Hair Loss In All Ages
Although certain causes of hair loss might be more common at specific times of life, many of them can happen at all ages. For example, hormone imbalances, infections, vitamin deficiencies, and autoimmune diseases affect women of all ages and these may lead to hair loss. There are also rare inflammatory conditions that cause permanent damage to hair follicles.
Mechanism Of Genetic Hair Loss In Women
As with hair loss in men, female genetic hair loss largely stems from a complex stew of genes, hormones, and age. However, in women, there are even more players. In addition to 5-a reductase, testosterone, and dihydrotestosterone which are also found in mens hair loss also present in women are the enzyme aromatase and the female hormones estrone and estradiol. So lets break down the process that leads to common hair loss in women.
In both men and women, 5-a reductase reacts with testosterone to produce DHT, the hormone responsible for the miniaturization and the gradual disappearance of affected hair follicles. This explains why both men and women lose their hair. But one of the reasons why women seldom have the conspicuous bald areas that men do is because women naturally have only half the amount of 5-a reductase compared to men.
Adding to this complexity, in women, the enzyme aromatase is responsible for the formation of the female hormones, estrone, and estradiol, counteract the action of DHT. Women have higher levels of aromatase than men, especially at the frontal hairline. It is this presence of aromatase which may help explain why hair loss in women looks so different than in men, particularly with respect to the preservation of the frontal hairline. It may also explain why women have a poor response to the drug finasteride , a medication widely used to treat hair loss in men that works by blocking the formation of DHT.
Is Hair Loss In Women Different Than Men
Women lose hair on an inherited basis, too, but female pattern hair loss tends to be more diffuse, with less likelihood of the crown and frontal hairline being lost.
- Although some women may notice hair thinning as early as their 20s, the pace of hair loss tends to be gradual, often taking years to become obvious to others.
- There seems to be a normal physiologic thinning that comes with age and occurs in many women in their early to mid-30s.
- More women have underlying causes of hair loss than men. These include treatable conditions like anemia and thyroid disease and polycystic ovary syndrome .
- These conditions are diagnosed by blood tests along with historical and physical evidence.
While stories about hats choking off follicles or long hair pulling on the roots may be more folklore, repeat hair trauma like tightly woven hair pulled back and consistent friction can potentially worsen or cause localized hair loss in some individuals. Individuals who pull their hair tightly back in a rubber band can develop a localized hair loss at the front of the scalp.
Hair loss “myths” of special concern to women
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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?
Coping With Hair Loss
While losing hair at a young age may be concerning, hair loss is a reality for many people as they age. One study posted to the Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology, and Leprology noted that up to 75% of females would experience hair loss from androgenetic alopecia by the time they are 65 years old.
While many females look for ways to treat hair loss while they are young, at some point, most people accept hair loss as a natural part of the aging process.
Some people may choose to wear head garments or wigs as a workaround to hair loss. Others work with their aging hair by wearing a shorter haircut that may make thin hair less apparent.
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Cancer Treatment Is A Trigger
Radiation and chemotherapy used to treat cancer are some of the common causes of hair loss in women. Both therapies harm hair follicles in addition to killing cancer cells. People undergoing cancer treatment often experience dramatic hair loss as a result of these therapies. They may wake up with clumps of hair on their pillow or they may lose large amounts of hair in the shower. Rapid hair loss in women often starts within 2 weeks of beginning treatment. It may be worst between 1 to 2 months into therapy. The scalp may be extra sensitive during this time. It may be irritating to wash, brush, and comb hair. The good news is that once cancer treatment is over, hair tends to grow back.
Top Ten Reasons For Sudden Hair Loss In Women
- Excessive exercise: Too much of exercise drains essential nutrition from your body which causes hair follicles to lose their strength.
- Change in dietary conditions/ malnutrition
- Lack of sleep: Sleep apnea causes stress to hair follicle causing hair to fall out earlier than usual.
- Medications: Common medicines that cause hair loss in women include oral contraceptives, anti-depressants, NSAIDs, and beta and calcium channel blockers.
- Pregnancy and child birth: Hair loss occurs 2-3 months after child birth mainly due to the hormonal changes in the body.
- Allergies: Allergies from dust and medications can cause itching and scaling resulting in sudden hair loss.
- Hot weather: Hot weather causes hair follicles to lose the moisture content. This results in sudden hair loss.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy drugs cause severe and sudden hair loss in cancer patients. Though this type of hair loss is reversible, the hair that is re-grown after the treatment may lose its natural color and texture after the treatment.
- Thyroid diseases:Hair loss can occur either due to an underactive thyroid or a hyperactive thyroid . Each condition causes a hormonal imbalance and results in hair loss.
- Viral infection: Viral infection can result in sudden hair loss called alopecia areata.
