Hair loss in women is a complex subject as there can be many underlying contributing factors including genetics, illness, emotional stress, diet, the contraceptive pill, menopause and pregnancy.
More and more women are losing hair partly as a result of an aging population and partly due to modern, stressful lifestyles. Female Pattern (genetic) Hair Loss usually starts in the 30s, with hair becoming noticeably thinner by the 40s. By the age of 50, 50% of women will experience some degree of hair thinning, either as a result of their genetic make-up or from some other condition such as Telogen Effluvium or Diffuse Hair Loss.
As with men, genetic hair loss is the most common type in women and starts with gradual hair thinning, and can eventually lead to hair shedding from the top of the head. This usually becomes more noticeable after the menopause. As with Male Pattern (genetic) Baldness, Female Pattern Hair Loss is cause by an increase in the hormone Dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
This causes the hair follicle to shrink which in turn affects the hair life cycle by inhibiting its growth. This can be successfully treated with Minoxidil, a proven medication. In order to treat the condition safely and effectively, it is advisable to seek professional advice from a hair specialist because there are various strengths of Minoxidil available and it can work best when used in conjunction with hair growth booster products.
Another type of female hair loss is Telogen Effluvium. This occurs when sudden or severe stress causes some hair follicles to stop growing and enter the telogen (resting) phase. These hairs will stay in this phase for about 3 months after which time they will shed. More often than not the person will have recovered from the event before the hair loss occurs.
In most cases of Telogen Effluvium the shedding is temporary and the hair re-grows on its own. However, in some cases, it will continue until the underlying cause is resolved. The main events that can cause Telogen Effluvium are: an accident, an illness, child birth, pregnancy termination, surgery, starting/stopping taking the contraceptive pill, severe emotional stress. While the hair often re-grows on its own, it is possible to treat Telogen Effluvium with treatments to help faster re-growth and ensure the hair stays in the best possible condition.
Diffuse Hair Loss is similar to Telogen Effluvium and is seen most frequently in women. It is brought on by internal factors other than genetics such as illness, a lack of nutrients or stress. It is different to the genetic condition in that the hair can shed from the back and sides of the head as well as the top. As with Telogen Effluvium, it is important to identify the underlying cause so that the right method of treatment can be found. A hair specialist will take a detailed clinical history, including checking for thyroid, haemoglobin and hormonal problems.
It is essential to seek expert guidance when treating hair loss in women in order to address the underlying cause of the condition and find an effective solution. Many women are successfully treated for all of the conditions discussed above and the earlier women seek help, the better the results will be.