Female Hair Loss
Hair loss in women causes, and treatment Nowadays, hair loss and thinning in women is common. Some time due to genetics or certain medical reasons like thyroid etc. Hair loss in women is observed. The question of what can cause hair loss in women attributes to many factors ranging from simple nutritional deficiencies, hormonal changes, or stress due to work or mental situation, etc.
The following section helps you to understand the phenomenon of loss of hair in women and ways to prevent hair loss.
Hair loss in females, these days is the most common problem. Female hair loss could be due to many reasons like nutritional deficiency, hereditary factors, stress, and medical condition like thyroid, hormonal changes during pregnancy and menopause, polycystic ovary syndrome , aging, etc.
Hair loss in women may result in emotional well being, as it impacts the self-image.
Causes of hair loss in females
Female hair loss can happen at any age and can be due to a variety of conditions and reasons.
Hair loss due to deficiencies
Hair loss due to deficiencies of iron, folic acid, Vit D3, Vit B12 is chiefly responsible for hair loss in females.
Stress and hair loss in women
Stress and hair loss in women: Both mental and physiological stress is increasingly becoming the main contributors to hair loss in working women.
Hormonal hair loss in women
Hormonal hair loss in women: Variation in hormonal levels in the female body has been found to be an important reason for hair loss in women. Various hormones that contribute to hormonal hair loss in women are thyroid hormones, estrogen, progesterone, FHS, LH, etc. Also, life-changing events like pregnancy or menopause can also contribute to hormonal imbalance in women which may contribute to temporary hair loss.
During pregnancy, childbirth or menopause can also contribute to hormonal imbalance in women which may contribute to temporary hair loss. Women are prone to mineral deficiencies and stress during pregnancy leading to hair loss.
Excessive and prolonged usage of certain shampoos, conditioners and hair styling products, and treatment like hot rollers, curling iron can cause hair loss and hair thinning. Excessive tight hairstyles, such as braids, buns, or ponytails can cause traction alopecia or hair loss.
Chronic illness and infection
Chronic illness and infection: High degree fever, Typhoid, Jaundice, for longer periods and Viral Diseases, etc. affects your immune system leading to loss and thinning of hair. Fungal infection of the scalp also causes localized hair loss.
Environmental factors: Washing your hair with hard water (contains a high amount of silica, magnesium, and calcium) or chemically treated water (swimming in chlorinated) causes dandruff and damage hair follicles or hair.
Medical problems: The commonest cause is a hypothyroid and polycystic ovarian disease.
Dandruff: Dandruff can cause itching to lead to the inflammatory scaly scalp resulting in hair loss.
Medication & treatments
- Certain drugs such as birth control pills, antidepressants, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, anticonvulsants, anabolic steroids or retinoids or chemotherapy can also cause hair thinning and extensive hair fall
- Radiation therapy to the head
Hence, it is important to identify the root cause of the hair loss problem and to correct it in time.
Female Pattern Hair loss
Female Pattern Baldness is an under-recognized entity. Pattern hair loss was wrongly thought to be a strictly male disorder, women contribute up to 40-50% of hair loss by the age of 50. Though symptoms are seen in their 30s and 40s itself. Female pattern baldness is the most common type of hair loss in women. It is a mainly hereditary pattern of hair loss and it most commonly is seen after menopause.
Women look attentively at hair as self-love, pleasure, and identity. Balding in women is often scary. Female pattern hair loss can be devastating may result in emotional well being, as it impacts the self-image. Hence, it is considered to be a common cosmetic and psychosocially distressing condition.
Female pattern baldness has a strong genetic predisposition, as it is commonly seen with a family history of baldness.
Though, sex hormones or androgens are linked to male traits but present in females also in less proportion. Androgens include testosterone, and its derivative is dihydrotestosterone /DHT are thought to be responsible for hair loss. The sex hormones are responsible for secondary sexual features such as axillary or pubic hair. But the same hormone has a reverse effect on the scalp in genetically prone to baldness.
As female pattern hair loss usually becomes visible after the menopause, when estrogen levels become low, suggesting that estrogen may have a restoring effect on hair. Though, the role of estrogens is undetermined.
Hence ageing and menopause play an important role.
