Hair Loss in Women
What is the main reason for hair loss in females?What is the best thing to do for female hair loss?Why am I suddenly losing so much hair?Can female hair loss grow back?
Hair loss is common for women, too
Loss of hair is a condition that can affect women for a variety of different reasons. The underlying cause could be anything from a medical ailment to a shift in hormone levels to stress. Finding the underlying cause of a problem isn’t always easy, but here are some of the options and what you can do about them.
Signs of hair loss
Depending on the underlying cause, hair loss can manifest in a variety of different ways. You could experience an abrupt loss of hair or a gradual one over the course of time. Keeping a journal in which you note any changes you observe or symptoms you experience, as well as use it to search for patterns, may prove to be useful.
Certain signs include:
a general thinning out. The most typical type of hair loss is characterized by a gradual thinning on the crown of the head. It has an equal impact on males and females. Women typically observe a widening of their portion as they age, whilst men typically observe a receding hairline as they age.
Bald spots. They could be round or spotty in appearance. They frequently manifest on the scalp and might have a size comparable to that of coins. In the moments just before your hair falls out, your skin may even feel irritated or even painful.
Several fistfuls of hair. You could have very sudden hair loss, especially after going through an emotionally difficult or physically taxing situation. It’s possible that you’ll experience overall hair loss if you wash or comb your hair too roughly, as this might cause the hair to fall out more quickly.
Full loss. You might quickly and uniformly experience hair loss across your entire body in response to certain medical conditions, in particular when undergoing medical treatments such as chemotherapy.
Following this, we will discuss the most common reasons and kinds of hair loss.
4 Types of alopecia
- The term “alopecia” refers to the loss of hair. It is not communicable and cannot be traced back to the nerves. There are many distinct varieties, each of which can be brought on by a unique combination of factors, including heredity, the methods employed to care for one’s hair or anything else that causes the immune system to launch an attack on the hair follicles.
- Androgenetic alopecia, often known as female-pattern baldness, is a kind of hair loss that is inherited or passed down through families. It often starts anywhere between the ages of 12 and 40 years old, making it the most common cause of hair loss in women. Whereas male pattern baldness manifests itself as a receding hairline and discrete bald spots, female pattern baldness typically presents as an overall thinning of the hair.
- Alopecia areata is characterized by the abrupt appearance of bald patches anywhere on the body or head. In most cases, it starts out as one or more bald patches that are circular in shape and may or may not overlap.
- The term “cicatricial alopecia” refers to a range of disorders that all result in hair loss that is permanent and irreversible due to scarring. Scar tissue replaces the follicle, which ultimately results in the loss of hair.
- Because of the procedures used in hairstyle, those who have traumatic alopecia experience hair loss. After using hot combs, blow dryers, straighteners, or straightening irons, or after using specific chemicals to color or straighten hair, the hair shaft may break.
Many health conditions can cause hair loss
Certain medical conditions are directly responsible for hair loss, whether this is caused by a disruption in hormones (as is the case with thyroid issues), scarring (as is the case with skin conditions such as ringworm), or autoimmune disorders (such as celiac disease), in which the body attacks itself.
Some of the conditions that can cause hair loss are as follows:
- Hodgkin’s disease
- Hashimoto disease
- systemic lupus erythematosus
- Addison’s disease
- celiac disease
- Lichen planus
- trichorrhexis invaginata
Other symptoms that help with diagnosis
If your hair loss is the result of an underlying disease, you may also experience a wide variety of other symptoms in addition to the loss of your hair.
Hypothyroidism can produce a wide range of symptoms, including fatigue, weight gain, muscle weakness, and swelling in the joints.
Scaly and painful grey or red patches on the scalp are possible symptoms of ringworm infection.
The symptoms of celiac disease can range from mouth ulcers to headaches, rashes to anemia, and everything in between.
Hodgkin’s disease can present itself with a variety of symptoms, including fever, night sweats, and lymph node enlargement.
