Causes & Treatments for Hair Loss in Women
Hair loss in women can be more common than you might think, and finding the causes of hair loss can be frustrating. There are many treatment options available for thinning hair and loss of hair, and finding the right one is getting easier.
A full head of hair is valued and cherished by both men and women. When the subject of hair loss comes up, it is often associated only with men, but women are prone to it as well. According to the American Hair Loss Association, women make up approximately 40% of hair loss sufferers in America.
A condition known as androgenetic alopecia is a common cause of hair loss in women. This condition is also called female pattern baldness. When this takes place, hair is lost all over the whole scalp in what is called "diffuse thinning." This hair loss occurs from an overabundance of androgens, male hormones, in the system.
Women who wear their pulled back all the time may experience hair loss in what is called "traction alopecia." The constant tension causes stress on the hair follicles which in turn leads to hair falling out. If it is caught in time, the hair can regrow normally. Some specific styles that can cause this are corn rows, braids, hair extensions and ponytails.
Prescription medications are used to treat specific symptoms that are brought on by a disease or illness. They may be good at treating the disease, but they can come with side effects such as hair loss. A few examples of these medications are warfarin, heparin, colchicines, dilantin, prednisone, lithium, Prozac and Inderal. Street drugs such as cocaine can also lead to hair loss.
High androgen birth control pills are used to avoid conception by blocking ovulation. They are generally effective at doing this but they can cause hair loss because of the disruption in the female hormones estrogen and progestin. The hair loss that is seen can occur while taking the pill and it can linger for a few months after oral contraception has been stopped. Examples of birth control pills that can cause hair loss are Desogen, Ortho Tri-Cyclen, Nordette, Ovrette and Ortho Novum.
Minoxidil is a FDA-approved substance applied directly to the scalp in the form of a foam or solution. It is used to stop hair loss and promote circulation which can actually regrow hair. A common product that has minoxidil is Rogaine. It was first designed for men, but there is a women's version available as well.
Spironolactone is a potassium sparing water pill which reduces the amount of water in the body. It also helps treat swelling, high blood pressure and a hormonal disorder called hyperaldosteronism. It aids in hair loss because it stops the production of androgens in the ovaries and adrenal glands.
Follicular unit transplantation is another treatment option for hair loss. In this procedure, little units of hair called "grafts" are uprooted from the scalp and transplanted into areas where hair loss has occurred.