FEMALE HAIR LOSS
Hair Loss in Women
If the part in your hair is widening, you find bald spots, or you’re shedding more than 125 hairs per day, you’re likely experiencing hair loss and need to see a dermatologist. There are a couple of types of hair loss and several possible causes. Although there’s very little you can do to prevent hair loss, you might respond to treatment if you get to the best female hair transplant surgeon early!
What’s hair loss in women?
Hair loss in women is just that when a woman experiences unexpected, heavy loss of hair. Generally, humans shed between 50 and 100 single hairs per day. Hair shedding is part of a natural balance — some hairs fall out while others grow in. When the balance is interrupted — when hair falls out and less hair grows in — hair loss happens. Hair loss is different than hair shedding. The medical term for hair loss is “alopecia.”
Hair grows on almost all of your skin surfaces — not the palms of your hands, soles of your feet, lips or eyelids. Light, fine, short hair is called vellus hair. Terminal/androgenic hair is thicker, darker, and longer.
Signs of hair loss:-
Hair loss may present in different ways depending on the cause. You may notice sudden hair loss or a gradual thinning over time. It may be helpful to keep a diary to track any changes you notice or symptoms you experience and to look for patterns.
Certain signs include:-
- Overall thinning. Gradual thinning on the top of the head is the most common type of hair loss. It affects both men and women. While men tend to see a receding hairline, women generally notice that their part broadens.
- Bald spots. They may be circular or patchy. They may resemble coins in size and usually appear on the scalp. Your skin may even feel itchy or painful immediately before the hair falls out.
- Handfuls of hair. You may experience very sudden hair loss, particularly after emotional or physical trauma. The hair may come out quickly while you’re washing or combing it, leading to overall thinning.
- Full loss. In some medical situations, particularly with medical treatments like chemotherapy, you may notice hair loss suddenly and all over your body at once.
How common is hair loss in women?
Many people think that hair loss only affects men. However, it is estimated that more than 50% of women will experience noticeable hair loss. The most significant cause of hair loss in women is female-pattern hair loss (FPHL), which affects about one-third of susceptible women, which equals out to some 30 million women in the United States.
Which women are likely to experience hair loss?
Any girl or woman can be affected by hair loss. However, it is usually more common in:
- Women older than 40.
- Women who have just had babies.
- Women who have had chemotherapy and those who have been affected by other medications.
- Women often have hairstyles that pull on the hair (like tight ponytails or tight braids) or use harsh chemicals on their hair.
- Menopausal women.
What are the common causes of hair loss in women?
- Hair style: Your style of hair can cause hair loss when your hair is arranged in ways that pull on your roots, like tight ponytails, braids, or corn rows. This type of hair loss is called traction alopecia. If hair follicles are damaged, the loss can be permanent.
- Vitamin deficiency.
- Dieting (rapid weight loss).
- Restrictive diets.
- Over-processed scalp hair (breakage).
What is the relationship between hair loss in women and menopause?
During menopause, you might see one of two things happen with your hair. You might start growing hair where you didn’t before. Or, you might see the hair you have start to thin. One cause may be changing levels of hormones during menopause. Estrogen and progesterone levels fall, meaning that the effects of the androgens, male hormones, are increased.
During and after menopause, hair might become finer (thinner) because hair follicles shrink. Hair grows more slowly and falls out more easily in these cases.
What are the signs of hair loss in women?
- Seeing more hair fall out daily either on your brush, on the floor, in showers, on your pillows, or in the sink.
- Seeing noticeable patches of thinner or missing hair, including a part on the top of your head that gets wider.
- Seeing scalp skin through hair
- Having smaller ponytails.
- Seeing hair break off.
DIAGNOSIS AND TESTS:-
- The tests performed to diagnose hair loss in women can be simple or complicated:
- Gently pulling on your hair to see how many hairs come out.
- Blood tests. These check for vitamin and mineral levels (like vitamin D, vitamin B, zinc and iron) and hormone levels (including thyroid and sex hormones).
- Scalp examination under a microscope and trichoscopy.
- Scalp biopsy to remove and examine a very small piece of scalp skin.
How is hair loss in women treated? What medicines or supplements may help?
Top hair transplant doctors recommend a treatment depending on the cause of your hair loss:-
- In cases where the loss is due to stress or hormone changes like pregnancy, there might be no treatment needed. The hair loss will stop after a period of time.
- In cases of hair loss being due to hair styling practices, like tight braids or ponytails or certain chemicals, treatment means not doing the things that caused the damage.
- In cases due to nutritional deficiencies, you might be told to take supplements. For instance, you might be told to take a multivitamin and three to five milligrams of biotin daily.
- Minoxidil is approved for treating FPHL. The 2% or 5% solution can be purchased in stores. However, you have to follow directions exactly and use the product indefinitely. Don’t use this product if you’re pregnant, if you plan to get pregnant, or if you’re breastfeeding.
- Low light laser is approved by the US FDA to treat FPHL. You can use laser combs, caps, helmets for the same.
- It is important to note that premenopausal women should not take medications for hair loss treatment without using contraception. Many drugs, including minoxidil and finasteride, are not safe for pregnant women or women who want to get pregnant.
- Hair transplant surgery is another option. Grafts with hair follicles are taken from the back of the head and moved to slits in the areas of baldness.
- Injections of protein-rich plasma (PRP) have also been done to encourage hair growth. PRP is generally made from blood drawn from a patient. The platelets are removed and concentrated and then added back to the blood for injection.
- Microneedling of the scalp with and without the application of minoxidil.
Preventing hair loss is not possible when it is due to disease, aging, heredity or physical stressors like injuries. You can prevent hair loss caused by caustic chemicals or tight hairstyles by avoiding them. You might be able to prevent some hair loss by eating a healthy diet that provides necessary nutrients in terms of vitamins, minerals and protein. You can stop smoking.
When should I see my healthcare provider?
See a hair restoration surgeon as soon as possible when you notice hair loss. The sooner you get treatment, the more effective it will be.