Thinning Hair and Hair Loss: Could it be Female Pattern Hair Loss?

Hair fall is normal, we lose about 80-100 hair a day. They are replaced by new once soon after. But if you see abnormal hair fall, this is an alarming sign.

Like men, women too have hair fall. But not the exact same way as men does. The term used for this is female pattern hair loss. The fallen hair is not replaced unless treatments are sought.

Men have partial or complete hair loss that starts in their late teens. The time and pattern of hair loss varies person to person. But it all ends up in them going bald.

Here we will be talking about female hair loss and what can be done to prevent it.

What is Female Pattern Hair Loss?

This particular type of hair loss affects women only. The medical term for this is androgenic alopecia. Like we said, both men and women have hair fall but not in the same way.

Men with hair loss start with receding hair line and bald spots on their heads. Then it starts spreading and eventually they go bald. Women with hair fall have thinning and reduced hair volume. It starts in their late 40s when they have menopause and other hormonal changes.

Women are a lot less likely to have hair loss compared to men. Statistically only 20% of the total female population face this issue. 80% women have a head full of hair their whole lives.

Genetics and Female Pattern Hair Loss

The foremost and obvious reason for hair loss is genetics. The problem runs in the family and is passed on to the next generation. The genes for hair loss comes from parents and grand-parents.

Males are the primary targets and can start losing hair as early as 18 years old. Hair loss tends to be more common as a woman ages and reaches midlife. Although in some cases it can begin earlier. The conditions vary with every individual.

Hormonal changes and imbalance can lead to this.

Reasons for Hair Loss

For long time heredity, genetics and hormones were the only considerable justification for hair loss. Over time, research showed that there are other factors and underlying conditions that play their part in their own way. Androgens are hormones that play a key role in baldness.

Causes of hair loss in women include

Diseases:

There are diseases that affect hair and cause them to fall. For example Alopecia Universalis, Alopecia Areata, Telogen Effluvium, Pityriasis Amiantacea and many many more. All of them have their own effects with the same basic agenda.

Medicines:

Some medicines like those given to cancer patients, target bad cells. Unfortunately their target also includes the hair follicles. Thus hair loss is the side effect. Radiation and chemotherapy have the same effects. But hair normally grows back once the treatment sessions are over.

Traction Alopecia:

This is not a disease; rather it is when hair falls because of physical and chemical factors. Tying your hair too tight for too long can cause follicles to lose their grip on hair strands. Excess styling, heating and use of chemical based products does the same.

Other reasons for hair loss are

Post Childbirth Hair Loss

While you are pregnant, your body produces more estrogen. And testosterone levels are very low. This is the time you have thicker and more volume of hair. Your skin feels radiant and glowing too.

After you have your baby, the estrogen levels drop suddenly and the extra hair you had, fall off. Sometimes more hair fall for the next 8-12 months until your body system becomes regular again.

But not to worry, this is a temporary phase. With time, the DHT levels drop to low and your own hormones increase. Doctors will recommend a diet plan with extra supplements to help you get back on track.

Menopause

This happens in your late 40s when your menstrual cycle is going to stop permanently. And before that happens there is a phase of irregularities in hormones. Symptoms like hot flashes, fatigue and other complex bio-chemical reactions happen.

It is also when the body almost stops producing estrogen. This gives rice to the testosterone (previously in less quantity). That converts into DHT and inhibits the hair follicles.

Treatments for Female Pattern Hair Loss

There are some treatments available for this problem. Continuous medications can help you keep your hair. Since there is no cure, if you stop at any point, the progress will reverse. Here are some options available.

1) Minoxidil

This is a topical medicine that can be used by both men and women. The formula is to be applied on the affected area every day to keep stimulating hair follicles and prevent thinning.

It takes 60-90 days for it to show any effects. And about 6 months till the progress is evident. Some women have reported to feel slight itching and dryness in the area they apply it on. But don’t worry, it is just the alcohol that is added for anti-septic purposes.

2) Diet Change

We all heard the phrase “you are what you eat”. This implies that if you eat healthier food, the results will be good. Being a picky eater can cause more problems than some people assume it will solve.

You need balanced quantity of all essential nutrients and minerals. This will keep you healthy and your hair growing actively. Eat a diet that is more rich in zinc, iron, proteins, biotin and vitamins A,B,C and E.

3) Use Essential Oils

Probably the best way to make your hair healthy again is to start using natural oils. They are inexpensive, easily available and very effective in use. Try using olive/almond/mustard/coconut/jojoba/argon oil for your weekly hair care routine.

Any one of these can be used. The best part is you can combine two or three of your preferred oils and get multiple benefits at the same time. Just massage your hair and scalp with oil three times a week, leave it on overnight and wash in the morning.

The oils will deliver minerals and vitamins to your hair topically and keep them healthy.

4) Stop Poisoning your Hair

By this we mean you should stop using shampoos that are made of harmful chemicals. Some damage causing chemicals are parabens, DEA, SLS and sulfates. Other compounds include artificial smell, lather and thickness adders.

They may make the shampoos lathery and fruit scented, but that is harmful for your hair and skin. Opt for herbal shampoos made of fruit and vegetable extract that actually help clean your hair without stripping away their natural oil, moisture and health.

Conclusion

Women affected with female pattern hair loss can feel distressed and have self-confidence issues. Women who have excessive hair loss should talk with their doctor. They can help determine the cause and best treatment options available.

And it is not just the treatments; you have to make changes to your diet and routine. This will help you maintain your progress and you get to keep your hair longer.

 

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