Men aren't the only ones who have to worry about losing their precious locks. While it may be more common among men, hair loss in women isn't as rare as you might think. It's estimated that hair loss affects 1 in 5 women. The most common types of hair loss are telogen effluvium and alopecia areata. Although it's more common than alopecia areata, telogen effluvium is less severe. This occurs when the hair follicles stop growing and lie dormant and fall out within two to three months. Being that telogen effluvium is oftentimes caused by stress, trauma or medications, hair growth is typically restored within 6 to 9 months. On the flip side, alopecia areata occurs when white blood cells attack hair follicles, causing the hair to thin and fall out, usually in patches. This type of hair loss may require treatment as hair may not grow back on its own.
Your hair says a lot about your overall health. When the body goes into crisis mode, hair growth is stunted to redirect energy to other cells throughout the body. So hair loss is oftentimes the first sign of trouble. While age is definitely a factor of hair loss, other factors, such as hormonal imbalance, emotional stress, medications and hair care products can also lead to thinning of the hair and even male pattern baldness. The best way to get to the root of the problem is to determine the underlying cause.
Hormonal Imbalance and Hair Loss
Hair loss in women is largely attributed to hormonal imbalance, as it is in men and is one of the lesser known and less common menopause symptoms. Hair loss is not as prevalent in women because women have more estrogen than men and that in turn helps balance out the effects of androgens, namely dihydrotestosterone (DHT), that typically lead to female hair loss. Other hormonal imbalances such as thyroid problems and genetic hormonal responses to autoimmune conditions can also cause thinning of the hair and premature balding in women.
Emotional Stress and Hair Loss
Although women don't have nearly as much testosterone as men, when women undergo intense stress, the adrenal glands become overworked due to an increased need for the "stress hormone" known as cortisol. This causes the body to produce more adrenaline and testosterone, and DHT, a stronger variant of testosterone. The increased production of these hormones can sometimes cause the hair to fall out due to the resulting hormone imbalance.
Hair Loss after Pregnancy
It's common for women to experience hair loss following pregnancy, when her hormones are in disarray. It takes some time for hormone levels to return to a normal range, so it's perfectly common for post-partum mothers to experience thinning of the hair and even bald patches. In cases such as these, the hair loss is only temporary and treatment oftentimes isn't necessary. Following pregnancy, women can expect hair to re-grow naturally after a few months. If the hair doesn't grow back within the first year, chances are something else is going on.
Hair Loss and The Pill
A variety of medications can result in hair loss in women. Perhaps the most common is birth control. Currently the millions of women use the pill each year, making it the most popular form of birth control to date. According to the American Hair Loss Association (AHLA), it's recommended that women should consider using a low-androgen index birth control pill to avoid the effects of DHT, especially women with a predisposition to hair loss. The AHLA adds that women should exercise caution with any hormonal medication or therapy, as they can all trigger hair loss.
Extreme Hair Care and Hair Loss
Let's face it: women take pride in their hair. They clean it, color it, cut it, style it, wear it up, down and off to the side. While it may look good now, women should consider the potential damage they're doing to their hair. In addition to brushing, blow-drying and styling, women also use a variety of aerosol sprays, styling gels, chemical straighteners and dyes that not only damage the hair follicles, but also cause irritation of the scalp. If you're experiencing hair loss as result of extreme hair care, your first order of business is to ditch the products that are damaging your hair. If hair growth is not restored within a few months, treatment may be necessary.
The Solution: Treating Hair Loss in Women
If you're suffering from hair loss, chances are a hormonal imbalance is to blame. The state-of the-art tests used by BodyLogicMD affiliated physicians test your female hormones: estrogen, testosterone, thyroid hormones and cortisol to determine if your hair loss is hormonal or genetic. If a hormonal imbalance is the culprit, your highly trained bioidentical hormone doctor will prescribe bioidentical hormones made by a compounding pharmacy to help you bring your hormone levels back to optimal balance and effectively treat hormonal hair loss in women.
While you cannot fight your genes, you can fight the effects of aging and hormonal imbalance. BodyLogicMD expert physicians use bioidentical hormones to not only prevent further hair loss, but also to restore hair that you've already lost. Let us help you give your hair what it needs to grow strong and healthy - and soon enough, you'll start getting the compliments you've been missing!