Sometimes, you’re hanging on by a hair. Other times, your hair is hanging on by a thread... Hair loss is an incredibly painful and difficult diagnosis. We often associate hair loss with bad health, cancer, hereditary traits, or aging, so coming to terms with it can be a doozie. Hair loss in women is especially difficult to accept, but it doesn’t need to mean cutting off your tangled tendrils with shears and covering your bare scalp with a handkerchief. Understanding the signs and symptoms of hair loss will help you identify what causes hair loss in women so you need not worry about addressing it.
Understanding Your Hair
Combating hair loss for women begins with considering your signs and symptoms. If your hairline is widening, patches of your hair begin to go missing, or even if you notice excessive shedding on a day-to-day basis, you are likely experiencing abnormal hair loss. The underlying conditions that are causing your luscious hair to fall out all of a sudden are as wide ranging as the many ways you may start to notice you’re losing hair unexpectedly. Unfortunately, you can’t do much to prevent hair loss, but knowing these signs may reduce any long-term effects you may experience.
What Causes Hair Loss in Women?
Everyone is familiar with how the chemicals in your body can make you feel out of control. Women need to maintain the perfect level of estrogen in order to retain control of their normal bodily functions.
If estrogen levels are too high, it can lead to mood swings, weight gain, and depression, among many other symptoms. If your estrogen is too low, such as during menopause, it can lead to (you guessed it) hair loss in women, insomnia, mental fogginess, etc. Both of these instances can be mitigated by reaching out to a professional and explaining how your estrogen levels may be impacting you
If you thought that was all you might be up against, the antithesis of menopause, pregnancy, can even cause postpartum hair loss! During pregnancy, your hormones are at a peak, so your hair enters one of its natural growth phases, the “resting phase,” triggering a form of Telogen Effluvium. When your hormones return to normal after birth, your hair may fall out after 2 to 3 months. Fortunately, this is a temporary condition, and your hair can be expected to make a full recovery, though taking Vitamin B in the interim can help you get the extra nutrients that you need during this time.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome impacts women during their childbearing years. This hormone disorder can lead to hirsutism, excessive hair growth on the face or body, or also to hair loss. If you experience any of these symptoms, or if you’re having frequent or prolonged periods, make sure to contact your gynecologist as your ovaries may be collecting fluid, which could impact your regular release of eggs.
Your thyroid is described as the butterfly-shaped gland in your throat and is largely responsible for regulating some of your body’s natural processes. As a result, medical conditions like hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism may result in hair loss, along with myriad symptoms. If you’re feeling exhausted or notice brittle nails/hair, excessive hair loss, puffiness in the face, or yellowing palms, you may be at risk for a thyroid disorder.
Fortunately, there’s no need to worry! Modern medications and surgeries are often able to fix thyroid imbalances through proper iron intake, consuming nutrient-dense foods, and prescribed medication, such as Levothyroxine, to synthetically replicate thyroid function. Taking the easy route will save you a long road ahead here, so you should definitely consult your doctor if you notice thyroid-related issues.
Hereditary pattern baldness is a genetic condition that can actively be tracked on measurable scales; namely, the Ludwig Scale for women and the Norwood Scale for men. There is the popular myth that men get their hair genes from their mother’s family and women get their hair genes from their father’s, but you can’t abide by these foolhardy notions! Regardless of which set of genes ultimately causes genetic-related hair loss, when it’s your time, there’s nearly no stopping it.
Minoxidil, the active ingredient in Rogaine, is a hair care treatment that can promote hair growth for women, helping you maintain the full head of hair you once had. Follicular Unit Transplants (FUTs) are also useful at using the hair that you currently have and transferring them to the areas of your scalp that are thinner than you would desire them to be.
Women seem to carry the brunt of stress in society. From working full-time to child-bearing, child-rearing, and maintaining your home... a lot of stress falls on their shoulders. Sometimes, it can impact your head of hair. The best way to combat stress-related hair loss is to find relaxing and carefree activities to enjoy. Whether you choose to watch your favorite show, read a book, or enjoy a soak in the tub, take the time to decompress! It’s the best solution for your body.
There are hairdos and hair don'ts. Tightly weaving your hair, long-term buns or ponytails, overuse of dyes, and many other hair “treatments” can all lead to temporary hair loss, identified more readily as Traction Alopecia. If you’re getting bald patches on your scalp, loosening clumps of hair, experiencing full body hair loss, or even gradual thinning on your scalp, it may be time to contact your doctor. Your doctor should perform a biopsy or hair-pull test to determine if you have this less common form of Alopecia. The best, easiest, and most immediate solution, however, could be to change your hairstyle routines.
This fungal infection can infect anyone. Men, women, and pets suffer from this insufferable fungal infection. Ringworm can be contracted from an infected person, animal, or object, and luckily, there are topical medications that can help you get rid of it. From washing with anti-dandruff shampoo to buying topical ointments to utilizing doctor-prescribed solutions, ringworm doesn’t need to impact your wallet or your scalp for long!
Most people think of cancer patients when they think of hair loss. During treatments, chemotherapy attacks the cancer cells and your hair follicles, resulting in rapid hair loss. This cause of hair loss in women doesn’t need to scare you. There are incredible solutions to cancer-related hair loss. From wigs to hair transplants, or even just wearing a cap or scarf, experiencing this kind of hair loss doesn’t need to define the way you handle this insidious disease. The right hair care solution is just waiting out there for you.
Hair loss in women can impact you on an emotional level, but luckily, there are options available to you. Hair loss can be manageable, whether that means your preferred method of repairing your scalp is by exploring transplant options or you decide to sift through the numerous medications available over-the-counter. In fact, the American Academy of Dermatology has a 13-step process to help you regain the confidence and hair that you deserve. Just remember that if all else fails and you just can’t seem to shake unprecedented hair loss, make sure to contact a reputable doctor to treat you. The genesis of hair loss in women doesn’t need to knock you out of your routine.