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What Causes Sudden Hair Loss In Women

Ringworm And Hair Loss

Common Causes Of Excessive Hair Loss In Women | Hair Care Tips

Ringworm is a fungal skin infection that causes patches of hair loss. The official medical name for ringworm on the scalp is tinea capitis. The infection starts out as a small pimple that grows larger. Affected areas are itchy, red, inflamed, scaly patches with temporary baldness. The skin may ooze. People may have one or more bald spots. Ringworm is more common in children, but adults can get it, too.

The fungus triggers hair loss by causing hair to become brittle and to break off. The skin often appears most red around the edge of the lesion, with a more normal appearing skin tone in the center. That is one of the reasons the condition is called ringworm. The condition is contagious with skin-to-skin contact. It is also transmissible by infected combs, hairbrushes, unwashed clothing, and surfaces in gyms, showers, and pool areas. Your doctor can treat ringworm with oral antifungal medication. Ringworm on the scalp is one potential cause of hair loss in women that is reversible.

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.
  • Steroids.
  • 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.

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.

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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.

What Questions Might Your Healthcare Provider Ask To Diagnose And Categorize Your Hair Loss

Sudden Hair Loss In Women  Why Is It Happening And What ...

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?

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Symptoms Of Excessive Hair Loss

For most people, excessive hair loss is gradual, which means it happens over a long period of time. This is especially true of male-pattern baldness. Hair loss is considered excessive when it results in bald spots or hair that is noticeably thinning. In some cases, hair can fall out suddenly. This is typically caused by sudden or prolonged stress, either physical or emotional.

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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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.

Why Is My Hair Falling Out Common Causes Of Hair Loss In Women

What Causes Hair Loss In Women

Your hair sheds a little bit every day, and thats a natural part of life. The average woman loses anywhere from 50-100 strands each day, but if you begin to shed or lose significantly more than that or notice that your hair isnt growing back as it used to thats a problem. Hair loss can look different for different women. Hair loss can be anything from finding extra strands in your hairbrush or shower drain to female pattern hair loss or baldness.

Hair loss can appear as: gradual thinning on top of the head, patchy bald spots, sudden loosening of hair, or full body hair loss. There are numerous underlying causes or triggers to hair loss and it can be hard to pin down the exact reason why youre experiencing it and how to remedy the situation.

Women who are older than 40, who have just had a baby, who have just undergone chemotherapy, who wear hairstyles that pull on the hair or use harsh chemicals on the hair, or who are menopausal are most likely to experience some sort of hair loss.

Different types of hair loss: Genetic and Reactive

Genetic

If youre experiencing a progressive, gradual reduction in hair volume, theres a chance that your hair loss may be due to your genes and family history. This is one of the most common causes of hair loss and is a hereditary condition called androgenic alopecia, or female pattern baldness.

Reactive

Hormonal imbalances

Medical conditions

Stress

Photo Credit: StockSnap Via Pixabay

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Key Points About Temporary Or Abnormal Hair Loss

  • Abnormal or temporary hair loss can be due to many causes, including nutritional deficiencies, health conditions, medicines, reactions to hair products, stress or pregnancy.
  • In abnormal hair loss, you may notice your hair suddenly sheds in a large amount, or sheds a lot after combing or brushing, or that it is broken or unable to grow longer.
  • See your doctor if you experience sudden hair loss at the same time as having fever, pain, weight loss, poor appetite, breathing problems, gut problems or skin problems.
  • Treatment depends on the cause of your hair loss. Removal of the cause usually stops your hair loss. Your doctor will advise the most suitable treatment for you.
  • Temporary hair loss cant be prevented, but there are things you can do to help protect and keep your hair healthy.
  • Medication For Hair Loss

    Minoxidil, or Rogaine, is a topical medication that is used to treat female pattern hair loss and male-pattern baldness. It was initially developed as a blood pressure medication and was used off-label to treat hair loss until it became FDA-approved for that purpose. Minoxidil can slow the progression of hair loss. Most women who use the medication experience regrowth of hair. The medication needs to be used continuously to maintain results. Other types of treatment work for different kinds of hair loss. Corticosteroids help suppress the immune response that damages hair follicles in people who have alopecia areata. Once the follicles recover, hair can grow back. If nutritional deficiencies underlie hair loss, eating a healthy diet with adequate and protein and nutrients can help you regrow hair. Certain medical problems may trigger hair loss. Adequately treating these conditions may help restore hair growth.

