The Main Causes of Female Hair Loss
The causes of female hair loss are varied and can be multi-layered. The factors could be internal, environmental, physical, emotional, physiological, genetic, or all of the above. Hair loss in women is generally described as an unexpected, heavy loss of hair. It is normal to shed between 50 to 100 hairs per day. After all, shedding is a natural part of the hair growth cycle. However, when the balance of hairs in the shedding stage outnumbers the hair that is growing or stops growing altogether, hair loss occurs. In this article, we will break down some of the common root causes of female hair loss, how to recognize them, and what to do to address them.
Causes of Female Hair Loss
Common causes for female hair loss include aging, hormone changes due to pregnancy or menopause, thyroid imbalances, side effects from medication such as chemotherapy, harsh and abrasive hairstyling practices or overuse of harmful products, nutrient deficiency, rapid weight loss, scalp inflammation, or irritation, and exposure to heavy metals. To some extent, hair loss is an inevitable part of the aging process. For women, it becomes more prevalent leading up to and after menopause. As we age our hair follicles grow finer and the cycle of resting, growing, and shedding begins to change.
Hair follicles go through three cycles: anagen, catagen, and telogen. The anagen phase or growing phase lasts from two to eight years. At any time 85-90% of your hair is in this phase. The catagen phase or transition phase is the time that hair follicles shrink. This phase usually lasts between two to three weeks. The telogen phase, or resting phase, ends with the hair falling out or shedding. This takes between two to four months. As we age the hair follicles grow to be more brittle and thin. The length of time between the growing phase and resting phase can also increase. If hair is falling faster than it is regrowing, the hair will start to appear less full.
Hormonal Causes of Female Hair Loss
During pregnancy the resting phase is paused, resulting in increased length and fullness of the hair. However, around 3 months postpartum the resting phase resumes and it is normal for women to experience increased shedding during this period. Ordinally things will return to normal within the first year. Nutrafol, a hair growth supplement brand, recently released a postnatal formula to support and balance all the hormone changes that take place in the postpartum period. This can reduce the amount of shedding you experience. Another thing to pay attention to at this time is your iron levels, as iron deficiency can result in increased hair loss.
Women in menopause experience hormone changes that can impact their hair growth as well. Most menopausal women experience thinning hair throughout their entire scalp rather than bald spots. The thinning may occur in the form of a wider part, or the hair may appear thinning at the hairline around the face. Some women experience hair fall-out in large clumps while brushing and showering.
The decreased production of the hormones estrogen and progesterone are thought to be the culprit for hair loss during menopause These hormones support healthy hair and can extend the growing phase of the hair follicle. This is why hair stops falling out during pregnancy. When the levels of estrogen and progesterone drop, the hair starts to grow more slowly, and the follicles become thinner. A decrease in these hormones can also trigger an increase in the production of androgens, a group of male hormones. Androgens shrink the hair follicle, which results in the appearance of thinner hair on the head. These same hormones can trigger the growth of unwanted hair on the face as well.
While hormone imbalance may be the cause of hair loss during menopause, there may be other contributing factors as well. High levels of stress, serious illness, lack of essential nutrients, thyroid imbalances, sudden weight loss, or heavy metal exposure could also be factors. Diagnostic blood tests will help you rule out any other causes of hair loss. That’s because most include thyroid tests and a complete blood count. Testing for heavy metal exposure can also be helpful as they can sometimes block the absorption of essential nutrients. This can even if you are eating a balanced diet. Nutrafol makes hair vitamins that support peri and postmenopausal women’s hair growth as well.
Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are conditions that can also contribute to hair loss. The thyroid gland is responsible for regulating the body’s metabolism by controlling its production of proteins, as well as the tissue’s use of oxygen. Imbalances in the thyroid can therefore affect hair follicles. Hypothyroidism that is left untreated can result in anemia, aka iron deficiency. And as we learned earlier, iron deficiencies can cause hair loss.
Other Causes of Female Hair Loss
Extreme physical stress or a sudden shock such as an accident, high fever, surgery, or even personal tragedy can cause temporary hair loss. Medication and cancer treatments such as radiology and chemotherapy can also cause hair loss. Certain medications for blood pressure and gout can have side effects of hair loss. High doses of vitamin A in supplements can also contribute to shedding. Vitamin B12 deficiency can also contribute to hair loss because B12 deficiency affects the health of the red blood cells which carry oxygen to your tissues. Vegans may suffer from vitamin deficiencies more than meat eaters. It’s sad but true and something you need to watch out for. Afer all, B12 is primarily found in animal proteins.
