Female pattern hair loss tends to present differently than male pattern hair loss. Male pattern hair loss commonly presents as a receding hairline on the front and top parts of the scalp. Female pattern hair loss is most commonly seen in the mid-frontal and top portions of the scalp. Another common cause of hair loss in women is telogen effluvium, which is a temporary type of hair loss that occurs after a “shock” to the body
It’s natural to lose up to 150 hairs per day. But if you lose more than that as a woman, you could be experiencing telogen effluvium, a common cause of temporary hair loss that occurs after certain kinds of triggers, or androgenic alopecia, which is most often genetic.
What Are the Main Reasons for Female Hair Loss?
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There are several potential reasons for thinning hair in females. Some of the main reasons include genetics, illnesses, and vitamin deficiencies or surpluses. Here are a few things to know about these common causes of hair loss and available treatment options.
How Do Genetics Affect Hair Loss?
Research shows that classic female pattern baldness is influenced in part by genetic factors. Androgenic alopecia is one of the most common hereditary causes of thinning hair. In males, androgenic alopecia often leads to almost total hair loss. In females, total hair loss is rare. Generally, females experience localized hair thinning along the crown of the head that spreads laterally, and you might notice a widening part.
More research needs to be done on genetics and hair loss in females to fully understand the connection. However, if you have a family history of female pattern hair loss, you may be more likely to experience it yourself.
What Illnesses Cause Hair Loss in Women?
There are many factors that can cause temporary hair loss, but severe illness is one of the most common. Covid-19 is an infectious illness that has been linked to telogen effluvium. Other serious physical illnesses such as lupus, kidney disease, and inflammatory bowel disease could also result in temporary hair loss. This kind of hair loss can also occur after childbirth or after stopping certain kinds of medications, like the birth control pill or prednisone.
In addition to physical illnesses, mental illnesses can also lead to telogen effluvium. Moderate to severe mental illness can cause extreme emotional stress. Stress can shock the body and potentially contribute to temporary hair loss.
In some cases, people with anxiety disorders may experience hair loss or baldness because they pull their own hair out. Trichotillomania is a hair-pulling disorder caused by severe anxiety or stress. People with this disorder may compulsively pull their own hair out as a coping mechanism.
Can Vitamin Deficiencies or Surpluses Cause Hair Loss?
What you eat can have a significant impact on the fullness and quality of your hair. Certain vitamin deficiencies or surpluses can contribute to hair loss in females. Here are some of the more common vitamin deficiencies or surpluses that can lead to hair thinning in women.
This vitamin plays a crucial role in the hair cycle, and its role in hair loss is currently being researched further. Vitamin D deficiency may be linked to androgenetic alopecia, telogen effluvium, and even alopecia areata, an autoimmune condition resulting in hair loss. Unfortunately, the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among U.S. adults is around 35%.
Vitamin A is a double-edged sword when it comes to its role in hair loss. When you have a vitamin A deficiency, you’re more likely to develop brittle hair and weak follicles. Vitamin A deficiency can also lead to dryness of the scalp, which can exacerbate hair thinning. However, too much vitamin A (also known as hypervitaminosis A) can lead to hair loss. It may be better to consume more vitamin A-rich foods (such as carrots and sweet potatoes) than to supplement with this particular vitamin.
Is Hair Loss Reversible?
If you’re experiencing hair loss as a female, you may be able to reverse the condition. Some women have great success using hair loss treatments to restore their locks. If hair loss persists, you may be able to reverse it through lifestyle and dietary interventions. These may include addressing nutritional deficiencies, going to counseling, or reducing stress. You should also avoid hair treatments involving harsh chemicals or heat while you attempt to regrow your hair.
What Is the Best Treatment for Hair Loss?
While temporary hair loss may resolve on its own, other types may require treatment. There are a variety of over-the-counter treatments available for some of the most common causes of female hair loss. Minoxidil, which is available both topically and in pill form, is one of the most effective topical treatments for female pattern hair loss.
In clinical trials, treatment with 5% Minoxidil significantly improved hair count in the targeted area compared to placebo. Women who want to regrow hair after loss may experience positive results while using Minoxidil topical solution.
Other possible treatment options include the oral medications spironolactone and dutasteride. These are antiandrogens, which work to block the effects of androgen hormones such as testosterone. While they are not FDA approved for hair loss in women, dermatologists will sometimes use them off-label to help with androgenetic alopecia.
Get Treatment for Your Hair Loss Needs
If you’re searching for a convenient and impactful treatment option for female hair loss, contact a trusted medical provider to discuss your options. Understanding the reason behind your hair loss is the first step to improving it. A medical professional can help you take the next steps and answer your questions along the way.