Hair loss is surprisingly common in women, yet many women who suffer from this worrying and embarrassing disorder suffer in silence due to lack of available information.
Here is everything you need to know about female hair loss, including common reasons why it occurs, and handy tips on how to manage and treat it.
Why does female hair loss occur?
1. Internal factors
Hormones have a powerful influence over hair follicle cell turnover, particularly during periods of huge bodily change such as pregnancy, changing your birth control, and breastfeeding. When your female hormones become less dominant and testosterone levels increase, your hair can begin to hair to thin at the scalp.
Treatment: In this case, you may need to wait until the period in your life has passed. If your hair doesn’t return to normal after trying conservative treatments like scalp massage, speak to your doctor.
Auto-immune diseases and illnesses related to hair loss
For those struggling with long-term hair loss, there may be a more serious underlying issue such as Androgenic Alopecia or Alopecia Areata. These illnesses can be diagnosed by a specialist doctor, and require unique treatments.
Some auto-immune diseases can also cause hair loss, but it may ease once you begin treatment.
Treatment: After trying conservative treatments such as scalp massage, it may be time to see a doctor. Seek out a specialist though, as most GP’s don’t have experience with these very specific illnesses.
2. External factors
Whether you’ve embarked on an unhealthy fad diet to lose weight, or you shun healthy foods rich in iron and protein; your hair will suffer. Iron deficiency, known as anaemia, can cause hair loss as it puts your body into fight or flight mode; taking blood away from non-vital functions such as hair growth. Many women suffer from anaemia, particularly teenagers and women in their 20’s and 30’s, yet many forget to look at iron levels when suffering from hair loss.
Protein compounds form the building blocks of our nail, skin cells and hair follicles. If there isn’t enough protein in your system, your hair won’t grow strong and healthy.
Treatment: Make a conscious effort to eat better. Before spending money on expensive blood tests, begin eating a diet rich in whole foods and ditch the processed foods.
Stress and trauma
Going through huge life events like grief, moving house, changing jobs or divorce can decrease your body’s ability to heal and regenerate. These periods are difficult to manage, and hair loss can make them even worse when you don’t understand why it’s happening.
Luckily though, stress usually causes temporary hair loss known as telogen effluvium. This means the normal turnover of your hair cells is slowed and can even stop, leading to hair loss. Once you begin to recover from the difficult period, your hair should return to normal.
Treatment: To help manage your body’s response to life-altering events, try mindfulness and stress management techniques. While many people are cynical of these treatments, evidence shows daily meditation practices can decrease the allostatic loading; your body’s response to stress including hair loss.
Sometimes we don’t realise the powerful side effects of the medication we take, including decreased hair follicle cell turnover. Strong medications such as anti-depressants and HIV medications can cause your hair to thin over time, so chat to your doctor to discuss the best options.
Treatment: Talk to your doctor about different medications you could try that may not list hair loss as a side effect.
Female hair loss is more common than you may think, so if you’re suffering, try these treatments above.