Assessment of Hair Loss in Women
It’s comparatively difficult to determine the root cause of hair loss in women as against men. Hair loss in men is primarily caused due to androgenetic alopecia popularly known as male-pattern hair loss. Androgenetic alopecia which is genetically passed on from one generation to the other can also cause hair fall in women just that it may not follow the patterns as can be seen in the case of men.
Females usually don’t experience extensive balding like men. Though androgenetic alopecia usually leads to hair loss in females also, yet there are numerous other factors that need to be considered which may lead to hair loss in women. Though investigators are certain about the genetic passing of hair loss from one generation to another but they believe that different genes may be involved in causing hair loss amongst men and women.
Factors that may cause hair loss in women other than androgenetic alopecia are:
- Hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism–hair loss in these conditions may be caused due to low production of hormones by the thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) or due to over production of certain hormones (hyperthyroidism) and may stop or reduce when adequate treatment for these issues is taken by the individual.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome is another cause of hair loss in women. It is an inherited dysfunctional condition that affects the ovaries of women and occurs in around 10% of women population while they are in their reproductive years;
- Hormonal changes brought about due to pregnancy can also affect growth of hair in women adversely. Usually, the hormonal balance reaches back to normal within a few months time after the women has had a child causing hair to grow normally.
- There are certain hormonal changes that occur in women when they reach the stage of menopause. Hair loss begins usually when a woman reaches menopause stage and this can be slowed to a certain extent with the help of adequate medical treatment of menopause symptoms.
Sometimes women experience hair breakage which may seem to suggest to them they are experiencing hair thinning or hair loss. Hair breakage is different from hair loss and usually caused due to extensive use of hair straighteners, hair relaxers, permanent waving machines and frequent hair dyeing.
Hair loss to a certain extent may be caused due to the result of facial plastic surgery which alters the alignment of hairline. Individuals who face hair loss due to cosmetic surgeries may opt for hair transplantation for treating alteration of hairlines.
Different hair styles like corn-rowing or braiding can also lead to hair loss. Tight hair braiding results in a condition called traction hair loss. This condition may permanently damage the hair follicles if pursued for longer periods. Hair loss in such a situation may be limited when one stops tying hair in tight braids. There may be other factors as well which may be causing hair loss other than hair style, like alopecia areata or telogen effluvium that may require immediate medical diagnosis and treatment.
There are many ways to combat hair loss which may be well defined in women, one may try a few dosages of minoxidil(Rogaine) for minimizing the speed of hair loss. If one still continues to shed hair, then it becomes essential that one takes the help of a proper doctor so that the correct cause of hair loss can be determined and effectively dealt with to stop or reduce hair fall.
Different individuals have different perceptions about how much hair loss is ‘noticeable ‘ or ‘unacceptable’, yet it’s been found that around 80% of premenopausal women experienced thinning of hair prior to losing hair extensively. Some women were of the view that it was pretty much fine to experience hair loss in old age while others held a view that their appearance was being marred due to hair loss and they required effective remedies to treat hair loss.
Patterns of hair loss in women are quite different from those found in men and hair fall in women occurs in a more diffused manner than men. Female patterns cause more diffuse hair loss and thinning of hair occurs over a particular area of the scalp. Sometimes a more advanced form of diffuse hair thinning may be caused in women leading to unpatterned alopecia which may involve hair thinning in the entire scalp.
Any hair loss, which isn’t acceptable by a woman and progressive in nature, must be thoroughly observed by a hair specialist so that the true cause of hair loss can be determined and effective treatment may be adhered to, to limit and reduce hair loss.
Undergoing a hair transplantation procedure is the best way to limit hair fall and achieve a fuller head of hair. It has a high rate of success amongst women and most women prefer to go for hair transplantation since the results are satisfactory and convincing. Yet there are a few cases of women in which it is not viable to conduct hair transplantation. These factors are:
- Extensive hair loss situation which is caused due to diffuse thinning of hair. It is almost impossible to obtain donor hair for hair transplantation from any part of the scalp since thinning has occurred in almost on the entire scalp.
- When a patient’s expectations for restoring hair loss are too high. It’s never possible to completely restore lost hair to their original state as when the process of hair thinning hadn’t begun.
It’s essential that before any individual undergoes any hair restoration treatment, she asks all the relevant questions from the hair specialist regarding procedures, costs involved and their likely outcomes for her situation. It is essential that both the physician and patient are well aware of the causes of the hair loss before deciding any kind of treatment plan.