How Will A Healthcare Provider Diagnose Hair Loss In Women What Tests Are Done
The tests performed to diagnose hair loss in women can be simple or complicated:
- Gently pulling on your hair to see how many hairs come out.
- Blood tests. These check for vitamin and mineral levels and hormone levels .
- Scalp examination under a microscope and trichoscopy.
- Scalp biopsy to remove and examine a very small piece of scalp skin.
How Do I Tell If My Hair Is Shedding Or Thinning
Its the question I ask myself most mornings: How exactly do you figure out if your hair is actually thinning or if youre just shedding a little more than usual? You lose about 50 to 100 hairs every day, which is about 0.001 percent of your hair, says Burg. Now, when you notice that amount doubling or tripling, thats an indication that your hair cycle is too short. Reminder: If your hair cycle speeds up, it goes through its resting and falling stages too quickly, which can lead to less hair on your pretty little head.
Other than monitoring the amount of hair you lose in the shower or on your hair brush, youll want to check your ponytail , your part , and your scalp . If you are noticing any of the above, dont freak, heres what you can do next:
Crash Diets Are Dangerous
Crash diets and fad diets promise quick weight loss, but most do not work and can be dangerous. If you lose 15 pounds or more very quickly, you may lose a significant amount of hair within a matter of months. Inadequate protein and nutrients is one of the potential reasons for hair loss in women. Stick to a healthy, balanced eating plan. Fresh fruit, vegetables, lean meats, and complex carbs give your body the fats, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals you need to maintain a healthy body, including a full head of hair. Other dietary risk factors for hair loss? Excess vitamin A may set the stage for your luscious locks to fall out.
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Hormonal Changes: The Most Common Reason For Thinning Hair In Older Women
As women age, the levels of estrogen they produce begin to decline. Estrogen does several things that promote thick hair. Therefore, the loss contributes to thinner hair in several ways as well. First, estrogen lengthens the growth stage of hair. This means more follicles of hair are growing at a given time when estrogen production is at an ideal level. It also stimulates the growth of new hair, after the old hair has shed.
Estrogen plays an important role in the overall appearance of hair. It is easy to see why an imbalance could cause hair to begin to look thinner over time. There is very little that can be done to increase the natural production of estrogen once menopause has started. However, phytoestrogens, bioidentical, or synthetic estrogens can be utilized to support estrogenic activity in the body.
Where Do I Start
You just learned a lot of information about what could be causing your unexplained hair lossso where the heck does a gal start?
My inclination is always to start with the low-hanging fruit, trust your intuition and go from there.
For example, if you know youre stressed out most of the time it would be a good idea to start practicing some regular self-care.
Or, perhaps your hair loss coupled with low energy, insomnia, weight gain, digestive issues, etc. could be a clue that you need to get some lab work done to check for thyroid, hormonal, or nutrient imbalances.
The point is that thinning hair is usually a sign of a deeper issueand thats not something to be afraid of! Instead, Id invite you to see it as an opportunity to take back control of your whole health and enhance your happiness.
Youre worth it!
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How Do You Measure Hair Loss
Doctors characterize the severity of hair loss using something called the Savin density scale. This scale has 8 stages and describes hair loss around the midline part as well recession in the front of the hairline. Some women lose hair to various degrees around the midline and/or in the front of the hairline. Some women experience hair thinning all over the scalp. Hair loss may occur in episodes or continuously. The doctor parts the hair down the middle of the head and then determines the severity of hair loss. The most common pattern for female pattern baldness is thinning around the midline that occurs in the shape of a Christmas tree. The pattern and severity of female hair loss helps determine the appropriate course of treatment.
What Are Some Effective Types Of Treatment For Thinning Hair
If you find yourself hyperventilating in the aisles of Whole Foods and buying $70 worth of biotin, take a step back. Though its use as a hair- and nail-growth supplement is prevalent, research demonstrating the efficacy of biotin is limited and most has focused on nails. “We don’t really have great data supporting its use,” says Henry. “The original studies on biotin and hair were actually quite small because of this, I don’t recommend very high doses of biotin. Further, high doses of biotin can interfere with some blood tests, especially in older patients and patients with a history of heart disease.”
Many women may have had these supplements recommended to them at some point, but unless there is a severe natural deficiency , it’s typically preferable to incorporate proven lifestyle changes, like a nutrient-filled diet and decreased stress.
There are a few treatments, like platelet-rich plasma injections, that do work. “PRP contains a number of compounds that are unique to platelets that stimulate growth and reduce inflammation,” explains Firshein. “Platelets work similarly to how they do in other parts of the body by repairing damaged areas and helping them to regrow.”
Hair loss is incredibly common, and women should not have to suffer in silence or try to hide their hair loss for fear of being seen as unattractive or old. Aging is a natural and beautiful process, and whether it’s going gray or thinning out, it is time we normalize beauty at every age.
