Medical And Other Conditions
If hair follicles are uniform in size, or if the hair loss is sudden, it is likely to be caused by something other than heredity, like a medical condition, Rogers says.
There are a wide range of conditions that can bring on hair loss, with some of the most common being pregnancy, thyroid disorders, and anemia. Others include autoimmune diseases, polycystic ovary syndrome , and skin conditions such as psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis, Rogers says.
Though there has been a link between menopause and hair loss, Roberts says she doesnât think there is a direct correlation. It could be that menopause and hair loss just occur at the same age.
Other reasons for hair loss include extreme stress physical trauma like surgery or intense illness dramatic weight loss over a short period of time and taking too much Vitamin A, Roberts says. And hair loss can occur a couple of weeks to six months after any of these experiences.
âSomeone can have surgery and be just fine and then two weeks later their hair starts falling out,â Roberts says. âIt can be very scary when it starts falling out in big clumps.â
Female Hair Loss: Causes And Treatment
Far from being my crowning glory, my hair has been the bane of my life. But one question has always plagued me: is my problem on my head, or in my head? While I’ve suspected my hair has been thinning for decades, few people ever believed me and at times I even doubted it myself.
There were years when my hair seemed fuller, when I’d scrunch it into ringlets and delight at its apparent thickness. At other times, particularly in my 30s, I’d fret over the wispy strands at the front of my head or when I saw too much scalp in the mirror.
My friends always reassured me I had a good head of hair. Most of the GPs I saw reacted the same, despite my tears and protestations. I had no bald patches or visible gaps so they’d put it down to stress or would test my iron and thyroid levels, which appeared normal.
Some of my hair loss over the years is easily explained. I developed an eating disorder and recall gathering clumps of hair off my pink bedroom carpet when I was under-eating in my teens.
Weight loss, low iron levels, poor diet and stress, along with thyroid and hormonal imbalances, can all cause hair to fall, trichologists say. Hair needs a healthy diet and a well-functioning endocrine system to flourish.
“Genetic hair loss is the only hair loss in which the follicle gradually gets smaller and finer and producers smaller and finer hair until it stops altogether and then you get the thinning,” says Lyons.
Hair Loss In Women All You Need To Know
One of the most common misconceptions of hair loss is that it affects men only. However, in reality, at least one-third of women face noticeable hair loss due to a plethora of reasons. Female-pattern hair loss is the most crucial cause of hair loss in women.
Women, unlike men, experience only thinning hair without the risk of going bald. This hair loss in women can often be stabilized and reversed with the right treatment.
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Diet Deficiencies: Your Hair Is What You Eat
The essential vitamins and nutrients, like protein, that you get from a healthy, varied, and well-balanced diet ensure good health all throughout your body, making sure all your organs and internal systems are working just as they should. Poor nutrition or following a severely restrictive crash or fad diet can lead to all kinds of nutrient deficiencies, which in turn can result in hair loss, from thinning hair to patches of baldness.
Common Causes Of Hair Loss
- Hairstyle: This is one of the most common causes of hair loss. When you repeatedly style in a particular manner that pulls or drags your hair, it results in hair loss. Cornrows, tight ponytails, or braids are some of the main hairstyles that are responsible for hair loss in women. Moreover, hair loss can turn permanent if the hair follicles are completely damaged.
- Vitamin, iron and biotin deficiencies can also cause hair loss in women.
- Rapid weight loss due to dieting or restrictive diet can also trigger hair loss in women.
- Breakage or over-processed hair can also be responsible for hair loss.
- Extreme shock or physical stress can cause telogen effluvium in women. Moreover, excessive emotional stress, hormone changes, abnormal thyroid can also lead to telogen effluvium.
- Radiation therapy, certain medications, and chemotherapy are responsible for anagen effluvium in women.
- Aging and genes can cause your hair to thin from the sides or along the top.
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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.
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.
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Why You Lose Your Hair
As you might suspect, hair loss is completely normal at every age when it happens within certain parameters. Children lose hair every day after all, and the same is true for normal adults.
You can shed about 100 hairs a day as an adult without falling outside normal parameters. The average human head has about 100,000 hairs, and 100 is just a small fraction compared to what growing every day.
In fact, every one of your hair follicles can be in a slightly different position on the circle that represents your hairs three life cycle phases the anagen phase, catagen phase and telogen phase.
Hair grows in the anagen phase, rests in the catagen phase and falls out in the telogen phase before the whole cycle starts again.
Up to 10 percent of your hair is typically in the telogen phase at one time, with about 90 percent of your hair growing in the anagen phase.
What we understand as hair loss is really excessive hair loss the shift from normal percentages to an imbalance of follicles that are remaining in the telogen phase and not regrowing.
Hair might end up stuck in the telogen phase for a variety of reasons autoimmune diseases, stress, trauma to the scalp or body generally.