In order to narrow down the potential causes of your hair loss, your doctor will take into account the other symptoms you are having in addition to hair loss. This could encompass anything from a physical checkup to blood testing to biopsies taken from the scalp.
There is evidence that genetics play a role in the development of several diseases, including celiac disease. Be sure to let your doctor know about any medical conditions that run in your family, especially if there is a history of hair loss in that family.
Menopause and hormone imbalances
Because of the drop in estrogen and progesterone production that occurs during menopause, some women notice thinning or loss of their hair during this time. These changes can also result in symptoms such as an irregular menstrual cycle, dry skin, night sweats, weight gain, and vaginal dryness. This additional stress on the body may also contribute to a more rapid loss of hair.
After discontinuing the use of hormonal birth control tablets, some women may even experience thinning and loss of hair. Why? To reiterate, any form of hormonal shift, but particularly a drop in estrogen levels, can momentarily throw off the hair’s natural growth cycle.
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Different kinds of stress can cause hair loss
Loss of hair is a potential side effect of being under a lot of stress, whether it be mental or physical. Certain things, such as a death in the family, significant surgery, or a serious disease, may lead the body to stop certain processes, like the development of hair. These things may also cause the body to shut down certain processes.
Because there is typically a lag time of about three months between the occurrence of a stressful event and the appearance of hair loss, it may be difficult to identify the cause of your hair loss immediately away.
However, if you are noticing that your hair is becoming thinner, you should think about the various occurrences or circumstances in your life that may have caused you a significant amount of stress. In most cases, hair loss brought on by stress is just temporary. After the event in question has concluded and the follicle begins generating again, it is possible that the hair will start growing anew.
Sudden but temporary changes
Telogen effluvium is the name of the condition that ranks as the second most prevalent cause of hair loss (TE). It is only transitory and takes place when there is a shift in the number of hair follicles that are in a dormant condition and are responsible for the growth of hair.
Women, for instance, are more likely to have hair loss in the months following childbirth or another stressful event. Examining the individual strands of hair can sometimes help diagnose TE hair loss. Telogen hairs are characterized by the presence of a keratin bulb at the root.
In most cases, TE is brought on by anything that can shock the body and disturb the natural cycle of hair growth. Before you begin to see the benefits of the adjustment, there is a possibility that there will be a significant delay of up to three months.
Possible causes of TE hair loss include the following:
high-temperature severe infection chronic sickness emotional stress eating disorders lack of protein crash diets and other forms of restrictive dieting
The use of particular pharmaceuticals, such as retinoids, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, antidepressants, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDS), has been linked to the development of TE. The good news is that this sort of hair loss can usually be reversed, and eventually the TE hairs will start growing back on the scalp. The bad news is that it can take a long time for this to happen.
Lack of B vitamins can cause hair loss
A woman’s hair may become thinner or fall out entirely if she does not get enough of certain vitamins and minerals. Following a vegetarian diet or consuming insufficient amounts of red meat are two dietary factors that some dermatologists feel may contribute to hair loss.
Iron, a mineral that helps maintain healthy hair and body growth, may be found in high concentrations in red meat and other animal meals. Women already have an increased risk of iron shortage due to the blood loss that occurs during menstruation; therefore, if they do not consume enough iron in their diet, they may develop iron deficiency.
Eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa, have been linked to a variety of health complications, including vitamin deficits and hair loss. In particular, deficits in zinc, the amino acid L-lysine, vitamin B-6, and vitamin B-12 are thought to have an adverse effect on hair.
Effective hair loss treatments
It’s possible that hair loss brought on by stress or hormonal shifts brought on by things like pregnancy or menopause doesn’t require any therapy at all. Instead, it is more likely that the loss will halt on its own once the body has adjusted to the change.
If the shortage is caused by an underlying health problem, however, it may be necessary to have medical therapy in addition to taking supplements. However, this is not typically the case. In addition, any medical disorders that are the cause of hair loss should be treated immediately in order to address the complete condition rather than simply the symptoms of it.
