Many people, especially women take great pride in the hair. As a result, they will do everything possible to ensure that their hair remains in a healthy condition. Even though hair loss is devastating, it’s still a common problem among women. It’s estimated that around 50 percent of women aged 65 years and above experience hair loss
However, losing some hair daily is completely natural. It is a sign that the body is growing healthy hair to replace the old ones. As a matter of fact, losing up to 100 hairs daily is normal. You can also get a rough idea of what’s normal for you by paying close attention to what you normally see in your shower drain or brush.
There are many types of hair loss. Some types like genetic andogenetic alopecia are irreversible and well out of your control. However, others like telogen effluvium can be fixed. If you have noticed that your hair is falling out more often than usual, looks thin or seems to be growing slowly, here are some of the things that could be causing hair loss.
- Anagen Effluvium
Anagen effluvium occurs after an insult to hair follicles which impairs its metabolic or mitotic activity. The hair loss is mostly associated with chemotherapy. Since chemotherapy normally targets the body’s rapidly dividing cancer cells, the other rapidly dividing cells in the body such as the hair follicles in the anagen (growing) are also affected. Soon after chemotherapy starts, approximately 90% or more of women hairs can fall out during the anagen phase.
The characteristic findings in anagen effluvium are the tapered fractures of hair shafts. The hair shaft starts to narrow due to damages to the matrix. In the long run, the hair shaft fractures and in turn causes loss of hair in women.
- Telogen Effluvium
When the body goes through traumatic experiences like child birth, a severe infection, malnutrition, extreme stress or major surgery, many of the hair in the growing phase or resting phase can shift into the shedding phase. Telogen effluvium phenomenon begins about six weeks to 3 months after the stressful event. It’s possible to lose a lot of hair during this period. For most people who suffer with Telogen Effluvium, complete remission is possible provided that severely stressful events are avoided. However, for some women, telogen effluvium becomes a mysterious chronic disorder and it can persist for several months or years without any clear understanding of stressors or triggering factors.
During pregnancy, a lot of women notice their hair goes into a rapid growth mode. During this period, all things are in a grow phase. As such, there are surges of hormones [estrogen]which makes the hair to grow. Since the growth of hair lasts longer, normal hair shedding doesn’t occur. Once the estrogen levels go back to normal status after delivery, the hair resumes its normal growth cycle and it starts to shed off all that thick and luscious hair that had accumulated over the past 10 months. Some women usually experience mild shedding while others experience intense hair shedding for a several months.
- Female Patterns Hair Loss
One of the main causes of loss of hair is the Female Patterns Hair Loss, commonly known as FPHL. It’s also referred to as androgenetic alopecia. FPHL is easily noticeable as the hair thins on the top part of your head, and also in the crown part of the scalp. Most women notice this particular change when a widening develops at the centre part. Unlike most men, women usually keep their hairlines and they don’t lose the whole head of their hair as it’s the case with men. If you think that you’re suffering from FPHL, it is important that you discuss your options together with healthcare professionals. Your hairdresser might be the first individual to will notice such changes. As such, it’s also important that you talk to the hairdresser anytime you’re in the salon. They might be able to offer you valuable tricks and tips on how you can style the thinning hair.
- Thyroid Problems
Women who generally have low levels of thyroid are at risk of suffering from the thyroid-related loss of hair. This is a hormone that’s responsible for heart rate, mood of your body and the body metabolism. Women with low levels of thyroids might have unexplained fatigue, depression, hair loss and weight gain. Thyroid medications and proper diet/exercise can help to cure this condition.
Other notable symptoms of the thyroid conditions include weight gain, increased sensitivity to a cold weather, fatigue, dry skin, constipation, muscle weakness and hoarse voice.
- Dandruff or scalp psoriasis
When the skin on your scalp is itchy and inflamed, and you scratch it frequently, your hair might start shedding more than usual. Dandruffs are the most easily treated cause of hair loss because you can always treat it with zinc pyrithione shampoos. Consistency is the trick here. It’s therefore important to find a conditioner and shampoo that you like. Similarly, visiting a dermatologist to treat psoriasis and restore the scalp’s health will get the hair growing back normally.
Treatment for Hair Loss Among Women
The only over-the-counter drugs approved by the FDA for female patterns hair loss is minoxidil (commonly known as Theroxidil or Rogaine). This is a topical treatment that helps slow down or stop loss of hair in women. The medication can also produce some new growth of hair in some women.
The key is treating hair loss is detecting the signs early, so that you can intervene with the potential treatments during the early stages when you can minimize the effects. Remember, most hair loss conditions are actually treatable and most cases of increased hair shedding will resolve gradually on their own without any treatment. However, if your hair does not return to its normal fullness after 6 to 9 months, ensure that you see a doctor for evaluation so as to find out whether something else is going on.