Your hair is an important part of your look and you can use it to reflect your style. You normally shed around 50 to 100 hairs a day, but hair loss due to alopecia is when hair is lost in greater amounts in spots around your body. Hair loss has a strong impact on one’s self-image and may cause anxiety and distress.
It is common and affects 21 million women in the US alone every year. Here are some of the causes and possible treatments for hair loss in women.
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Sometimes we notice our hair falling out more than usual when we’re generally stressed over an issue we are facing. Stress may cause women to lose hair by different methods. For example, if stressed, women may resort to hair pulling. Hair pulling is an impulsive disorder caused by stress where a person will pull their hair intentionally or unintentionally. Stress can also induce telogen effluvium which is a condition that results in patches of, or all of, a person’s hair to fall off.
- DHT – Androgenetic Alopecia, also known as female pattern hair loss, is a hereditary condition that is likely to happen to you if any of your close relatives suffer from hair loss. It’s caused by testosterone, which women have in small amounts, turning into a hormone called dihydrotestosterone which targets hair making it fall. An increase in testosterone and DHT in women may be triggered by menopause or hormonal imbalance caused by conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
- Thyroid Hormones – Thyroid hormones are responsible for controlling your metabolic rate and the speed of cells working in your body. An underactive thyroid may cause hair to be dry, brittle, and too thin.
- Pregnancy Hormones – During pregnancy, hormones and growth factors make your hair grow and flourish. After birth, however, the growth factors and hormones decrease rapidly, causing hair loss. Luckily, your hair should go back to its normal growth rate in 6 to 12 months.
Iron is responsible for producing hemoglobin, which carries oxygen that makes your cells grow and repair themselves. That includes the cells that stimulate hair growth and so a lack of Iron causes hair fall that is reversible and can be treated.
Your diet affects every single part of your body, hair included. If your body is lacking in nutrients like protein, potentially from sudden weight loss, you may experience hair loss. Eating well will get your hair in its best form and may prevent hair loss. Food rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, and iron will keep your hair healthy.
Some medications cause hair loss, like medications for cancer, high blood pressure, arthritis, depression, and heart conditions.
- Medication – Minoxidil (brand name: Rogaine) is an FDA-approved medication that treats female pattern hair loss. It works by elongating the hair growth phase of the hair follicles. You don’t need a prescription to use Minoxidil and are advised to start using it as soon as you notice hair loss. Note that the concentration varies for men and women; use the appropriate product. There are chemical substances for alopecia areata like spironolactone, tretinoin, and corticosteroids. Make sure to consult your doctor before using any medications.
- Hair Transplantation – Hair transplantation is a permanent solution that has become as common with women as with men. Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) is the most recent form of hair transplant. The process simply involves taking hair from areas with dense hair and implanting it into areas affected by hair loss. The benefits of FUE are a natural-looking and permanent result, little to no discomfort, no scalpel, staples, scars, or sutures, and quick recovery time.
- Platelet-rich Plasma (PRP) – Platelet-rich plasma is a component in the blood that repair tissue, stops bleeding, and promotes healing. Some doctors extract PRP to use it to heal damaged areas. Studies show that they were effective in treating androgenetic alopecia and alopecia areata.
Hair loss is emotionally painful, but can be treated. Visiting a doctor to determine the causes of hair loss will help you treat any underlying conditions. Most conditions are treatable, and in case of permanent loss, there are other options like hair transplants. There are always different options and ways to restore your hair to its best state.