A popular misconception is that only men suffer from hair loss. A related fallacy is that only a very small percentage of women experience hair loss. Both assertions are not true; it is estimated that six out of ten women will undergo some degree of hair loss. This process is even more devastating for women because it seems that it is not as prevalent (as hair loss in men) and a woman’s beauty is closely tied in with lustrous, full-looking hair.
Probably one of the most traumatic experiences that can affect a woman is losing her hair. Baldness occurs when hairs begin to fall out (which is normal- about 100-150 per day), but do not grow back. Science is still tackling with exact reasons for the start of the process, but we know that genetic predisposition, aging, and diet are closely (if not directly) related.
Reasons for Hair Loss
Genetic hair loss and increased shedding (chronic telogen effluvium) is responsible for the majority of hair loss grievances by women (up to 95% before menopause). Unlike men, women are more likely to experience thinning from behind the front hairline to the crown.
There are two types of hair loss: telogen effluvium and anagen effluvium. The latter is due to medications or processes such as chemotherapy. The former is due to an abnormal number of hair follicles being in the resting stage. The following are reasons for telogen effluvium:
– Stress on the body due to surgery, illness, anemia, rapid change in weight, etc.
– Stress on the mind due to mental illness, death, depression, etc.
– Thyroid abnormalities
– Medications such as high doses of Vitamin A, blood pressure pills, gout medications, etc.
– Hormonal causes such as birth control pills, pregnancy, and menopause
The following could be reasons for temporary hair loss:
– Too little protein or iron in the diet
– Alopecia areata
– Traumatic stress or illness
When these above causes are remedied, a return of normal hair growth will follow.
A good, healthy, and well-balanced diet contributes to voluminous hair. Large amounts of vitamin A should be avoided. Protein and iron rich foods will contribute to healthy hair. Vegetarians and Vegans often may be targets for hair loss because of their modified diets. Protein, iron, and zinc supplements should be ingested on a daily basis if you are a vegan or vegetarian.
Physical and Emotional Stress
Undergoing severe illness and emotional stress can contribute to hair loss. The body begins to break down and normal functioning is altered. The body knows that hair production is not vital to survival, so it will devote its energies elsewhere and in effect create hair loss. In most cases there is a three month delay between an event and the advent of hair loss. It may take up to three months for hair to grow back after the resolution of a traumatic event.
Health conditions such as anemia, low blood count, and thyroid abnormalities attribute to hair loss. These conditions can be combated and can easily be indicated by a blood test.
Hormonal changes can cause hair loss in women. Pregnancy and the discontinuation of birth control pills can cause hair loss. When a woman is pregnant their levels of the hormone progesterone becomes high and causes hair to be in a dormant state. When hormone levels re-balance, the woman will experience re-growth of the hair. Ironically, when a woman undergoes restoration, she will see a great deal of hair falling out. This is the dormant hair being replaced by healthier, fuller hair.
– A well balanced diet including foods high in protein and iron
– Regular doctor check ups
– Counseling for stress (especially after a traumatic event)
– Hair weaves, changing hair style, and or wigs.
– Hair transplants
– Minoxidil (Rogaine)
The good news is that if you are experiencing hair loss, most likely the cause can be remedied. It is up to each woman to take care of herself and be proactive to fight hair loss. Because it takes some time to overcome and re-grow hair after many of the instances of hair loss, finding a great looking wig is suggested, so that you will not experience a lack of confidence and cause more stress (which is bad for the hair) while your hair is growing back.