Losing your hair can cause you to lose your confidence. It is hard to feel confident around others when you are self-conscious about your thinning hair or thinning edges. You may feel that they are staring at you even though this may not be the case. Hair loss is a common problem many people face the world over.
Androgenetic alopecia is a form of hair loss that is genetic and is passed from one generation to another and experts consider it to be inevitable. If you don’t have androgenetic alopecia in your family and are suffering from hair loss you need to be proactive and figure out the cause of your hair loss in order to find a solution.
What are the most common causes of hair loss in women?
Conditions such as diseases, stress, certain medications, family genes (mentioned earlier), hormonal imbalances and improper care of your hair are all causes of hair loss. If you do not pay close attention to the signs and symptoms of hair loss you may continue to make the problem worse. If you think you may be suffering from hair loss, then take note of the number of hair strands you are losing on a daily basis.
It is normal to lose up to 100 strands a day according to medical experts. This is normal because new strands of hair are expected to grow within 12 weeks of each strand of hair falling out. If you are losing more than 100 strands a day then you must address the issue, firstly by considering what could be causing your hair to fall out at a higher rate.
- Diseases and medical conditions – Illnesses such as lupus, diabetes or hormonal disorders can affect the growth of hair. Having an underactive or overactive thyroid gland then you are likely to suffer from hair loss. This form of hair loss can be overcome when the thyroid disorder is treated. Hair loss can also occur when androgens, which are male hormones or oestrogens, which are female hormones, are out of balance. Luckily the imbalance can be treated clinically.
- Medications – certain medications like anticoagulants, also called blood thinners, medication used in chemotherapy, medication for gout, excessive consumption of vitamin A, birth control pills, arthritis, anti depressants and heart problems have side effects that could cause hair loss. Other medicines like isotretinoin and lithium and other diet pills that contain amphetamines are also known to cause hair loss. This is especially true when it comes to patients in their teens. Some of the hair loss problems may improve once the medication is discontinued.
- Post pregnancy hair loss – women who’ve had a baby may experience hair loss within 3 to 6 months after having their baby. This is commonly referred to as “post-partum hair loss”. This form of hair loss is related to hormones because during pregnancy, higher levels of some hormones make the body keep hair that would usually have fallen out. When the hormones return to their original levels before pregnancy, the hair that should have fallen out is shed and the ordinary or typical growth and shedding cycle is resumed.
- Poor nutrition – consuming a diet without appropriate levels of protein and iron may result in hair loss. These two nutrients are very important components that help hair grow. Hair loss due to inadequate nutrition is common among women because women are more likely to be the ones who try out new fad diets, which don’t contain all the nutrients, our bodies require to function properly. This of course isn’t to say that men can’t lose their hair because of poor nutrition.
- Medical treatments – such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy kill the hair from the follicles and could even lead to “alopecia” which could result in permanent hair loss.
- Fungal infections – especially on the scalp of children could lead to hair loss. These types of infections can usually be treated with anti fungal medication, which should clear up the problem pretty quickly.
- Pattern baldness – this form of hair loss is hereditary in both men and women. The medical term for it is androgenetic alopecia and it can be inherited from either parents’ side of the family. There is no full proof cure for androgenetic alopecia but there are hair loss product ranges on the market that can help with the condition.
- The stress factor – going through a stressful period or experience could cause hair loss even up to three months after the stressful event. Traumatic events, physical or mental can lead to hair loss diseases like telogen effluvium and alopecia areata. Telogen effluvium causes the hair to stop growing, falling out after only a period of two to three months. The hair that has fallen out can then take up to nine months to grow.Alopecia areata on the other hand causes hair to fall out within weeks. Alopecia areata is known for causing the hair to fall out leaving smooth round patches on the scalp. It can affect the whole scalp and body. With these conditions the amount of hair shed can reach up to four thousand hairs a day!
- Traction alopecia – is common amongst women who regularly wear hair extensions (weaves, Brazilian knots, fusion extensions included), tight braids, tightly pulled back ponytails and cornrows. With these tight hair styles the hair is more or less pulled out of the hair follicle due to all the tension applied to the hair.The body is able to regrow the hair that is pulled out, but when done repeatedly over a period of time the follicle stops re-growing the pulled out hair and ends up clogged with scar tissue leaving a permanently bald patch. Traction alopecia occurs frequently amongst certain ethnicities due to their hair styling choices. Black, Japanese women and Sikh men experience this form of hair loss more often than most other people.