Hair Loss in Women: Causes, Treatment, & Prevention

Humans typically lose 50 to 100 single hairs per day. Some hairs fall off while others grow in, maintaining a natural equilibrium. Women who have sudden, significant hair loss are said to be experiencing hair loss. Hair loss occurs when the hair cycle's delicate equilibrium is upset, or when less hair grows than usual. Shedding of hair is not the same as hair loss. Alopecia is the scientific name for hair loss.

Types of Women's Hair Loss 

There are three types of hair loss that women may experience: 

  • Anagen effluvium1 is brought on by drugs like chemotherapy that harm a hair follicle as it grows.

  • More hair follicles entering the telogen phase2, which is when hair starts to fall out, causes telogen effluvium to form.

  • Androgenetic alopecia, often known as baldness or female pattern hair loss (FPHL)3, is the most common kind. At the top of the head and on the sides, the hair gets thinner. 

Risk Factors of Women’s Hair Loss 

Hair loss can happen to every woman. However, it is more typical in those who:

  • Are above 40

  • Recently gave birth

  • Undergo chemotherapy 

  • Have taken other drugs and experienced side effects

  • Frequently wear their hair in tight braids or ponytails 

  • Use harsh chemicals on their hair4

  • In menopause5

Causes of Hair Loss in Women 

Hair loss in women can happen due to a variety of causes. These may include the following: 

  • If you wear your hair in tight ponytails, cornrows, braids, or other arrangements that pull on your roots, you could have hair loss, known as traction alopecia. Damaged hair follicles can result in permanent loss.

  • Deficiency in vitamins

  • Fast weight loss through dieting7

  • Restrictive diets8

  • Broken hair on the scalp from overprocessing

Anagen effluvium is mainly caused by toxic substances. Examples of these could include radiation therapy or chemotherapy. 

Telogen effluvium is usually caused by extreme physical strain or trauma to the body, including extreme weight loss, surgery, anemia, illness, and having a baby. Extreme emotional strain can also cause telogen effluvium. Telogen effluvium can also occur as a side effect of some medications. Hormonal changes, especially when taking birth control pills, going through menopause, and being pregnant can lead to this type of hair loss, too. 

Female pattern hair loss is mainly caused by genes, hormonal changes, and menopause. 

Treatments of Hair Loss in Women 

The type of treatment you receive depends depend on the reason of your hair loss. When stress or hormonal changes, such as those that occur during pregnancy, are the cause of the loss, therapy may not be necessary. The hair loss will stop after a while.

Some treatment options include the following: 

  • When therapy is required, it could entail staying away from behaviors like wearing tight braids or ponytails or using specific chemicals that may have caused the damage. 

  • In cases when there are nutritional deficiencies, you may be told to take supplements. For example, you could be told to take a multivitamin and three to five milligrams of biotin per day.

  • A medication called minoxidil9 (Regaine®) can be used to treat female pattern hair loss. The product must be used precisely and consistently as per the instructions. 

  • Hair transplant surgery is an additional option. Small fragments of the scalp with hair follicles are cut out from the back of the head and inserted into incisions in the bald regions. With this procedure, it is possible to experience typical surgical risks such as an infection, folliculitis, and shock loss, in which the hair comes out at the transplant site. If the bald areas are large, it could be difficult to find enough hair for a transplant. 

  • Additionally, injections of protein-rich plasma (PRP)10 have been used to encourage hair growth. Patient blood is frequently used to make PRP. The platelets are isolated, gathered, and then returned to the blood for injection.

  • Scalp micro-needling11 with and without the use of minoxidil can also be an option for treatment. 

Prevention of Hair Loss in Women 

It is hard to stop hair loss whether it is brought on by ailments, aging, genetic factors, or physical stresses like traumas. You may halt hair loss caused on by harsh chemicals or tight haircuts by avoiding them. You might be able to stop some hair loss by eating a healthy diet that includes the necessary components in the form of vitamins, minerals, and protein. 

In conclusion, while hair loss in and of itself is not hazardous, women who experience hair loss frequently experience great emotional distress about these changes. Self-esteem and social lives may be impacted by these unfavorable emotions.  Know that you have options for treatments and that knowledgeable dermatologists are available to assist you. There may be a way to stop losing your hair; starting treatment sooner than later is ideal.