Every girl loves to have long, thick and shiny hair. So when hair begins to fall out in clumps for no apparent reason, it becomes an important cause of concern for almost all women. But worrying about hair fall will merely cause an increase in stress levels which in turn triggers further hair loss.
Phases of Hair Growth
Although both men and women suffer from hair loss the reasons for losing hair are completely different in men and women. There are three stages in the growth cycle of human hair. These are anagen, catagen and telogen. The growth or active phase is called anagen. The stage where the hair begins to break down is called the catagen phase. Finally the resting phase in the hair growth cycle is called the telogen stage. At any given time, almost ten percent of all the hair on the scalp is in a telogen or resting phase. Hair strands in the telogen phase are the ones which normally fall.
Hair Loss in Women
Every day most women will shed up to 150 strands of hair. Diet and disease are not the only causes for hair loss. Ageing, family history and genetics also play an equally important role in determining hair loss in women. Generally women start losing quite a quite a bit of hair after they cross thirty. However most hair loss is just cyclic shedding which should not cause any undue concern.
Let us examine some of the common causes of hair loss in women.
Hair disorders like androgenetic alopecia, cicatricial alopecia and alopecia areata can cause excessive hair loss in women.
Androgenetic Alopecia or Pattern Baldness
Heredity is a key factor which determines hair fall in androgenetic alopecia or androgenic alopecia. Both men and women suffer from this hair loss condition which is also known as male pattern and female pattern baldness. Androgentic alopecia is more common among men than women. However women who have a family history of androgenetic alopecia are more likely to suffer from female pattern balding. Heredity normally determines the pattern, speed and extent of baldness.
Women suffer from androgenic alopecia because of the excessive amounts of male hormone androgen which are present in their system. Polycystic ovarian syndrome and congenital adrenal hyperplasia are the other factors which are responsible for androgenetic alopecia in women.
Cicatricial Alopecia or Scarring Alopecia
Cicatricial alopecia can result in permanent hair loss. In this type of hair loss, certain rare disorders can destroy the hair follicle. The destroyed hair follicle is replaced with scar tissue. This prevents the re growth of hair follicles. Some skin conditions which can cause cicatricial alopecia are lichen planus and lupus erythematosus. The areas of the scalp which are affected by this condition will show slight inflammation, followed by redness, scaling and formation of small
Genetic factors and autoimmune disorders are the most likely factors responsible for causing alopecia areata. Normally the hair falls in a particular pattern or to form bald spot which is oval or round in shape. In alopecia areata, a person begins to lose hair very rapidly. The different types of alopecia areata are alopecia areata monolocularis, alopecia areata multilocularis, alopecia areata totalis, alopecia areata universalis and alopecia areta barbae and traction alopecia.
Many diseases can also cause excessive hair loss in women.
Thyroid and Hair Loss
Women who may be suffering from either hypo or hyper thyroidism often notice excessive hair loss. This is because the nutrients which are meant for hair growth are redirected to other parts of the body. In most cases hair loss caused by thyroid problems can be checked by treating the thyroid condition first.
Anemia and Hair Loss
Iron deficiency anemia is another factor which causes excessive hair loss in women. Most women in their reproductive years suffer from hair loss because of low iron levels in the body which gives rise to anemia. Hair loss caused by anemia can be reversed by eating a diet that is rich in iron.
The most common scalp infection which can cause excessive hair loss is ringworm infection. This is a fungal infection which affects the scalp. A contagious disease, ringworm infection can cause scaling and severe loss which can result in balding. Oral and topical antifungal medications can treat this problem successfully.
Cancer and Hair Loss
Certain types of cancer treatment like radiation therapy and chemotherapy can cause the hair to fall out in clumps. In fact a person who is undergoing cancer treatment may lose hair completely from the scalp. However once the treatment stops the hair grows backs normally.
Trichotillomania and Hair Loss
A type of mental disorder which is characterized by the urge to pull out hair not only from the scalp, but even from the eyebrows, eyelashes, nose hair and body hair, trichotillomania can lead to severe hair loss. This is mostly an impulse control disorder. Stress and Fluctuating hormone levels are also responsible for excessive hair fall in women.
Stress and Hair Loss
Most women who go through some stressful situation in their life like childbirth, divorce, change of job, economic problems also experience an increase in hair fall. Any physical stress like undergoing surgery, childbirth, severe infection can also lead to excessive hair fall.
Hormonal Fluctuations and Hair Loss
Fluctuating hormonal levels due to childbirth, pregnancy, menopause, extended usage of birth control pills, and thyroid problems can all lead to hair loss in women. Hormonal fluctuations are normally followed by severe hair loss. However once the hormonal imbalances are corrected, the hair will begin to grow back again. It has been noticed that hair normally takes up to three months to re-grow following a change in the hormonal levels of the body. Sudden change in ones diet pattern can lead to hair fall.
Diet and Hair Loss
A diet that is low in iron and proteins can lead to excessive hair loss. Similarly people who consume too much vitamin A supplements may also notice a sudden increase in hair fall. Sudden weight loss caused by extreme dieting and even certain eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia can also result in too much hair loss.
Hair Care and Hair Loss
Excessive usage of hair styling products, certain hairstyles and vigorous grooming can all lead to hair loss in women.