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Here Are Some Tips For Preventing Hair Loss:
When it comes to preventing hair loss in women, there are several things that people can do. The first is to have a healthy diet, which means avoiding junk food, eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, and drinking lots of water. Avoid over-styling your hair because it can cause damage if done too often or using heat styling tools. It is also crucial for women with fine thinning hair not to pull their hairs tightly back into ponytails because they will make the problem worse by encouraging more shedding at the temples where most female patterned baldness starts. Eliminating stress can help promote hair growth. Besides modifying hair products and hairstyling habits, your doctor may recommend topical treatments, like minoxidil, or an over-the-counter product, like Rogaine, to treat hair loss. They may also suggest platelet-rich plasma injections , which are often helpful in some cases. Consult your dermatologist or doctor if you have questions about your options.
Home » Causes of Hair Loss in Women: What You Need To Know.
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.
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Reasons For Sudden Hair Loss And How You Can Get Help
Everyone experiences hair shedding, and it happens to each of us every day. Most people lose 50 to 100 hairs per day as part of this natural cycle, more on days you wash your hair. But what if you check your pillow, shower drain, or comb and it looks like youâre suddenly losing much more than that?
The best thing you can do is talk to your doctor or dermatologist. Theyâll get to the bottom of why youâre losing hair, and theyâll make sure you get the right treatment in case a medical condition is to blame.
Here are just some of the reasons you could have sudden hair loss.
You Have Low Iron Levels
The American Academy of Dermatology also says that not getting enough iron into your diet can lead to unwanted hair loss, too.
According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute , iron-deficiency anemia occurs when you don’t have enough iron in your bodythe symptoms of which include fatigue, tiredness, shortness of breath, or chest pain. To help remedy this, your doctor might suggest iron supplements or other healthy lifestyle choices, like increasing your intake of both iron- and vitamin-C rich foods.
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Shedding Light On Female Alopecia
Rashi C. Waghel, PharmD
Jennifer A. Waitzman, PharmD, BCACPAssistant Professor of PharmacyWingate, North Carolina
US Pharm. 2013 38:62-65.
ABSTRACT: Alopecia is a common problem in females. Several typesof alopecia exist, each having different etiologies and treatmentoptions. Regardless of the cause or type of alopecia, hair loss can havea negative impact on an individuals self-image therefore, it isimportant to address patients emotional needs as well as their medicalhealth needs. Although FDA-approved pharmacologic options for femalealopecia are limited, several medications are being investigated fortheir use in this population. Regardless of whether a patient decides toutilize pharmacologic treatment, minimization strategies can helpreduce hair loss and alleviate the negative emotional impact of thiscondition.
Alopecia, more commonly referred to as hair loss, is a problemfaced by millions of people in the United States. Alopecia does notrefer to normal, everyday loss of hair. It is common for a person tolose around 50 to 100 hairs each day.1 Alopecia suggests anamount of hair loss greater than what is normally expected.Traditionally, more attention has been paid to male-pattern baldness however, alopecia is common in females as well. More than 21 millionfemales in the U.S. are affected by alopecia.2
Is Hair Loss A Symptom Of Covid
Many people notice hair loss in the months after recovering from a COVID-19 infection. We now know that more than 20% of people hospitalized with COVID-19 lose hair in the 3 to 6 months after discharge. Other studies that include people with milder symptoms suggest that hair loss after COVID-19 may actually be much more common.
There are many reasons why you may lose your hair, and stress is a common cause. The clinical term for hair loss thats related to stress is telogen effluvium. It usually happens about 3 months after a stressful event, and it can commonly last for up to 6 months. Telogen effluvium often happens after other stressful life events such as having a baby or a major surgery.
Cases of telogen effluvium have grown a lot since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic they are up over 400%. And rates of this condition are highest in people of color and other groups disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
While we dont fully understand why this is the case, it is thought to be related to the stress of having COVID-19. Theres no evidence yet that the COVID-19 virus directly causes this hair loss.
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Do Women Experience More Hair Loss Due To Covid
Generally, women pay more attention to their appearance than men and they are more sensitive to their looks. Therefore, when experienced with a COVID-19 related hair loss, they exhibit stronger symptoms of depression and anxiety which trap them in a vicious circle of stress and hair loss.
Utkan Kzltaç, MD
Chief Physician and Dermatologist Hair Transplant Surgeon of UnitedCare, a dermatology clinic helping patients become the best version of themselves.
There Are Things You Can Do To Prevent Hair Loss
If you notice your hair is thinning and it bothers you, there are some easy ways to make it appear fuller and simultaneously help prevent more hair loss or breakage. For instance, as SELF explained previously, its important to:
Wash as often as you need tobut no more. Both under- and overwashing can affect the volume and feel of your hair. Not washing enough causes a buildup of product and oil that can weight your hair down. But washing too frequently can strip the hair of its natural oils, making it more dry and prone to breakage. Experts recommend sticking to washing about two or three times per week and adjusting as needed for your particular situation.
Always use conditioner after shampooing. Conditioner makes your hair shinier and helps reduce static electricity, both of which helps thinning hair look fuller and glossier. But remember: A little goes a long way, and too much will weigh hair down.
Try leave-on products. Leave-in conditioners and detanglers help keep your hair moisturized throughout the day and protect against the effects of heat styling that otherwise can cause thinning and breakage.
Use hair masks for deep conditioning. If your hair tends to be dry and brittle, an occasional deep-conditioning mask may be just what it needs to regain some life and strength. These can also help hair look shinier.
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