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    And 5 Ways To Save Your Strands

    by Cheryl Bond-Nelms, AARP, September 27, 2017

    You can take steps to prevent further hair loss or damage.

    En español | Visible hair loss can be deeply distressing and affects both men and women of all ages. While this condition is more common in men, women can experience thinning or complete hair loss, as well.

    For women, pattern hair loss occurs mostly when they are in their 50s and 60s. According to a study published by the National Institutes of Health, Female pattern hair loss is the commonest cause of hair loss in women, and prevalence increases with advancing age. Affected women may experience psychological distress and impaired social functioning.

    According to a posting by Harvard Women’s Health Watch, Hair loss often has a greater impact on women than on men because it’s less socially acceptable for them. The organization notes that as many as two-thirds of postmenopausal women have thinning hair or bald spots.

    Hair loss in men, the Harvard article explains, “usually begins above the temples,” with the receding hairline forming the shape of an M. In women, thinning hair appears gradually, usually at the part line, and increasing hair loss spreading from the top of the head.

    There are several causes of hair loss in women, including medical conditions, certain medications, and physical or emotional stress. Here are five categories of hair loss affecting 50-plus women.

    • Aging
    • Family history of pattern baldness
    • Stress
    • Diet i.e., poor nutrition

    Hair Loss: Common Causes And Treatment

    Sudden hair loss hits millions of women and no one knows ...

    T. GRANT PHILLIPS, MD W. PAUL SLOMIANY, MD and ROBERT ALLISON, DO, Washington Health Systems Family Medicine Residency, Washington, Pennsylvania

    Am Fam Physician. 2017 Sep 15 96:371-378.

    Patient information: See related handout on hair loss.

    Patients with hair loss will often consult their family physician first. Hair loss is not life threatening, but it is distressing and significantly affects the patient’s quality of life. The pattern of hair loss may be obvious, such as the bald patches that occur in alopecia areata, or more subtle, such as the diffuse hair loss that occurs in telogen effluvium. As with most conditions, the physician should begin the evaluation with a detailed history and physical examination. It is helpful to determine whether the hair loss is nonscarring , which is reversible, or scarring , which is permanent. Scarring alopecia is rare and has various etiologies, including autoimmune diseases such as discoid lupus erythematosus. If the follicular orifices are absent, the alopecia is probably scarring these patients should be referred to a dermatologist. This article will discuss approaches to nonscarring causes of alopecia.

    SORT: KEY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PRACTICE

    Topical minoxidil is safe and effective for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia in women.

    SORT: KEY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PRACTICE

    Topical minoxidil is safe and effective for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia in women.

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    Hair Loss Treatment For Women #: Stress Management

    Since stress can trigger sudden hair loss in women, another hair loss treatment for women is to develop some healthy strategies for coping with stress. Journaling, exercising, meditating, and spending time outdoors can help to reduce stress levels. By reducing stress levels, you can recover more quickly from telogen effluvium or prevent it from happening in the first place.

    What Causes Sudden Hair Loss In Women

    There are a number of different things that can cause sudden hair loss in women. One of the most obvious causes of sudden hair loss is medical treatment like chemotherapy, radiation or immunotherapy. These kinds of treatments frequently cause widespread, sudden hair loss across the head and body.

    Usually the hair loss is temporary and hair will grow back after the treatment has ended. If you are receiving a treatment like this, your doctor will inform of the risk of hair loss so it shouldnt come as a surprise and shouldnt be a cause for concern.

    Other causes of sudden hair loss in women include alopecia areata, pregnancy, certain medications, intense stress and crash dieting. You can read more about these causes below.

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