When a sudden loss of hair is experienced, the exact cause is not always clear. Both men and women experience this problem, although women are more susceptible to sudden and rapid hair loss than men, most likely due to an increased occurrence of hormone imbalance. It’s no surprise then, that hair transplants for women are definitely on the increase.
The most common common causes of female hair loss
Although general hair loss in women is usually thought to be related to a family history of male or female baldness, changes in the levels of male hormones (androgens) and aging, there are five possible causes that are more common than the rest.
Hair loss caused by menopause
Almost 50% of women will experience some degree of hair loss or thinning before their 50th birthday, which often worsens with menopause, according to the North American Menopause Society. “Your hormones have been supporting your hair growth,” explains Bergfeld. “When estrogen dips, the hair begins to change.”
An underlying medical condition or illness
Thyroid disease, diabetes, lupus or anemia are among the 30 or so diseases that can cause sudden hair loss in women, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), which says that hair loss can often be the first sign of disease. Other conditions include ringworm, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and some cancer treatments.
Stress or trauma-related hair loss
You may notice excessive hair shedding several months after a stressful or traumatic event (like divorce or loss of a spouse), sudden or excessive weight loss, a high fever or surgery. That shedding is normal and temporary — but may be long-lasting if the stress persists. Hair thinning after childbirth, most commonly referred to as postpartum hair loss, is also very common among new moms.
Dieting or poor nutrition
Eat poorly and your hair could suffer: The body shifts its nutritional stores to vital organs like your brain and heart — and away from your hair — if there is a shortage.
Low protein, low iron stores, low vitamin D and calcium can cause hair loss. But taking nutritional supplements for what you might be missing isn’t necessarily the answer. A study published in Clinical and Experimental Dermatology found that excessive levels of supplements can actually cause hair loss and should not be used unless there is an actual deficiency.
Rough handling or lack of care
Years of pulling your hair too tight in a bun or ponytail or wearing it in cornrows or braids can put stress on the hair and cause a type of hair loss known as traction alopecia. So can bleaching or regular use of dyes, relaxers and other hair products as well as straightening irons and curling wands.
What can be done to remedy the situation?
Hair loss is stressful enough for men, but for women the thought of going bald is a frightening prospect. Thankfully there are ways and means of addressing the problem, depending on the situation.
The most important first step is to obtain an accurate diagnosis. We recommend first speaking with your family doctor, or other suitably qualified medical professional, to ascertain the cause of your hair loss. After all, easy fxes should be explored before further measures are taken.
Women suffering with sudden hair loss are sometimes given minoxidil, an FDA-approved topical formula that is applied once or twice a day to the scalp. Whilst effective in some cases, sudden hair loss usually has a definite cause, and rarely one that can be addressed by minoxidil alone.
For a professional opinion about your hair loss, and to discuss your treatment options, please contact our friendly team. We can be reached on 800-510-3386 or by email at [email protected]. Alternatively please complete the inquiry form on our contact page.