In spite of this, there is a wide variety of medicines and treatment options available for hair loss brought on by female-pattern baldness as well as other types of alopecia. It could take several months or even years before you see the full effects of treatment, whether it be a single treatment or a combination of treatments.
Minoxidil is a topical medication that may be purchased without a prescription and is available in liquid and foam forms for application directly to the scalp. It should be rubbed into the scalp on a daily basis, and in most cases, continued application over a period of months or even years is required for it to effectively prevent hair loss and stimulate hair growth.
Treatment with estrogen
Hormone replacement therapy can be an effective treatment for androgenic alopecia, despite the fact that its use has decreased significantly in recent years. It focuses on providing the hormone estrogen in order to maintain decreasing levels of estrogen in a woman. Because of its superior efficacy, minoxidil has emerged as the treatment of choice in recent years.
If you are a woman of reproductive age and take this medicine and are interested in using oral contraception, you should discuss your options with your doctor. It is possible that they will need to select a pill with the lowest amount of progestin, such as Ortho Tri-Cyclen.
The hormone imbalance that causes hair loss can be treated with the medication spironolactone, which is also sold under the brand name Aldactone. It does this by specifically binding to androgen receptors, which slows down the process by which the body processes testosterone. It has not been approved as a treatment for androgenic alopecia by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and not all studies are in agreement that it is effective.
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When treating androgenic alopecia, a combination therapy consisting of minoxidil and topical tretinoin, which is also sold under the brand name Retin-A, is occasionally recommended.
It is essential to only use this kind of medication in accordance with the instructions provided by your physician. Creams, serums, and lotions containing topical retinol have been reported by some individuals who have tried it at home to make their hair loss worse.
Injections of Corticosteroids Women who have alopecia areata and are experiencing hair loss may want to consider getting corticosteroids injected at various places in the area that is afflicted. The procedure can be repeated every four to six weeks to maintain the desired results, which should be seen in as little as four weeks. Atrophy of the skin or a reduction in the thickness of the scalp can be side effects of receiving injections.
There is another type of corticosteroid that can be applied to the skin, although topical corticosteroids aren’t always as effective. In addition, corticosteroids used orally could cause certain unpleasant side effects.
Anthralin is both safe and effective for use in treating alopecia areata in female patients. It only needs to be done once each day, at home, and the treatment can be as short as five minutes or as long as an hour.
After the product has been applied, the scalp should be washed with soap and cooled water to remove any residue. In around two to three months, new hair growth might begin to emerge.
How women’s hair loss is different than men’s
Some therapies for hair loss are more successful for women than they are for men, while others, like finasteride, are not recommended for use on women at all.
Alopecia in men can be treated with the medication finasteride, which is sold under the brand name Proscar. Because it may create problems with fetal growth and development, finasteride is not recommended for use in women, particularly those of reproductive age.
In addition, it is not an option that is recommended for women who have gone through menopause.
During hair transplant surgery, little pieces of the scalp that still have hair follicles attached are often removed from one part of the scalp and transplanted into balding portions of the head.
Because female pattern baldness typically manifests itself in women as diffused hair loss and reduced volume rather than as concentrated bald areas, hair transplants are not typically used as a treatment for this condition.
There is also the possibility of adverse effects, such as infection or shock, which may result in the loss of hair in the places that were transplanted. And surgery might not be able to help bald patches that are too large.
If you observe or suspect that you are losing more hair than is normal for you, it is advisable to find out the problem as soon as possible and begin therapy as soon as possible after that.
Although there are some types of hair loss that can be treated with over-the-counter drugs such as minoxidil, it is crucial to see a doctor because there are other health concerns that can cause hair loss.
Talk to your primary care physician or a dermatologist about your symptoms so that they can diagnose the underlying problem with your hair loss and work with you to develop a treatment strategy.