Female Hair Loss

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Female Hair Loss

2024-04-15

Female Hair Loss


All women at some time in their life experience hair loss for many different reasons. Although it’s fairly common, losing a hair as a woman is always stressful because it can badly affect to self-confidence and emotional well-being.

There are many potential causes of hair loss in women, but the most common types of female hair loss are androgenetic alopecia, also called female pattern hair loss (FPHL), telogen effluvium, anagen effluvium, alopecia areata and other illnesses that cause hair loss.

 

What is the normal cycle of hair growth?

Source: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/treating-female-pattern-hair-loss

The cycle of hair growth includes three phases:

(A) Anagen phase. Normally most of the hair on our head, about 90% percent, is in this growth phase. This phase lasts 2-8 years.

(B) Catagen phase. This is transition phase, when hair follicles shrink and hair stops growing. Normally this phase lasts 2-3 weeks.

(C) Telogen phase. This is resting phase and at the end of this phase the hair falls out. It takes about 2-4 months. 

After telogen phase, the hair follicle undergoes another anagen phase to produce new hair that grows out of the same follicle pushing out the old telogen hair.

This cycle goes on throughout life.


Female pattern hair loss (FPHL)

Female pattern hair loss (FPHL), also called androgenetic alopecia is the most common type of hair loss for women. In this case hair loss appears more as a gradual thinning or a widening at the part line or crown of the scalp. Usually, these signs are the early signs of the condition and they occur slowly.

Androgenetic alopecia involves the action of the hormones called androgens, which have essential functions for both sexes, one of them is a regulation of hair growth.

Female pattern hair loss has a strong genetic predisposition. It’s hereditary and you can inherit the genes from on of your parents or both. Androgenetic alopecia tends to become more common hormonal shifts. They include:

- Menopause. FPHL can affect women around the time of menopause. Levels of estrogen dramatically drop and the hair follicles keep shrinking, new strands stop growing.   

- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). This is common hormonal condition (high levels of androgens) that may cause disruptions to the menstrual cycle and affects up to 1 in 10 women at their reproductive age. This condition can lead to thinning hair. 

- Age. The chances of getting female pattern baldness get higher with age. It usually happens at late 40s, 50s or 60s. For some women it can begin earlier.

 

Telogen Effluvium

This type of hair loss occurs when an increased quantity of hair follicles on the scalp enter to telogen phase and hair falls out. You may lose 300-500 hairs per day.

The most common causes of telogen effluvium:

- emotional stress, anxiety, depression

- medical conditions, such as thyroid imbalance, pregnancy and childbirth, surgery, severe infection, high fever

- vitamin or mineral deficiency, such as iron, vitamin D 

- certain medications, such as isotretinoin, warfarin or oral contraceptives

- some illnesses such as an autoimmune disease called alopecia areata, scarring alopecia, also known as scarring alopecia, diabetes or psoriasis 

- some scalp infection, scalp ringworm, some sexually transmitted infections 

Telogen effluvium usually begins 2-3 months after any stressful experience or medical event. Normally this type of hair loss is temporary but it may be considered chronic if hair loss lasts longer than 6 months.

 

Anagen effluvium

This is the hair loss caused by radiation, chemotherapy or taking other medications that harm your hair follicles. Usually hair grows back on its own after few months the treatment ends. 


How to treat female hair loss

There are treatments for women who experience hair loss and they really work. There are few options, including:

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  • Topical minoxidil. This is the over-the-counter treatment with approved drug that is available to purchase in 2% and 5% strengths. Research studies confirmed that applying minoxidil to the scalp every day can stimulate hair growth. But if you want to know if minoxidil really works for you, you’ll need to wait at least 2 months to see any results. If this drug treatment helps in your case, you’ll need to keep using or you start losing your hair again.