Traction alopecia is a hair loss condition that occurs as a result of over-styling, wearing the hair pulled tightly away from the face or wearing heavy extensions or weaves. With traction alopecia, the pattern of hair loss mirrors where the hair has been under the most strain, typically around the edges and hairline. Ingredients in certain hair care products can cause scalp irritation, which can trigger more hair loss as well. Switching to a gentler hair care routine, and using protective styling methods can prevent further damage and allow for any lost hair to regrow.
Trichotillomania, also known as hair-pulling disorder, is classified as a mental disorder and is less frequently discuss when we talk about reasons for hair loss in women. Trich, for short, involves recurrent, irresistible urges to pull out hair from the scalp, eyebrows, or other areas of the body, despite trying to stop. This can leave patchy bald spots, which cause significant impacts on one’s confidence as well as their social and professional lives. The causes of this disorder are not known. Like many complex disorders, trichotillomania most likely results from a combination of factors that are both environmental and genetic
Women are more likely than men to seek treatment for this disorder, but this may be because men are less likely than women to seek out medical care. In early childhood, this disorder appears to equally affect children of all genders. Behavior therapies such as habit reversal training, cognitive therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, as well as congruent care for mental health disorders that are often associated with trichotillomania such as depression, anxiety, or substance abuse issues can also be helpful.
Female Hair Loss Solutions
If solutions such as supplements and protective styling aren’t doing enough to address your hair loss, there are other approaches to the problem as well. Topical treatments such as Minoxidil, also known as Rogaine can be used to treat thinning hair and female pattern hair loss. Minoxidil is available in 2% and 5% solutions at most drug stores. This product is best suited for preventing further hair loss, and any hair that has regrown will most likely fall out once the use of Minoxidil has ceased. This product is not safe to use if you are pregnant, plan to get pregnant, or are breastfeeding. Other medications that have been studied but not approved for hair loss in women include Spironolactone and other anti-androgens, finasteride and other alpha-reductase enzyme inhibitors, estrogens, prostaglandin analogs, and steroids.
Hair Transplant Surgery
Hair transplant surgery is a more permanent option if the solutions above have not given you the results you’ve been seeking. At Best Hair Transplant we offer both FUT and FUE hair transplant procedures. With both of these procedures, hair follicles are removed from the back of the head and transplanted into the thinning areas. FUE is the procedure most often recommended for women because the hair grafts are harvested in a dispersed pattern instead of removing them in a single strip of scalp, like the way FUT is performed. With FUE there tends to be less visible scarring, as well as less discomfort and shorter recovery time.
Laser Hair Restoration
Additionally, women are fantastic candidates for laser hair restoration treatments. Sometimes, purchasing a laser cap from a company like LaserCap.Me may actually be enough to regrow your lost hair. Laser hair restoration is possible through LLLT technology. Women are great candidates for laser hair restoration because most women suffering from hair thinning do not experience it to the extent that men do. If you’re only experiencing thinning and not complete balding, a laser cap like Capillus Rx may be the perfect solution for you. It’s a drug-free and surgery-free option and that makes it much easier for you and your body to tollerate.
To learn more about how Best Hair Transplant can help you address the causes of female hair loss once and for all, schedule a complimentary consultation. We can conduct your appointment either virtually or in person. Ask us about laser hair therapy with the CapillusRX 312 as well. We know how devastating hair loss can be to your self-confidence and quality of life. Let us show you how we can make a lasting difference in the appearance of your natural hair.
SUFFERING FROM FEMALE HAIR LOSS?
Best Hair Transplant is the best place to schedule your hair transplant in Los Angeles. We’ve helped both men and women regrow their lost hair. But don’t take our word for it. We suggest learning as much as possible about hair restoration. Do so prior to making a decision on how to address your hair loss. Not every procedure is right for everyone.
At Best Hair Transplant, we’re proud of our results and happy to provide hair restoration services. Additionally, we’re proud to make hair transplants affordable and help you save money on a variety of hair transplants.
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