It may also be due to genetics or hormones. Depending on the cause, hair loss will be characterized as a different condition or disorder.
What Causes Excessive Hair Loss
A number of things can cause excessive hair loss. For example, about 3 or 4 months after an illness or a major surgery, you may suddenly lose a large amount of hair. This hair loss is related to the stress of the illness and is temporary.
Hormonal problems may cause hair loss. If your thyroid gland is overactive or underactive, your hair may fall out. This hair loss usually can be helped by treating your thyroid disease. Hair loss may occur if male or female hormones, known as androgens and estrogens, are out of balance. Correcting the hormone imbalance may stop your hair loss.
Many women notice hair loss about 3 months after theyve had a baby. This loss is also related to hormones. During pregnancy, high levels of certain hormones cause the body to keep hair that would normally fall out. When the hormones return to pre-pregnancy levels, that hair falls out and the normal cycle of growth and loss starts again.
Some medicines can cause hair loss. This type of hair loss improves when you stop taking the medicine. Medicines that can cause hair loss include blood thinners medicines used for gout, high blood pressure, or heart problems vitamin A birth control pills and antidepressants.
Certain infections can cause hair loss. Fungal infections of the scalp can cause hair loss in adults and children. The infection is treated with antifungal medicines.
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Menopause And Hormone Imbalances
Women may experience hair loss during menopause due to reduced production of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. These changes also lead to symptoms like menstrual cycle irregularity, dry skin, night sweats, weight gain, and vaginal dryness. This added stress on the body may also worsen hair loss.
Some women may even notice thinning and loss after going off hormonal birth control pills. Why? Again, hormonal changes of any kind, particularly falling estrogen levels, can temporarily disrupt the hair lifecycle.
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:
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Hair Loss Due To Hormones: Will It Grow Back
Hair loss due to hormones is a reality for many people after menopause as well as during pregnancy. But will it grow back? The answer is yes, but there are also things that can help the body along.
Wash hair regularly with a mild shampoo. Treat hair gently. Dont comb or brush hair when its wet. Using the fingers to detangle is a gentler option. Putting hair up in a tight bun or ponytail can cause added stress on the hair and its follicles.
Finally, try to limit the use of hair dryers or irons on hair, as they can dry and damage it.
Here are five tips to prevent hair loss during the menopausal transition and after menopause:
Can Hair Loss Be Prevented Or Avoided
There is no way to prevent male-pattern baldness because it is a genetic trait, meaning you inherited a gene for baldness from your parents.
Some other causes of excessive hair loss can be prevented. For example, you could prevent hair loss by not styling hair too tightly in a way that puts too much pressure on your scalp. You also can talk to your doctor and avoid taking medications that could cause hair loss.
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Other Symptoms That Help With Diagnosis
You may also experience a range of other symptoms if your hair loss is caused by an underlying condition.
- Hypothyroidism may cause anything from fatigue to weight gain, muscle weakness to joint swelling.
- Ringworm may cause scaly and painful gray or red patches on the scalp.
- Celiacdisease may cause anything from mouth ulcers to headaches, skin rashes to anemia.
- Hodgkinsdisease may cause symptoms like fever, night sweats, and swelling of the lymph nodes.
Your doctor will take into account the other symptoms youre experiencing besides hair loss to help pinpoint the cause. This may involve anything from a physical examination to blood tests to scalp biopsies.
Some conditions, like celiac disease, may be genetically inherited. If you have a family history of a condition that leads to hair loss, be sure to mention it to your doctor.
How Is Hair Loss In Women Treated What Medicines Or Supplements May Help
Treatment depends on the cause of your hair loss.
- In cases where the loss is due to stress or hormone changes like pregnancy, there might be no treatment needed. The hair loss will stop after a period of time.
- In cases of hair loss being due to hair styling practices, like tight braids or ponytails or certain chemicals, treatment means not doing the things that caused the damage.
- In cases due to nutritional deficiencies, you might be told to take supplements. For instance, you might be told to take a multivitamin and three to five milligrams of biotin daily.
- Minoxidil is approved for treating FPHL. The 2% or 5% solution can be purchased in stores. However, you have to follow directions exactly and use the product indefinitely. Dont use this product if youre pregnant, if you plan to get pregnant, or if youre breastfeeding.
- The HairMax Lasercomb® low light laser is approved by the US FDA to treat FPHL. Another FDA-approved laser product is the Theradome LH80 PRO® helmet and low light laser helmets and caps.
Other medications that have been studied, but not approved, for hair loss in women include:
- Spironolactone and other anti-androgens.
- Other light treatments.
It is important to note that premenopausal women should not take medications for hair loss treatment without using contraception. Many drugs, including minoxidil and finasteride, are not safe for pregnant women or women who want to get pregnant.
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