Yes, women experience thinning hair, too!
Many people think of hair loss as a male problem, but thinning hair and bald patches are surprisingly common in women. And, there can be a number of different underlying causes for the problem. I read in a Harvard Heath Publishing article written by Kelly Bilodeau Executive Editor, Harvard Women’s Health Watch that Dr. Deborah Scott, assistant professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School and co-director of the Hair Loss Clinic at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, says “Some are associated with inflammation in the body. Some are female-pattern hair loss.”
People typically lose 50 to 100 hairs a day. Usually this loss isn’t noticeable because new hair is growing in at the same rate. Hair loss occurs when new hair doesn’t replace the hair that has fallen out. The medical term for this condition is anagen effluvium.
According to AAD, the most common causes of hair loss include:
- Hereditary hair loss
- Immune system overreacts
- Some drugs and treatments
- Hairstyles that pull on the hair
- Harsh hair-care products
- Compulsion to pull out one’s hair
The good news is that sometimes hair loss can be stabilized or even reversed with treatment. There are as many treatment options as there are causes and the one that is right for you depends on the underlying cause of your hair loss. Sometimes, when the cause is a medical condition, simply treating the condition causing the hair loss will be enough get the hair to regrow.
These tips from the Mayo Clinic may help you avoid preventable types of hair loss:
- Be gentle with your hair.
- Use a detangler and avoid tugging when brushing and combing, especially when your hair is wet.
- Avoid harsh treatments such as hot rollers, curling irons, hot-oil treatments and permanents.
- Limit the tension on hair from styles that use rubber bands, barrettes and braids.
- Ask your doctor about medications and supplements you take that might cause hair loss.
- Protect your hair from sunlight and other sources of ultraviolet light.
- Stop smoking.
- If you’re being treated with chemotherapy, ask your doctor about a cooling cap.
When there is permanent hair loss, there are several cosmetic approaches that can help. The most extreme is hair transplantation. After the surgical procedure, the transplanted hair grows normally. A huge drawback to doing this is the expense as it can cost thousands of dollars and is not covered by insurance. An option that it affordable to most of us is wearing a wig to combat thinning hair.
Unlike men, women typically experience thinning hair without going bald. And, whether it is the result of heredity, hormonal changes, medical conditions or a normal part of aging, it doesn’t make it any less upsetting or prevent it from causing a negative self-image. If you are experiencing hair loss, it may be time to talk to your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider can help you detect any underlying medical conditions, as well as offer any related medications or needed treatment.