Weight loss, low iron levels, poor diet, and stress, along with thyroid and hormonal imbalances, can all cause hair to fall. Hair needs a healthy diet and a well-functioning endocrine system to flourish.
But diffuse hair shedding linked to weight, anemia, diet or thyroid problems is temporary. The hair follicle isn’t damaged and the hair grows back automatically or once an imbalance is addressed.
There is another type of female hair loss, however, that is less dramatic and less visible, but can be incredibly distressing. The hair thins gradually, often over decades, around the top frontal area and extending back to the crown. It can start at any age, is progressive and inherited.
Genetic hair loss is the only hair loss in which the follicle gradually gets smaller and finer and producers smaller and finer hair until it stops altogether and then you get the thinning.
Androgenetic alopecia, as the condition is known, is male hormone-related but isn’t caused by too much testosterone. Instead, the hair follicles become sensitive, due to a genetic predisposition, to normal levels of male hormones in a woman’s body.
Stress can exacerbate genetic hair loss since the adrenal or stress glands secrete male hormones into the body. Polycystic ovaries can also accelerate the condition, and genetic hair loss will worsen in menopause unless treated as oestrogen levels.
but if they’ve died, the hair won’t grow back, experts say. Existing hair can be
Hair loss facts
Telogen effluvium – general shedding from all over the head. We typically lose some 100 hairs a day but sometimes shedding accelerates due to stress, illness, medication or hormones. Hair generally grows back within six months.
Androgenetic alopecia – in women, hair generally thins in the top, frontal area, just behind the hairline, but stays thick at the back. An enzyme causes conversion of the male sex hormone testosterone to another hormone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), causing the hair follicles to produce thinner hair until they stop.
Alopecia areata – an autoimmune disease that affects up to 2% of the population. It causes round patches of hair loss and can lead to total baldness. In many cases, the hair regrows.
Treatment for Hair Loss
The only over-the-counter medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for female pattern hair loss is minoxidil
If minoxidil does not work, there are other “off-label” medicines, which include spironolactone (Aldactone), a drug used to treat hypertension; cimetidine (Tagamet), a class of histamine blockers; Ketoconazole, an antifungal agent and sometimes hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
Which Women Are Good Candidates for Hair Transplant?
- Women who have suffered hair loss due to mechanical or traction alopecia (nonhormonal).
- Women who have had previous cosmetic or plastic surgery and are concerned about hair loss around the incision sites.
- Women who have a distinct pattern of baldness, similar to that of male pattern baldness. This includes hairline recession, vertex thinning (on the crown or top of the scalp), and a donor area that is not affected by androgenetic alopecia.
- Women who suffer hair loss due to trauma, including burn victims, scarring from accidents, and chemical burns.
- Women with alopecia marginal, a condition that looks very similar to traction alopecia.