What are the Reasons for Hair Loss in Women?

Hair Loss

Losing some amount of hair on day-to-day basis is completely natural. But when you are losing a lot of hair, it can be difficult to figure out the exact factors responsible for it. Hair loss (alopecia) can not only affect your scalp, but your entire body. The condition can be temporary and permanent. Minor hair loss is usually just a sign that your body is growing new, healthy ones to replace the old. In fact, losing up to 100 hairs per day is completely normal, and is often a normal part of aging. However, sudden and excessive hair loss is a concern for many women. Figuring out the exact causes for this phenomenon can be tricky as there are several factors associated with it. For instance, hereditary hair loss cannot be fully controlled. But, others like temporary hair shedding can be managed or even reversed if caught early. Some women experience sudden shedding while in others, hair loss may become progressively noticeable over time.

If your hair is falling out more than usual, looks thinner, or seems to be growing more slowly, it could be due to one or more of the following reasons –

  • Genetics – People of all genders are susceptible to hereditary hair loss. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), the hair loss in women, is usually concentrated at the crown of the head. Although hair loss occurring due to genetics cannot be completely prevented, the right treatment can slow it down and make hair stay fuller longer.
  • Hormonal Imbalances – Hormonal imbalances are the most common cause of hair loss in women. Androgens (excess male hormones) play a role in female pattern baldness. Androgens can cause weak hair follicles, also leading to excess shedding. In fact, androgen sensitivities may be exacerbated during estrogen-related changes, such as use of birth control and menopause.
  • Thyroid Problems – Thyroid hormones (either an underactive thyroid or an overactive thyroid) can result in hair loss. Thyroid hormones help regulate nearly every function in the body, including hair growth. Hence, the right treatment to control either of these thyroid conditions will get hormones under control, stop hair loss, and promote hair regrowth.
  • Childbirth – Wildly fluctuating hormones can occur following pregnancy and childbirth. Postpartum hair loss is common and affects 40 to 50 percent of women who have recently given birth. As estrogen levels shoot up during pregnancy, it can temporarily alter your hair growth cycles – high levels of estrogen result in thicker hair, but when they drop, hair will thin out.
  • Nutritional Deficiencies – Maintaining healthy hair depends on solid nutrition. Deficiencies in iron, zinc, vitamin B3 (niacin), and protein have all been linked to various types of hair loss. Nutritional deficiencies can be treated with prescription supplements.
  • Use of Certain Medications – According to the American Hair Loss Association, hair loss can be caused as a side effect of a number of medications taken for common health problems. Use of blood-thinning medications, oral contraceptives, drugs for depression, anti-inflammatories, and beta and calcium channel blockers can all lead to hair loss. Too much vitamin A and vitamin A–based drugs (called retinoids) can cause hair loss as well. In addition, chemotherapy drugs used to treat cancer can also cause total hair loss.
  • Autoimmune Diseases – Autoimmune conditions make the body recognize its own hair follicles as foreign, attacks them and makes hair fall out. Alopecia areata is just one of many types of autoimmune diseases in which the immune system attacks the hair follicles. These conditions can be serious and require an accurate diagnosis from an experienced health care provider.
  • Dandruff or Scalp Psoriasis – Dandruff is the most important causes of hair loss. Inflammation and itchiness in the scalp may cause your hair to shed more than usual.

Most cases of increased hair fall will gradually resolve on their own without any treatment. If you notice extreme thinning, there are several ways to make it appear fuller and simultaneously help prevent more hair loss or breakage. Not over-washing your hair, and using conditioner after shampooing and hair masks for deep conditioning can help prevent hair loss. However, if your hair doesn’t return to its normal fullness within nine months, it is important to see a physician for a detailed evaluation to find out whether the problem is due to any underlying condition.