Hair loss can be hard for anyone to deal with, but for women, who are often told that their hair is their crowning glory, it can be particularly devastating to come to terms with. Although it’s an issue that tends to be more associated with men, female hair loss is actually very common, with 4 out of every 10 women experiencing some degree of hair loss throughout their lifetime.
There are many potential triggers for hair loss in women, which can be difficult to identify. We have identified some of the most common causes of female hair loss, and how to handle them.
Hair loss is common in women during the menopause, due to the reduced levels of progesterone and oestrogen. These hormones help the hair to grow faster and also keep them on the head for longer, so when the production of the hormones slows, hair growth also begins to slow. It can be treated with Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), although not all women are suitable candidates for this.
Hormonal changes are also the root cause behind postnatal hair loss. During pregnancy, the surge of oestrogen means that many women notice their hair looking significantly thicker than before. It affects the hair cycle, making the growth stage last longer than usual. However, after giving birth, the hair cycle returns to normal – meaning that for some women, they will notice they are shedding far more hair than they usually would. Thankfully, this should settle down a few months postpartum.
In some women, weight loss can cause an unpleasant side effect – hair loss. This can sometimes be due to nutritional deficiencies as the diet is being restricted. When the body is only taking in a certain number of vitamins, it makes sure it uses them where they are needed most, meaning it neglects non-vital processes like hair growth. In particular, a lack of protein, iron, zinc, and vitamin D has been linked to hair loss, so make sure that you are eating a nutritious, balanced diet.
Traction alopecia is caused by hairstyles that repeatedly pull on the hair over a period of time, causing thinning and bald patches on the scalp. Some of the hairstyles associated with traction alopecia are tight buns, ponytails, and braids, as well as hair extensions. Although it’s most common in women of Afro-Caribbean origin, anyone can develop traction alopecia.
In most cases, traction alopecia is reversible and can be cured by wearing the hair down when possible, tying hair more loosely and wearing it in different styles to avoid pressure on a particular area of the scalp. However, in more severe cases, the damage to the scalp can be permanent. In these instances, hair transplants can be an option for any women who are struggling with the effects of traction alopecia.
Female pattern baldness – also known as Androgenetic Alopecia – is a genetic type of hair loss, which is usually inherited from one or both parents. Although it is more common as women age, particularly after the menopause, the hair loss can start to present at a younger age. Women are less likely than men to go completely bald, although they do tend to lose hair from all over the head.
Although female pattern baldness isn’t curable, it is usually treatable. There are treatments available to help slow down the hair loss, but hair transplants are the only permanent solution to help bring your hair back to its former glory.
If you’re worried about hair loss, arrange a consultation today with our expert surgeon, Dr Asim Shahmalak, to find out your best course of treatment for female hair loss.