Many people are more familiar with hair loss in men. Male pattern baldness is linked to the AR gene on the X chromosome in men. This type of hair loss is more common and gives a wider berth.
However, women do experience hair loss too. As a woman, you are likely to notice your hair falling off. You might have woken up and found many hairs on your pillow or in the shower drain or your clothing.
Female pattern hair loss is the most prevalent hair loss in women. As a woman, hair loss can be due to various hair types and a variety of reasons. You may have a genetic susceptibility to specific hormonal triggers that will cause hair loss. Other potential causes of hair loss are stress, environmental factors, weight loss, and thyroid issues.
Even though dealing with these factors to women’s hairloss can be emotionally taxing, hair loss in women is treatable. There are safe, effective, and affordable treatment options to help you grow back your hair and strengthen its roots.
As a woman, hair loss may present differently based on the causative agents. Some women notice gradual thinning, while for others, it is usually sudden hair loss. If you notice that your hair is gradually thinning or have sudden hair loss, a diary entry for symptoms may help you identify patterns.
There are certain signs such as:
Many women will notice gradual thinning at the top of the scalp. While this affects both men and women, it presents differently for both genders. Men will notice a receding hairline while women will notice broadening of the hairless part of the head.
Bald spots may be patchy or circular. The bald spots resemble coins in size and often occur on the scalp. A woman may notice that the part gets itchy or painful immediately before the hair falls off.
Handfuls of hair are sudden hair loss. It occurs mainly after physical or emotional trauma. You may be in the shower or combing your hair, and you will notice your hair falling out quickly, leading to hair thinning.
Total hair loss is primarily due to medical reasons. For example, when on chemotherapy, you are likely to notice sudden hair loss, which is not limited to your head alone.
Hair loss (alopecia) is not contagious and does not have a neural link. Alopecia is of different types and can be caused by anything from your hair care routine to genetics or conditions that would trigger your immune system to attack hair follicles.
The types of alopecia are:
This is a type of female-pattern baldness. Androgenetic alopecia is caused by genetics and will run in families. It begins between the ages of 12-40 and will present as overall hair thinning. Androgenetic alopecia is the pre-eminent cause of hair loss in women.
Alopecia areata presents as patchy hair loss occurring suddenly on your head or body. You are prone to notice one or more round patches of baldness that may overlap.
Your hair may fall out due to your hairstyling techniques. Mostly, your hair shaft will break due to using certain chemicals, using hot combs, or during blow-drying and hair straightening.
Sometimes, your hair will fall out as a result of scarring. In cicatricial alopecia, your hair follicle is replaced with scar tissue.
Both physical and emotional stress may lead to hair loss. Experiencing loss, major surgery, suffering from a severe illness, working in a stressful environment are all stressful events in your life that may lead to hair loss.
There is a term for hair loss as a result of stress; telogen effluvium. In most instances, telogen effluvium is not immediate, and there may be a 3-month interval between the event and when you notice hair loss.
Hair loss due to stress is not permanent, and your hair will grow back after the stressful period. However, when experiencing telogen effluvium, you may notice a lot of hair on your pillow or blocking the drain in your shower.
Telogen effluvium forces your hair into the telogen phase in the hair’s growth cycle. The latter will lead to your hair falling off without replacement hairs growing immediately.
Menopause is a stressful time for the female body. Menopause affects the production of several hormones, including estrogens and progestins. During menopause, your body’s sensitivity to male hormones such as testosterone also increases. Genetic sensitivity to these male hormones may have detrimental effects on your hairline and hair thickness.
Women will notice menopausal hair loss mostly between 50 and 60. Menopausal hair loss is treatable and should not cause too much grief.
Hormones are the most significant culprits for hair loss in both men and women. Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is the hormone responsible for hair loss. Testosterone, commonly mislabeled as the male hormone, serves essential functions in both men and women.
Testosterone regulates sex drive and is active in bone metabolism, keeping bones strong and healthy. In women, testosterone occurs in minute amounts, while estrogens are in high ratios. Testosterone levels are higher than estrogen levels in men.
DHT, a product of testosterone, miniaturizes your hair follicles. The latter leads to your hair falling out since its growth is affected. Hair loss due to DHT in women is called female-pattern hair loss (FPHL), or androgenetic alopecia.
Losing weight gradually and slowly will not affect your hair. However, rapid hair loss often causes thinning of hair.
Rapid weight loss is stressful for your body and will cause telogen effluvium.
Low iron levels can have a negative bearing on your hairline. Hair loss due to iron deficiency anemia causes diffuse hair thinning similar to the one caused by stress or hormonal imbalance.
Iron deficiency may be due to a poor diet lacking in iron or intestinal diseases. You may notice hair loss while on your period. A health professional best identifies hair loss due to anemia.
- Hypo and Hyperthyroidism
- Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
- Celiac disease
- Hodgkin’s disease
- Addison’s disease
- Lichen planus