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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.
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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Style Your Hair Right
Hair stylists are a great resource for help for hair loss in women. A new haircut or hairstyle may be just what you need to make your hair appear fuller. Ask your stylist for advice about getting a shorter cut, parting your hair in a different location, or adding curls or waves to add volume to your hair. Products for hair loss in women include using styling products designed for thin hair. Some products are added to the roots while hair is damp before blowing dry. Some cosmetic products can help disguise the appearance of bald spots. Keratin fiber hair cosmetics have a static charge that makes hair appear fuller than it is. Ask your stylist or dermatologist for recommendations about the products and strategies that will work best for you.
Choose The Right Products
If you decide to color-treat your tresses, its best to opt for a stylist to color your hair. A professional can help determine the safest dye to use for your hair type, and can provide tips on shampoos, conditioners and other hair products made specifically for color-treated hair.
Its also wise to forego daily heat styling, such as with blow dryers, curling wands and flat irons. We all want to look our best, but cutting back on intense heat styling tools one or two days a week will help hair bounce back from the damage they inflict.
If you must use heat-styling products, apply a heat protectant to hair prior to use. A heat protectant provides a protective coating between heated styling products and hair, and adds moisture to protect against damage during heat styling.
Avoid hair products that contain hormone-disrupting chemicals like parabens and phthalates commonly found in many hair products. Dr. Bergfeld adds, Having said that, the science does not substantiate that these cosmetic chemicals you at any risk since the natural environment and foods have a greater risk.
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How To Cover Minor Hair Loss
Once youve spoken to your doctor about a plan thats right for you, it will still take time to see noticeable regrowth. In the meantime, you may be interested in covering up any balding or hair thinning.
Luckily, root sprays exist that blend in with your hair color to conceal your scalp. Though it may not match your hair color perfectly, its a great quick fix.
If your hair loss is more pronounced, consider making an appointment for a wig consultation. Makers like Noah Scott create beautiful units with a natural-looking hairline.
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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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The Thyroid Disease Connection
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that rests in the front base of the neck. It secretes thyroid hormones that are used by every cell in the body. There’s a connection between hair loss in women and thyroid disease. Imbalances in thyroid hormone levels are a common reason for hair loss in women. Too much thyroid hormone and too little thyroid hormone may both trigger hair loss. Other symptoms of hyperthyroidism include weight loss, rapid heart rate, inability to fall asleep or stay asleep, and anxiety. In addition to hair loss, hypothyroidism may be associated with weight gain, fatigue, feeling cold, slow heart rate, and constipation. Luckily, thyroid hormone imbalances are easily detectable with blood tests. Treatment helps alleviate symptoms, including hair loss.
Hair Loss Trigger: Thyroid Problems
This butterfly-shaped gland at the front of your neck pumps out chemicals that keep your body humming along. If it makes too much or too little thyroid hormone, your hair growth cycle might take a hit. But thinner locks are rarely the only sign of a thyroid problem. You might lose or gain weight, become sensitive to cold or heat, or notice changes in your heart rate.
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When To Seek Help
You should consult your doctor if:
- You are losing hair in an unusual pattern
- You are losing hair rapidly or at an early age
- You have any pain or itching with the hair loss
- The skin on your scalp under the involved area is red, scaly, or otherwise abnormal
- You have acne, facial hair, or an abnormal menstrual cycle
- You have additional symptoms which concern you.
Hair Loss Trigger: Crash Diets
You may lose more than weight with a fad diet. And if you drop 15 pounds or more, you might also shed some hair a few months down the road. Donât worry too much — itâll return when youâre back on a healthy diet. Be prepared to shed some locks if youâre getting too much vitamin A or not enough protein.
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Yes Women Experience Thinning Hair Too Heres Why And Possible Treatments
At first, I blamed the hairstylists. For several years, my hair had been flat, the cowlick too pronounced, the texture different. I kept switching salons in search of the perfect cut, the miracle product or, ideally, both. Then, as I ticked off my complaints to a new stylist, he ran his fingers through my hair and shrugged. It happens, he said. We get older. The hair thins.
Just a few months later, Ricki Lake, 51, revealed her own struggle with hair loss an irony for the actress who found fame as the star of Hairspray. My fixation kicked into high gear, and I started searching online for answers. I learned that its normal to shed 50 to 100 hairs a day, and that new ones should grow in their place. But a variety of factors, including genetics, illness and poor nutrition, can disrupt that growth cycle, not just in men, but also in women of all ages. The American Hair Loss Association reports that 40 percent of all hair loss sufferers are women.
Genetics is the leading cause of hair loss for both sexes, said Marc Avram, a New York dermatologist who specializes in the condition. The American Academy of Dermatology reports that 30 million women in the United States suffer from hereditary hair loss, compared with 50 million men, though Avram suspects the numbers are much higher.