Causes & Treatment of women hair loss
The key to a successful women’s hair loss cure is first to get yourself diagnosed to know what is causing your hair to fall off rampantly.
Today, I hardly come across female friends or family who do not complain about hair thinning or a fast-receding hairline. Hair loss has become a universal phenomenon, even for women. Read on to know what causes women’s hair loss and the best female hair loss treatment.
Why do women experience Hair Loss?
Hair shedding and new hair growth is a natural process, but hair loss is different. Did you know that one-third of the women in the US are affected by FPHL (female-pattern hair loss)? However, this is just one of the causes of hair loss. Here are some of the most common causes & triggers that you should know about:
The condition isn’t nerve-related or contagious. Moreover, it occurs due to genetics or anything that acts as a major trigger causing the immune system to attack & destroy our hair follicles. Apart from being the medical term for hair loss, alopecia has different types:
- Alopecia areata
It is an autoimmune skin disorder that can lead to patchy hair loss on your scalp. The first symptoms are usually small & dispersed bald spots on the sides of the head, commonly known as spot baldness. These spots may or may not be overlapping.
If you’re worried whether it leads to complete baldness of the scalp, i.e., alopecia totalis, know that the percentage accounts for less than 5% of people with the condition. In this case, hair loss comes on suddenly rather than being a gradual process. Alopecia areata isn’t usually a permanent condition. Lost hair often tends to grow back in 6 to 12 months when treated.
- Androgenic Alopecia
Commonly known as female-pattern baldness, you can suffer hair loss due to this only if the condition runs the family. By far, this genetic condition is one of the leading reasons for women’s hair loss. As opposed to hair loss in the crown or front hairline in men, women suffering from androgenic alopecia generally notice overall diffused hair thinning across the scalp. LLLT home devices have proven results on thinning hair, as per several published studies.
Early onsets can be seen in children as young as 12 years old, and by the age of 50, pattern hair loss affects about a quarter of females.
- Traumatic Alopecia
Traumatic alopecia is not genetic but a consequence of excessive hair styling practices. Frequently blow drying your hair, straightening it, using chemical dyes or hot combs can lead to rampant hair shaft breakages, causing severe hair loss.
- Traction Alopecia
Surely, we’ve all heard our mother tell us to loosen up our locks.
Your enemy, in this case, is prolonged use of tight hairstyles – bandanas, scarves, hats, ponytails, cornrows, and more. Hair loss caused due to this kind does exactly what its name suggests. The hairdos tend to pull on your hair & the constant and gradual tension greatly irritates the scalp causing hair to fall out. The same goes for hair rollers.
Release your hair regularly and your hair should grow back naturally; provided traction alopecia was the reason behind your hair loss to begin with. However, long-term use of these hair styling methods can scar your scalp which may lead to permanent hair loss.
- Cicatricial Alopecia
This is the worst of its kind. It is a group of conditions where the hair starts to fall out, and gradually the follicles are replaced with scar tissue. We’re talking about irreversible hair loss here.
2. Other Medical Conditions
Several other medical conditions may directly lead to hair loss in women.
Tinea Capitis is the scientific name for ringworm infection on the scalp that causes patchy hair loss. This fungal skin infection generally starts off as a tiny pimple that grows larger. The fungus causes inflamed, red, itchy, and scaly patches on the scalp, leaving the hair brittle.
Even though it is more common in children, adults can also get it since it is contagious. It is easily transmissible from unwashed clothes, infected comb or hairbrush, pool, shower, and gym spaces. Despite being a potential trigger, hair fall caused by this is reversible.
Here are a few other conditions that lead to hair loss in women:
- Celiac disease
- Hashimoto disease
- Addison’s disease
- Hodgkin’s disease
Hormones and hair were linked forever for women. Hormonal hair loss may be a result of the following triggers:
Speaking of hormonal imbalance, if you have polycystic ovary syndrome, your body will produce more androgens (male hormones) than it should. Thinning of scalp hair, among other symptoms, can also be your body’s way of saying that you have PCOS. Get yourself tested.
While some women enjoy a lush mane during pregnancy, many might lose hair in the months after childbirth. No need to worry; this is entirely normal.
When a woman gives birth, there is a sudden decrease in her estrogen levels. As a result, a few women notice rampant hair loss within a short period postpartum. However, the good news is that within a year or two after this shedding span, your hair fullness will probably return to normal. Meanwhile, volumizing shampoos can help.
You might see two things happening- you either start growing new hair, or your hair might begin to thin. Whichever the case, it occurs due to the changes in your hormone levels during or after menopause.
The drop in progesterone and estrogen levels increases the effects of androgens. Consequently, hair follicles shrink, hair becomes finer, grows back slower, and tends to fall off more easily.
Similarly, some women complain about hair loss or thinning when they start or stop taking birth control pills. Consuming contraceptives cause hormonal changes, and thus, you should be more mindful while consuming them. Also, if you have a family history of hair loss, your chance of experiencing this side effect is higher.
