Hair Loss in Women
Women love hair.We all know that.Many of us like to have long hair and few like to have short hair.We put lot of effort to gain long,beautiful hair and we feel worried when we see our hair falling.The big question is: Is it normal to lose hair everyday?Experts say that it is normal to lose 50-100 hair per day.Beyond that it is considered as extensive hair loss in women.So let us have a look at what exactly causes hair loss in women.
Hair follicles cycle goes through 3 phases:
1)Anagen—the growth phase.Here each hair grows from its follicle at an average rate of about 1cm per month(Each hair grows for 2–8 years).
2)Catagen—the phase between growth and resting(2–3 weeks)
3)Telogen—the resting phase(around 3 months).
So,hair has to go through cycle of growing,resting and falling out.Due to various reasons new hair doesn’t grow in place of fallen hair.At any point of time, 80-85% of hair should be in growing phase and 15-20% in resting phase.
Causes of hair loss in women
This is the most common reason for hair loss in women.This is also called as Female pattern baldness.This type of hair loss is said to be hereditary.Women with female pattern baldness are actually inheriting 1 or more genes from their parents(either mother or father) which are responsible for thinning hair.DHT a male sex hormone(DHT is produced in women as well) also plays a spoiler role in this type of hair loss.
Symptoms:Firstly women lose their hair on Hair parts.Fortunately for women,female pattern baldness is less severe than male pattern baldness.It is observed that their hairline doesn’t recedes back and in only rare cases women suffer severe or complete baldness.
Androgenic Alopecia Treatment:
1)Minoxidil:Minoxidil slows down hair loss and promotes hair growth.It is applied twice a day on scalp.Mostly this medicine is well tolerated,but few patients may experience side effects i.e:itching, redness or irritation at the treated area,rashes,swelling on the treated area.
2)Finasteride:This is a tablet which slows down hair loss in men and women.It stops the production of male hormones(dihydro testosterone) which is directly linked to baldness.It works better than minoxidil.Once medication stops,hair loss continues.
3)Hair transplants:This is becoming famous in women.It is a technique of removing hair from areas where hair growth is active and placing it on bald areas.This requires multiple sessions and sometimes causes infection.Even though it is bit expensive women opt for hair transplants because hair looks natural after completion of treatment.
The resting phase of hair growth cycle is called as Telogen.Due to various reasons hair is suddenly pushed from growing phase to resting phase where lot of hair falls out.This condition is misunderstood with genetic hair thinning.
Following conditions triggers Telogen Effluvium:
- Extreme stress
- Major Surgery or illnesses
- After Pregnancy and childbirth
- Drastic weight loss or Crash diets
- Medication condition.
Women with telogen efflivium will have hair loss on the scalp and some may also notice hair loss on the body. You can notice hair fall when you are shampooing and combing.
Diagnosis:Your doctor might look for club- shaped roots on hairs which means it has gone through entire hair growth cycle and one of the above conditions can be the culprit.
Telogen Effluvium Treatment:No treatment is necessary for telogen effluvium.You need to identify the cause and take necessary actions (i.e:reducing stress,control your weight,reduce or avoid medication). If pregnancy or surgery is the cause then you need to wait until hair loss slows down.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease that results in hair loss from the head or body.It can affect anyone regardless of age and gender.Alopecia areata starts with one or more bald patches and can develop into total scalp hair loss(alopecia totalis) and sometimes total body hair loss(alopecia universalis).You can refer to Alopecia areata:Causes,Symptoms and Treatment.
Thyroid Disease and Hair loss:
Hair loss is most famously linked to Thyroid disease.Abnormal level of thyroid hormones in our body causes thyroid disease.If too much thyroid hormones are produced by the body then it is called as hyperthyroidism and if inadequate thyroid hormones are produced it is called as Hypothyroidism.Severe and prolonged hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can cause hair loss.Hair loss can be observed on entire scalp.
Your doctor will examine your health and hair condition.If he finds anything doubtful then he may ask you to go for blood test where he can find your thyroid levels.
Once medication is provided to restore thyroid levels then after few months you can observe your hair growing back to normal.
Poly cystic Ovarian Syndrome:
Poly cysticovary syndrome (PCOS) is acondition where a woman’s ovaries produce more male hormones than normal.Obesity is one of the main causes for PCOS.
Symptoms of PCOS :
- Irregular periods
- Hair growth on face and other body parts
- Thinning hair or Hair loss
- Dark brown or black patches on skin
- Cysts on the ovaries
Your doctor may suggest birth control pills or prescribe medicines to have normal periods and reduce male hormone levels.
Excessive Pulling of Hair:
Also called as Traction alopecia.This type of alopecia is caused by few hair styles like ponytail,Cornrows,Dreadlocks, pigtails,braids which requires excessive hair pulling.Prolonged hair stress can lead to permanent damage to hair follicles.
Other Causes for hair loss in women
- Nutritional Deficiencies
- Environmental effects
- Stress,Scalp infection
- Excessive smoking
- Hormonal imbalance
- Use of chemical hair products
- Iron deficiency