Hormones have a role in hair growth cycle and hair loss, thus female pattern hair loss is also seen in conditions with hormonal imbalance such as
Polycystic ovarian cysts, menopause, use of birth control pills, androgen-secreting tumors, etc.
Signs and symptoms
Hair thinning is different from that of male pattern baldness. In female pattern baldness:
Hair thinning is more of a diffuse type of hair loss and looks less prominent, unlike men.
- Hair thins mainly on the top and crown of the scalp.
- It usually starts in the center hair part with widening.
- The front hairline remains unaffected except for normal recession, which happens to everyone as time passes.
The hair loss progresses gradually and unlike men, it can rarely progress to total or complete baldness.
Stages of female pattern baldness
There are different scales to measure hair loss in women. The two most commonly used are the Ludwig Scale and Savin Scale. Ludwig Scale measures only the overall thinning, Savin Scale measures overall thinning as well as the density in the hair.
Grade I: Hair is thinned out all over the scalp and parting gets wider.
Grade ll: Hair thinned out is obvious, look like lost almost half of your hair.
Grade lll: Almost 70% of hair thinned out and the scalp is easily visible.
Female pattern baldness is usually diagnosed based on:
- By ruling out the other causes of hair loss.
- The appearance of female pattern hair loss.
- Detailed medical history and
- Dermatologist examination to rule out the signs of virilism such as
Abnormal new hair growth at other body parts like face, chest
The appearance of new acne
A trichology test or skin biopsy or blood tests may be used to diagnose skin disorders that cause hair loss in some cases. Microscopy examination can be done to check the hair loss related to the structure of the hair shaft.
Hair loss in female pattern baldness is progressive without treatment and is permanent, if not treated. In most cases, hair loss is mild to moderate. The results are slow irrespective of medication and require patience. For a satisfactory result the condition to be assessed with the underlying causes, psychological effects, and the various interventional treatment available.
Minoxidil and supplementary vitamins, minerals and amino acid is the mainstay of treatment for hair loss in females. The topical application of Minoxidil increases blood flow to the scalp that helps to distribute nutrients to hair follicles, promoting hair growth in the affected area. Though, oral Finasteride is also used sometimes, which works by blocking the hormones- 5-alpha-reductase in the body which is responsible for hair loss. Low dose oral contraceptives are given in polycystic ovarian disease.
Other than finasteride and minoxidil medicine there are various procedures like mesotherapy, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy , micro-needling (derma roller) , low-level laser light therapy (LLLT) to treat hair loss. As early and right intervention during the affected growth hair cycle can slow or stop the male-pattern hair loss
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP)
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy for hair loss, involves the infiltration of concentrated growth factors, which are extracted from the blood of the patient and then transferred back to the scalp of the same patient.
Micro-needle therapy: During the micro-needling for hair loss treatment, thousands of tiny holes are created in the patient’s scalp with the help of a derma roller. These tiny holes result in the release of intrinsic growth factors at that site to stimulate hair growth. Micro-needling increases the blood circulation and helps for quick absorption of medicine such as minoxidil or finasteride or serum. Hence it works as a very effective supportive treatment.
Low-level laser light therapy (LLLT)
Low-level laser light therapy (LLLT): Here the non-coherent light sources consisting of filtered lamps or light-emitting diodes (LED) are delivered to the hair to stimulate the hair follicles for faster growth. LLLT for hair loss emits the wavelength of infrared light is 630-670 nanometres. This treatment is approved by the US FDA for hair loss problems.
Mesotherapy: Here the growth peptides, stem cell extract, minoxidil, and various other growth factors are delivered locally to our hair with a special mechanical meso-gun.
However, all these interventional procedures along with medical treatment can provide excellent results in female-pattern hair loss provided the patient to follow regularly.
Surgical restoration can be done in select patients, though it is more uncommon than in men. Hair transplantation is a procedure where the permanent hair follicles from the back and sides of the head (donor area) are relocated at the thinning or balding areas of the scalp (receipt area). This is a lifelong sustaining process because the hair follicles taken from the back of the head are genetically resistant to baldness, regardless of where they are relocated to. This is the most sought after procedure today to regain one’s lost hair.