4. Sudden stress
After androgenic alopecia, TE (Telogen Effluvium) is a significant cause of hair fall in women. TE tends to happen when a shock to the body disrupts the hair lifecycle. It is a temporary and reversible condition but can last up to six to eight months. Here are some of the possible triggers:
- One of the fastest ways to lose weight is by Crash diets, but you should consider the downsides before getting into one. Fad diets may work for a few women, but they may lack the necessary nutrients and protein. Nutritional deficiency is a major trigger for women’s hair loss. Similarly, eating disorders also go down the same path.
- Excessive emotional or physical stress can also lead to TE. Recent surgery, severe injury or chronic illness, massive emotional upheaval, weight loss, or even blood loss may cause this hair loss pattern.
5. Cancer Treatment
Accounting for one of the most common reasons for hair loss in women is chemotherapy and radiation. These therapies indeed fight cancer, but patients undergo dramatic hair loss during and post-treatment.
Particularly for women, rapid hair loss begins the first two weeks into the treatment, which can worsen by the 2nd month since the scalp becomes extra sensitive. That being said, hair normally grows back once the cancer treatment is over.
Various treatments for women’s hair loss
While a few hair loss conditions may be temporary, like the ones caused by hormonal or stress-related issues, others can be permanent and thus require effective women’s hair thinning treatment. Unless nutritional deficit results from an underlying condition, there is no need for medical attention beyond supplements.
There are, however, a couple of treatments & medications that are used individually or in combinations to treat different kinds of alopecia, including FPHL.
Due to the way in which alopecia presents itself in women (concentrated bald spots & dispersed thinning), hair transplant surgery is a common women’s hair loss treatment, particularly for female-pattern baldness. However, the surgery may not be that helpful in the case of larger bald spots.
Risks & side effects: Shock or infection can cause hair fallouts even from the transplanted areas.
2. Pills & Topical Treatment
Doctors tend to prescribe minoxidil, an FDA-approved medication for androgenic alopecia. It functions like DTH blockers and accelerates hair regrowth. You can see noticeable results only after two months of taking this drug. Minoxidil is also available as topical solutions to be directly massaged into the scalp.
There are a few cases where minoxidil doesn’t seem to work, PCOS, for instance, because these women already make excess androgens. Thus, spironolactone (Aldactone) is recommended instead. It is usually prescribed with an oral contraceptive. This is an anti-androgen drug in the sense that it minimizes the body’s processing of testosterone by binding with androgen receptors. However, it is not an FDA-labelled treatment for androgenic alopecia.
Pregnant women must not take either of them without a doctor’s consultation.
Risks & side effects: Spironolactone may cause genital abnormalities, depression, loss of libido, fatigue, and weight gain. Rogaine has expired, but other generic minoxidil products are available. However, some contain herbal extracts that can potentially trigger allergic reactions like dryness and itchy scalp. The biggest downside is that you have to keep taking minoxidil, or else you will again start losing hair.
3. Vitamins for women’s hair loss
Biotin or Vitamin B7 is crucial to the health of one’s skin, nails and hair. Low levels of biotin, which may go down among breastfeeding women or those on antibiotics, can lead to hair loss. Natural biotin is found in spades in whole grains, egg yolk, and meat. Biotin supplements in the form of gummies and pills are also easily available options.
Sufficient iron content in the body is crucial to healthy hair. Iron deficiency can weaken the hair roots. However, it is not enough to take iron supplements in the case of a deficiency. One requires Vitamin C to make sure the digestive system properly absorbs the iron. Vitamin C is naturally found in leafy vegetables and citrus fruits.
Sunlight is a good source of Vitamin D, another important component when it comes to hair health. Regular sunbathing may not be an option for many, plus there are adverse side effects like UV-rays exposure. Therefore, Vitamin D supplements may help in the case of hair loss caused by Vitamin D deficiency.
4. Low-level laser therapy
As you can see, more or less every alopecia treatment comes with adverse side effects. However, that is not the case with at-home laser therapy. Thus, it is increasingly preferred by women suffering from hair loss as an alternative treatment to hair transplants.
These devices are clinically proven to reverse hair loss in women and men with androgenic alopecia and are mostly FDA-cleared. They consist of medical-grade red lights (low-level lasers) that stimulate dormant hair follicles at an optimum wavelength with consistent power to promote regrowth.
You don’t need a prescription for this treatment. Are you confused whether or not these devices then might be legit? Don’t worry; one of the reputed hair experts, Cleveland Clinic, backs the helmets of Theradome as effective laser therapy for home use.
These LLLT devices (such as caps/helmet lasers) are convenient, non-invasive, and have no reported adverse effects. you can use them at the ease of your home (even while multitasking). That makes them the best treatment for women’s hair loss.
You can take preventive measures to maintain healthy hair. Still, certain medical conditions are unavoidable and lead to hair loss in women. By now, you are aware that there are a couple of treatments for this issue and that the safest one is low-level laser therapy.
However, it would be best to remember that the earlier you start with this treatment, the better the results will be. They take long (6 months minimum) to show noticeable results, but let’s admit hair growth is a naturally slow process. Also, these devices come with a 6-month money-back guarantee which has users covered if they don’t get desired results.