Although hair loss is often considered primarily a concern for men, hair loss in women is more common than many of us believe. In fact, women make up 40% of hair loss sufferers in the United States.
In most cultures, long, flowing hair is traditionally been associated with femininity. Because of this, losing hair can be especially emotionally devastating for females. Even worse, we often suffer in silence because of shame and lack of knowledge about treatment choices.
As with all conditions, however, being well-informed is key. Did you know that there are multiple causes of female hair loss? Keep reading to learn about some of them, as well as tips on how to stop hair loss in women.
Most of us know that stress is terrible for the body. Not all of us know, however, that extreme stress is actually one of the most common female hair loss types. Both physical and emotional stress can lead to this symptom.
Hair has a programmed life cycle of growth, rest, and shedding. Any sort of trauma can shock this cycle and push it into the shedding phrase. Hair loss may not appear for up to six months after the trauma.
Emotionally traumatic events, like a divorce of death of loved one, affect the body similarly. In these cases, however, the emotional event often exacerbates a problem that is already dormant. The good news about this type of hair loss in women will usually stop once the trauma is over. The bad news is that trauma is rarely “over” and can require years of emotional unwinding through therapy, meditation, and other self-care practices.
Read more about stress and hair loss on this blog here.
Consider a hair loss treatment with nutritional resources as well as ingredients targeted at stress in women. As one example, I have had great luck taking Nutrafol.
2. Medication Side Effects
Even though we take medicine to solve problems, some medicines may actually cause different ones. This is all too common with the side effect of hair loss.
Drugs used for depression, heart problems, and high blood pressure may all lead to hair loss. Take the time to read through the symptoms of your specific medications, and if hair loss is listed as a symptom, consider speaking with your physician about alternative treatments.
Excessive Vitamin A is actually a known cause of female hair loss. Despite the benefits of the vitamin, overdoing your intake can lead to baldness. Fortunately, this is reversible. Once the excess Vitamin A is halted, hair should return to normal.
Chemotherapy is commonly known to cause hair loss, and many readers of this blog who have experienced chemotherapy-related hair loss find recovery in my protocol for hair growth.
Another common medication that causes hair loss is medication to treat thyroid disorders. You can read more about my experience with that here.
One of the most common female hair loss types stems from a medication many of us take on a daily basis – birth control.
The pill suppresses ovulation by affecting the body’s supply of estrogen and progestin. For women that are hypersensitive to hormonal changes, this can lead to hair loss while on the pill. More commonly, the woman will experience hair loss several weeks or months after she stops taking the pill.
For the most part, oral contraceptives are safe for women. Low androgen index pills are the best. However, if you have a family history of hair loss, you should think about using another non-hormonal birth control option, such as a diaphragm, or meticulous tracking of your ovulation cycle.
4. DHT Excess
For many years, scientists believed that testosterone was the cause of baldness. New research shows, however, that the real culprit is DHT, a derivative of the hormone testosterone. To put it simply, DHT seeks to kill hair follicles by binding to receptors in the scalp. This, in turn, causes baldness.
Excessive DHT affects both men and women. While it’s true that DHT shows up in larger quantities in men, even a small amount can cause a problem. Hormones work best when in balance, so if female hormones are outnumbered by excessive DHT hormones, hair loss can occur.
Before blaming DHT for your falling strands, make sure to rule out other causes of female hair loss, as explored in this list.
Luckily, there are many effective DHT blocking shampoos and serums to choose from. Read more about a great DHT blocking shampoo here, and an awesome DHT blocking serum here.
Known potent DTH blockers include Saw Palmetto, Rosemary, and amazingly, caffeine. Many shampoos and serums are now engineered to include caffeine.
5. Hormonal Shifts
As mentioned in regards to birth control, changes in hormones can wreak havoc on your hair. One of the biggest hormonal changes for women is the cycle of pregnancy, childbirth, and recovery from childbirth. As hormones shift during the pregnancy, many women actually experience thicker hair than normal. Postpartum, however, much of that hair starts to fall out- this is one of the most common hair loss causes for women.
Hair can revert normal in a few months after the body has had a chance to bring hormone levels back to normal. It’s no guarantee, however, and hair loss treatments recommended here can help the body normalize and combat hair loss.
Unfortunately, if you come from a family where women begin to lose their hair at a certain age, the same thing may happen to you. The condition is called androgenic alopecia, the female version of male pattern baldness. Female hair loss is less likely to present as a receding hairline and more likely to appear as a widening part and overall thinning of hair.
Androgenic alopecia can be treated with low level laser therapy. The cause is not excessive DHT, so DHT blockers are not the proper treatment.
7. Lack of Protein and Iron
How to stop hair loss in women? Commit to eating a diet designed to keep hair strong and healthy.
One of the most common dietary deficiencies for women is protein. If your diet doesn’t include enough protein, the body begins rationing it, shutting down hair growth. This also happens when the body is lacking in iron, which is true for 1 in 10 women between the ages of 20 and 49.
To combat this, make sure to prioritize protein. Meat, fish, and eggs are all great sources. If you’re anemic, or iron-deficient, a diet rich in meats and leafy greens will help. Alternatively, you can invest in a simple iron supplement.
8. Hairstyles & Hair Styling techniques
If you consistently pull your hair tight into the same hairstyle, this could be the cause of your hair loss. Known as traction alopecia, this occurs when the same hair follicles are constantly stressed.
Pigtails and cornrows are known stressors and causes of traction alopecia. If you continue to style your hair in same way, scalp scarring could occur and hair loss could be permanent.
The solution is simple – switch up your hairstyle. Try to let hair grow naturally as it recovers.
Avoid hot oil treatments, perms, and blow-outs as well, as they can lead to inflammation of the hair follicle. If you MUST blow dry, get a high quality blow dryer with a diffuser, which takes some of the stress and impact off of the follicles.
So, What’s the Treatment?
With so many causes for hair loss in women, it’s hard to pinpoint just one treatment technique that will work for all.
WHEW! That was a long rundown of female hair loss causes. As you can see, there are many contributing factors. Rarely does hair loss occur with just one of these in isolation.
If your hair has just started to fallout, there is hope. Take steps to treat and reinvigorate your follicles, be patient, and be persistent!