One of the most common misconceptions of hair loss is that it affects men only. However, in reality, at least one-third of women face noticeable hair loss due to a plethora of reasons. Female-pattern hair loss is the most crucial cause of hair loss in women.
Women, unlike men, experience only thinning hair without the risk of going bald. This hair loss in women can often be stabilized and reversed with the right treatment.
What is Hair Loss in Women?
Humans usually lose 50 to 100 hair strands every day. Hair loss occurs when the shedding outnumbers the hair strands that are growing. When the natural balance between hair growth and shedding is interrupted, hair loss occurs. However, you must understand that there is a fine line between hair shedding and hair loss. In medical terms, hair loss is commonly known as alopecia.
Fine, light hair that usually grows on our eyebrows, hands, and legs is known as vellus hair whereas the thicker and longer hair on our scalp is known as androgenic or terminal hair.
Hair Growth Cycle
Our hair cycle goes through three main steps –
- Anagen Phase – In this phase our hair grows and it can last around 2-8 years. 85-90% of our hair belongs to this phase.
- Catagen Phase – In this transition phase the hair follicles start to shrink. This usually lasts for around 2-3 weeks.
- Telogen Phase – This is commonly known as the resting phase and lasts around 2-4 months. Our hair strands fall out during this phase.
Common Types of Hair Loss
- Telogen Effluvium – This hair loss is caused when a large number of hair strands reach their telogen phase together.
- Anagen Effluvium – This hair loss is caused when a certain medication, like chemotherapy, poisons your hair follicles.
- Female pattern hair loss/Androgenetic Alopecia – This is commonly found in women. Here, the hair on the top of our head and the sides start thinning.
Who is likely to face hair loss?
Any woman or girl can face hair loss at any point in their life. However, it is more commonly seen in –
- Women who have just delivered babies
- Women who had undergone chemotherapy
- Women who are taking certain medications that are poisoning their hair follicles
- Women who have crossed the age of 40
- Menopausal women
- Women who commonly indulge in tight hairstyles that pull their hair strands from the top ( like tight braids or high ponytails)
- Women who regularly use harsh chemical products on their hair
Common Causes of Hair Loss
- Hairstyle: This is one of the most common causes of hair loss. When you repeatedly style in a particular manner that pulls or drags your hair, it results in hair loss. Cornrows, tight ponytails, or braids are some of the main hairstyles that are responsible for hair loss in women. Moreover, hair loss can turn permanent if the hair follicles are completely damaged.
- Vitamin, iron and biotin deficiencies can also cause hair loss in women.
- Rapid weight loss due to dieting or restrictive diet can also trigger hair loss in women.
- Breakage or over-processed hair can also be responsible for hair loss.
- Extreme shock or physical stress can cause telogen effluvium (temporary hair loss) in women. Moreover, excessive emotional stress, hormone changes, abnormal thyroid can also lead to telogen effluvium.
- Radiation therapy, certain medications, and chemotherapy are responsible for anagen effluvium in women.
- Aging and genes can cause your hair to thin from the sides or along the top.
Menopause and Hair Loss in Women
During menopause women usually face two common things –
- You start growing hair at places where you had never experienced them before.
- The hair on your scalp may start thinning.
Progesterone and estrogen levels usually fall during menopause increasing the effects of male hormones, androgens.
Hair Loss Diagnosis in Women
Your doctor may perform the following tests to understand your hair loss better –
- Blood tests to check your mineral and vitamin levels.
- Scalp examination using trichoscopy and microscope.
- Scalp biopsy to examine a small section of your scalp skin.
Hair loss in women can turn permanent if not treated immediately. If you see more and more hair strands on the floor, in the shower, on your brush or pillows, it’s time to go for a checkup. Moreover, book an appointment at Estetiq if you see noticeable missing or thinner hair patches. At Estetiq you will get the best hair-related services. an