According to the American Academy of Dermatology, hair loss in women could occur as early as your 20s. You are more vulnerable if your mother or father experienced this pattern of thinning at a young age as this gene can be inherited.
Usually, you will first notice your hair receding at the sides (temples) then the hair eventually becomes thinner on the top of the head. That bald patch in the middle of the scalp and the receding sides would gradually enlarge and join together. Some sufferers go bald in less than five years, but most of them go bald in 10 to 25 years.
What Is The Most Common Form of Female Hair Loss?
The most common form of female hair loss is androgenic alopecia in women or female pattern baldness. Every month, hair grows roughly half an inch from its follicle. Each strand grows for 2 to 6 years; it rests, and then falls out.
Ideally, a new hair should immediately start growing in its place. However that is not always the case. Hormonal changes, ageing and genes are some of the reasons why some women suffer from female pattern baldness. Female pattern baldness is different from hair thinning. Here are the symptoms:
- Female pattern baldness usually starts with scalp hair becoming gradually finer and shorter as you age. You will notice hair thinning where you part your hair and on the top-central part of the scalp.
- The hair loss rarely progresses to total baldness in women.
- Also, the scalp is generally not itchy and skin sores do not occur.
Causes of Hair Loss in Women
One of the most common causes of hair loss in women is genetics. If you have family members (mother, aunts and grandmothers) that have a problem with hair loss then you are likely to have the same problem.
According to the America Academy of Dermatology, this hereditary condition affects around 30 million women in the United States. It usually occurs when a woman reaches her 50s or 60s but some can have this problem even during their teenage years.
Another common cause of hair loss in women is medical and other conditions. If the hair loss happens rapidly, it is more likely due to a medical condition and not heredity. There are several conditions that can cause hair loss in women like pregnancy, anemia and thyroid disorders. Psoriasis, suborrheic dermatitis and other skin conditions can also cause hair loss.
How Is Female Hair Loss Treated?
The only medication approved by the FDA for treating female hair loss is Minoxidil 2%. There is also a stronger version, Minoxidil 5% which is for more severe cases of female hair loss but it is approved by the FDA only for male pattern hair loss since it can increase* facial hair growth.
The 2% and 5% solutions come on liquid form which can be purchased without a prescription. The 5% solution is available in foam form as well. It works by prolonging the hair’s growth phase giving it more time to grow to its full density.
In cases wherein the patient tests with a low level of ferritin, iron supplements may help treat* the hair loss. In medical and other conditions, treating the condition causing the problem is a crucial part of treating female hair loss. There is also a new procedure which involves the use of the HairMax Laser Comb which is red light therapy that increases* circulation.
However, it is not as effective as Minoxidil and the procedure is still relatively new. There are a number of other treatment options available including hair growth pills and the use of medication to control excess male hormone production in women.
Should I Change My Hair Care Regimen?
With female pattern hair loss, there is actually no structural problem with the hair so in most cases you don’t have to change your hair care regimen. However, you can reduce* hair fall by taking better care of your hair.
For instance, do not comb your hair when it is wet or attempt to rub it dry since this can cause damage. Unless your skin care professional suggests, there is no need to use special shampoos and conditioners to help control hair fall.
Can Hair Loss Be A Sign Of A More Serious Problem?
Yes, there are medical conditions that can cause female hair loss suddenly. For instance, hyperandrogenism is a condition wherein there is too much production of androgens or male hormones causing hair loss in affected women. The most common cause of this condition is polycystic ovary syndrome or ovarian hyperandrogenism.
It is crucial to treat* the underlying medical condition so if you suspect that this is the case, you need to consult your healthcare provider for the appropriate treatment.
Hair loss is usually a distressing problem not just for men but for women as well. If the hair loss is sudden and rapid, it may be caused by a medical or other condition so you need to consult your physician. If the problem runs in your family, there are several treatment options available including the use of natural hair growth products and supplements. In conclusion, hair loss in women is a common problem but fortunately there are many ways to deal with it.