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The 7 Most Common Causes of Hair Loss in Women

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Hair loss is a commonly discussed topic when it comes to men’s hair, but it may surprise you to know that hair loss is nearly as common in a woman’s life as well.

Generally, women lose hair differently than men, where it is a gradual thinning all over the head as opposed to a receding hairline or bald spots, potentially making it more difficult to spot. But, for the women dealing with a hair loss situation, it can be extremely stressful and take a toll on their self-confidence.

Not all hair loss is the same, some may be due to genetics, other cases of hair loss can develop from intensely stressful situations, or even other health conditions. It can be helpful to try and pinpoint the root cause to help develop a treatment strategy.

Below, we will cover some of the most common causes of hair loss in women.

1. Androgenetic alopecia

Androgenetic alopecia is the most common cause of hair loss in both men and women. In men, it is referred to as male pattern hair loss, and in women, it is called female pattern hair loss, but they are both androgenetic alopecia. This is a hereditary form of hair loss that has to do with your genetic sensitivity to a hormone called DHT. Androgenetic alopecia cannot be stopped and there is no “cure”, but there are treatment options that can help slow the hair loss progression or help regrow hair in some situations.

At Strut, we have formulated a topical hair loss formula that targets female pattern hair loss using ingredients like Minoxidil, Spironolactone, Tretinoin, and/or Finasteride, depending on which active ingredients are appropriate for you. The formula is fully customized to you and your hair loss concerns by a doctor. (Finasteride is not appropriate for pregnant or breastfeeding women, or those that are planning on becoming pregnant in the near future. But, it may be prescribed off-label in non-childbearing women.) 

If you are interested in seeing if a prescription female pattern hair loss treatment is a good fit for you, simply select the medication and complete a free online questionnaire and image-based consultation in under 15 minutes. A doctor will review your information and issue a prescription, if appropriate. If you are a good candidate for female pattern hair loss therapy, your customized prescription will be shipped to your front door.

2. Age-related hair loss

With advancing age, a lot of things start to slow down -- including your hair growth rate. This may lead to your hair looking thinner than when you were younger, as well as finding it difficult to grow your hair past a certain length.

In women, getting older also means that the changes with menopause or about to happen, or have already occurred. Menopause can come with several changes including hormonal declines and fluctuations. These hormonal changes can also equate to hair thinning, color and texture changes, and slowed growth.

3. Telogen Effluvium

Telogen effluvium is a type of hair loss that is triggered by some sort of mentally or physically stressful life event. This can happen due to physical stressors like a surgery, childbirth, high fevers, extreme weight loss, or a severe infection. Mental stressors like losing a loved one, losing a job, or a divorce can also cause a state of extreme stress and trigger this form of hair loss. 

Telogen effluvium tends to occur a few weeks to a couple of months after the stressful event, and causes a rapid shedding of up to 30-50% of the hair on your head. Luckily, if the stressful trigger is removed, the hair tends to recover and regrow back to its previous state.

This is an especially important condition to consider when looking into women’s hair loss, as it can be a common occurrence after childbirth. 

4. Alopecia Areata

Alopecia areata is a type of hair loss that is considered an autoimmune process. With alopecia areata, the body erroneously attacks the hair follicles, causing hair loss in clumps, often leading to round patches of baldness. This sudden hair loss does often grow back. But, the condition may still flare up again causing additional clumps of hair loss. This type of hair loss is also seen more commonly in women than men.

5. Damage from hairstyling

Certain tight hairstyles can cause a type of hair loss called traction alopecia. Dreadlocks, tight braids, or tight ponytails worn often can lead to this type of hair loss.

Additionally, if you are consistently using lots of heat styling, utilize perming treatments, or bleach your hair, you could see more hair being lost from overuse. These types of treatments can also cause damage to the strands themselves, making them more brittle and prone to breakage.

On the bright side, if you have experienced hair loss from tight hairstyles or damaging hair treatments, hair will normally return to its regular state once the treatments or tight styles are discontinued (as long as the hair follicle itself has not been damaged).

6. Nutritional deficiencies

If you are shedding more hair than usual, it may be important to get a medical check-up to make sure you are not deficient in any macronutrients, vitamins, or minerals. Certain necessary nutrients like protein, iron, zinc, vitamin D, and certain B vitamins have been associated with increased hair loss or slowed hair growth.

These deficiencies can often be discovered by a simple blood test, and can usually be corrected by adjusting your diet or including a supplement into your routine.

If a nutritional deficiency was the reason for your hair loss, correcting the deficiency can often lead to your hair returning to its normal state.

7. Other health conditions or medications

Certain health conditions, treatments, or medications can also mean increased hair shedding for some people. 

Conditions like thyroid disorders, anemia, PCOS, or even psoriasis can lead to hair loss in some people. Getting control of the underlying issue by taking your treatments as prescribed and avoiding exacerbating factors may help your hair recover if it was stimulated by one of these existing conditions.

Additionally, some treatments and medications can mean increased hair shedding in some people. Chemotherapy, certain psychotropic drugs and antidepressants, some anticonvulsants, certain high blood pressure medications, some thyroid medications, anticoagulants, and NSAIDS may cause hair loss in some.

If you have started on a new medication that you think may be causing increased hair loss, bring the issue up to your doctor to see if any adjustments can be made. Do not stop or change your medication regimen without consulting your doctor.

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