Female Hair Loss

Understanding hair loss for women

For women, hair loss is a scary thing—while it's considered normal for men to lose their hair, balding and significant hair loss are not normal conditions for women. While some cases of hair loss for women can be attributed to genetics or body chemistry, hair loss may also be a sign of an underlying medical issue that should be investigated.

Many women who experience hair loss are self-conscious about their appearance. Fortunately, depending on the cause of the hair loss, there are treatment options that can be pursued to help repair or restore hair and undo the damage caused by hair loss.

Causes of Female Hair Loss

There are many causes of female hair loss, though many women are not aware of them. It's important to speak to your doctor if you notice signs of significant hair loss. Possible causes may include:

  • Female pattern baldness. The causes of female pattern baldness (also known as female pattern hair loss) are the same as those of male pattern baldness—namely, a hormonal trigger that affects hair follicles, causing slower hair growth or a stoppage altogether.
  • Hair loss after pregnancy. During pregnancy and after giving birth, many women experience a significant change in their hormone levels that can lead to hair loss. Fortunately, this hair loss is temporary, and new hair will have already started to grow in as the old hair is falling out.
  • Medical conditions. In women, hair loss is a symptom of many serious medical conditions, such as polycystic ovary syndrome or a thyroid condition. These often go undetected until the hair loss begins—in fact, many women cite thyroid hair loss as the symptom that brought them to their doctor for diagnosis.

Female Hair Loss Treatment Options

Hair loss treatment for women will depend on the cause. In cases of female pattern baldness, there are no actual cures, but there are treatment options. Certain medications, such as Minoxidil or spironolactone, have been known to stimulate hair growth in some women. A hair transplant, which involves grafting hair from thicker areas onto the balding areas, is another treatment option.

With hair loss after pregnancy, the only treatment is time, as this condition will reverse itself. You may also wish to try vitamins and supplements that help build stronger, healthier hair, but be sure to talk to your doctor before starting on a treatment plan, particularly if you are breastfeeding. For hair loss due to medical conditions, treating the condition is often enough to reverse the hair loss effects.

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