arranged in ways that pull on your roots, like tight ponytails, braids, or corn rows. This type of hair loss is called traction alopecia. If hair follicles are damaged, the loss can be permanent.
- Vitamin deficiency.
- Over processed scalp hair .
What causes anagen effluvium hair loss?
- Toxic substances, including chemotherapy, radiation therapy and some medications. These cause sudden hair loss that can occur anywhere on your body. It happens to hair in the growth stage. Sometimes, this type of hair loss can be permanent if your hair follicles are damaged.
What causes telogen effluvium hair loss?
- Extreme physical stress or shock to your body: This causes temporary hair loss. This category includes events like losing a lot of weight, surgery, anemia, illness and having a baby.
- Extreme emotional stress: mental illness, the death of a loved one, etc.
- An abnormal thyroid.
- Medications and supplements: blood pressure medicines, gout medicines and high doses of Vitamin A.
- Hormone changes caused by pregnancy, menopause or birth control pills.
What causes FPHL ?
- Genes: Your familys genes can cause thinning of hair along the top of your head.
- Aging: Hormone changes as you age can cause balding.
- Menopause: This type of hair loss often gets worse when estrogen is lost during menopause.
There are also some conditions that affect hair loss:
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Managing Major Hair Loss
There are many things you can do to disguise sudden hair loss in women that is severe. You can use a hat, scarf, or bandana to cover your head. If you have bald areas, consider getting a weave or concealing the bald area with a hairpiece. Wigs can be very natural looking. They fit so well you can even wear them while you are working out at the gym or swimming. If hair loss causes severe distress and it is affecting your self-esteem or ability to carry out daily activities, seek the help of a therapist.
Heres How The Hair Growth Cycle Works:
Ok, its science-y but very cool, basically each hair follicle on our scalp undergoes three stages of a life cycle, explains Dr Wong.
AnagenThis is the active growing phase, which can last between 2-7 years during which the hair becomes longer and thicker.
CatagenAfter anagen, the hair follicle moves into the short transitional phase called catagen when the hair fibre stops growing, followed by the resting phase telogen which lasts around 3 months.
TelogenDuring telogen the old hair is gradually pushed up towards the skin surface before it is then shed naturally and replaced with a new emerging anagen hair.
On a typical head of hair each follicle is at a different stage at different times so you probably wont notice it happening. Very cool. This cycle continues repeatedly throughout our lifetime and each hair follicle is cycling independently of neighbouring follicles meaning that human hair growth is asynchronised, says Dr Wong.
Its important to note that hair loss is a very common problem for women much more so that people realise. “Research shows that at least 1 in 3 women will suffer from hair loss or reduced hair volume at some point in their lifetime,” says Anabel Kingsley. So, if you are losing strands, it’s important not to freak out, your mane willrecover. In the meantime, here’s everything you need to know…
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Are There Complications/side Effects Of Treatment
Minoxidil may irritate your scalp and cause dryness, scaling, itching and/or redness. See your dermatologist if this happens.
With Minoxidil you might also see hair growing in other places other than your scalp . Wash your face after you apply Minoxidil and make sure you avoid other areas when you apply it.
Cosmetic Options For Hair Loss
When medical treatments fall short, women can also consider cosmetic options to make up for lost hair, such as wearing a wig. At the other end of the spectrum is hair transplantation, a surgical procedure that moves active follicles from the back of the scalp to areas where the hair is thinning. Once transplanted, the hair grows normally.
Hair transplantation is typically performed as an outpatient surgical procedure. In appropriate patients, it can be extremely successful, but it wont work for everyone, says Dr. Scott. One drawback is the expense: it can cost thousands of dollars and is not covered by insurance. The procedure also requires recovery time. And it may not be appropriate for women who have diffuse thinning across the whole scalp. Its more effective in treating smaller, more defined areas of balding.
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What Questions Might Your Healthcare Provider Ask To Diagnose And Categorize Your Hair Loss
Your healthcare provider might ask about your habits:
- What kinds of hair products do you use?
- What kinds of hair styles do you wear?
- What types of food do you eat ?
- Do you have a habit of pulling your hair out ?
They might ask about your history:
- Has anyone in your immediate family experienced hair loss?
- Is there anything stressful going on in your life?
- What medications and supplements do you take every day?
- Has hair loss ever happened to you before?
- What foods are in your diet?
And, they might ask about your observations:
- How long have you been losing hair?
- Have you been shedding more?
- Have you noticed hair loss in places other than your scalp, like your eyebrows? Leg and arm hair?
- Does anything worsen your hair loss?
- Does anything improve your hair loss?
- Have you noticed hair loss occasionally or has it been going on continuously?
- Have you noticed if your hair growth has changed?
- Has your hair been breaking more often?
Hair Loss In Older Women: Causes And Treatment Options
Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Aging gracefully is everyones goal. Often, the things we worry about skin, gray hair, heart and mental health get the most attention.
But for women, one of the less talked about aging concerns is something traditionally associated with men: hair loss.
Hair loss is not something normally associated with women, and yet for many older women it becomes a growing reality as they lose more through their later years.
But its not the only reason a woman out of her younger years might be losing hair.
Before we discuss reasons women might lose hair as we age, its important to understand some basics about how hair grows, and why it may stop growing.
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What Are The Causes And Types Of Female Pattern Baldness
Genetics usually plays a part in the development of female pattern baldness. A woman can inherit the genes that cause female pattern baldness from one or both of their parents. Its also possible that hormones contribute to the condition. For example, hair loss is a symptom of the hormonal condition, polycystic ovary syndrome.
Female pattern baldness is different from alopecia areata, which is an auto-immune disease resulting in hair loss from the scalp and other parts of the body.
Hair Loss Treatment Options
Whether the cause of your hair loss is determined to be androgenic alopecia or another condition, there are a variety of topical and oral medications that can reduce, halt or reverse thinning in your scalp.
Some are better and safer than others.
Finasteride is one of the oral medications that fights the effects of androgenic alopecia, though its typically prescribed for men for a variety of safety reasons.
It does this by balancing your levels of the hormone DHT. Studies show finasteride is effective for men.
For women, its not such a safe bet.
While the efficacy of finasteride for women is less clear than for men, the most important concern is that finasteride can also carry serious risks for pregnant women, as it can cause a male fetus to develop ambiguous genitalia.
Even if youre not pregnant, side effects can include sexual dysfunction and cancer risks.
Antiandrogens like spironolactone or cyproterone acetate are a better and safer bet for most women, though a healthcare professional will help you make the final decision.
Perhaps most commonly used in women is topical minoxidil, which is believed to increase blood flow to hair follicles to encourage hair growth.
A study of men using minoxidil over a 48-week period showed up to an 18 percent increase in hair growth and women can expect similarly effective results.
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