Causes of Hair Loss in Women

Most common type of hair loss in women occurs in a diffuse pattern. One of the commonest forms of hair loss in women is a condition called telogen effluvium, in which there is a diffuse shedding of hairs around the scalp and elsewhere on the body. Another common type of hair loss in women is androgenetic alopecia, which is related to hormone levels in the body. There’s a large genetic predisposition, which may be inherited from the father or mother. Androgenetic alopecia affects roughly 50 per cent of men and perhaps as many women over the age of 40. It is caused by the actions of two enzymes; aromatase and 5-a reductase. Alopecia areata is an immune disease that affects almost 2% of the population in the US. This type of hair loss appears in various degrees of severity from small, round patches of hair loss that regrow without medical treatment to chronic, extensive hair loss that can involve the loss of all hair on the scalp or body hair. Alopecia Areata-This is a patchy type of hair loss.

Alopecia areata is an immune disease that affects almost 2% of the population in the US. Hair loss can be seen to some women as losing their femininity. Women’s pattern of hair loss is different to the typical receding hairline and crown loss in men. Instead, androgenetic alopecia causes a general thinning of women’s hair, with loss predominantly over the top and sides of the head. Another important cause of hair loss in women is a condition called alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease that affects more than two per cent of the population. In this, the hair follicles are attacked by white blood cells. Milder cases often see a greater improvement with treatment than severe cases. In no case does treatment restore full hair in patients with 100% scalp or body hair loss. Hair thinning or slight hair loss is bad enough but total baldness can be completely heartbreaking. There is no known cure for the problem and many women with the disorder sadly spend vast sums of money with the so called “hair specialists” on wonder shampoo’s which they claim will restore their crowning glory.

Hair is lost when combing, brushing and washing the hair. Men and women have both male and female hormones, but in different amounts. A male hormone causes androgenetic alopecia. Most women with androgenetic alopecia do not have more of this hormone than other women. However, they are more sensitive to the hormone. Some women with female pattern hair loss, particularly those with other medical conditions, may have androgen – a male hormone such as testosterone-sensitivity causing these problems. Women with this pattern of hair loss should be evaluated with special blood tests to determine their androgen levels. In some cases, female pattern hair loss may be the first sign of an underlying type of diabetes that is more frequent in women with elevated androgens in the blood. Both men and women get alopecia areata. It can begin at any age, but often starts in childhood.

Treatment of this type of hair loss includes immunomodulating therapies such as glucocorticoids, topical immunotherapy, or anthralin. Hair Replacement Surgery – Modern surgical techniques have made transplantation for females a viable treatment option providing they are qualified candidates and have realistic expectations. Hair Additions — Modern forms of hair additions have also made recent improvements in simulating a natural appearance. Minoxidil (Rogaine) – Now sold over-the-counter, minoxidil may help stop hair loss in some people. Medication – Drugs used to treat cancer, blood thinners, antidepressants and high blood pressure medications, as well as birth control pills and high doses of vitamin A, may cause hair loss. Hair transplantation – tiny punch-holes of skin containing a few follicles of hair are taken from elsewhere in the body and implanted into the thinning areas. Scalp reduction – devices are inserted under the skin to stretch areas of scalp that still have hair, then the redundant bald areas are removed.