Causes of Female Hair Loss and The Psychological Impact

If you have begun to notice more hair on your pillow, in the shower drain, or on your comb, the reason could be “Female Hair Loss”, a condition that many women around the world suffer from but hesitate to address. Medically known as “Alopecia”, female pattern hair loss (FPHL) is different from natural hair shedding.

According to research, 40% to 50% of women around the world lose noticeable hair. Most women who seek hair loss remedies are in the age group of 25 to 55 years. We usually know that hair loss is a common problem for men however female pattern hair loss is also an issue that most women suffer in silence do to a misconception that women shouldn’t lose their hair.

Our society sees thick and beautiful hair as a symbol of youth, beauty, femininity, and female sexuality. As a result, the loss of hair can have a severe psychological impact on women of all ages. It is not uncommon for women with thinning hair to feel isolated, depressed, have low self-esteem, and overall feel unattractive. To make things even worse, there is little support or services available for women who are losing their hair.

woman staring at hair on her brush

Female hair loss is not uncommon. You are not alone and there are effective treatments that can slow or stop hair loss. For hair that won’t grow back on it’s own, FUE hair transplants can replace the lost hair.

Symptoms of Female Hair Loss

Losing around 50-150 hair strands daily can be termed as hair shedding which is a natural process. However, that’s not the case if the amount of hair loss is greater than the growth of new hair.

Signs of female hair loss can include loss of clumps of hair, bald spots, visible widening of the part, receding hair on temples and the hairline, losing volume in ponytails, and overall thinning.

If hair loss runs in your family and you have noticed a sudden increase in hair loss then it’s time to take the matter seriously. You could also be experiencing a few of the early signs of female pattern hair loss so the sooner you begin to address the issue, the better.

What Are Some Causes Of Female Hair Loss?

Often female hair loss is genetic, but not always. It’s difficult to determine if one or more factors are contributing to the condition.

Female hair loss can occur at any time after the age of 18 years due to various factors. Below are some of the most common causes that can be the culprit for your hair loss.

1. Age

We all know that with age, both men and women start to lose hair as a natural process of aging. 50% of women over 70 years experience loss of at least some hair.

2. Genetics

As suggested earlier, hair loss is often a genetically inherited condition and evident within family members. In severe cases where there is a strong genetic predisposition, hair loss can be seen even at the age of 12 to 14 years.

3. Thyroid Problems/Hormonal Imbalance

Hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, or any form of hormonal imbalance in the body can impact the natural hair growth in women. In some cases hair loss can be greatly reduced or even stopped with proper medication.

4. Menopause

This is also a typical issue that can cause hair loss in women. Women of 50 to 60 years may suffer from thinning hair after menopause.

5. Hair Styling Methods

Hair tied in tight ponytails may pull hair and cause the hair to become weak at the root. Apart from that, if you constantly style your hair in a manner that causes stretching the hair strands then there are chances of hair loss from it.

6. Diet

Our diet affects us in so many ways, one of them is consuming unhealthy food. As the hair requires nutrients for growth and maintenance, it is crucial to focus on what you consume or modify your diet accordingly with the guidance of a nutritionist. This point can’t be emphasized strongly enough. Poor diet is the root cause of the majority of chronic conditions in our society, and while male hair loss if often unavoidable no matter how healthy the diet, women are much more susceptible to hair loss due to poor diet.

7. Underlying Disease

An undiagnosed disease can affect your hair growth or cause it to fall off unexpectedly. If you are experiencing sudden, rapid hair loss consult your doctor immediately.

8. Stress and Lifestyle

Research shows that women who lead a stressful life often are the common sufferers of female pattern hair loss. Minimizing stressful activities and practicing meditation can help to overcome the concern. It is also encouraged to make fundamental changes in your lifestyle – being sure to get enough sleep and not using toxic chemicals on your hair.

9. Iron Deficiency or Lack of Vitamin B12

Lack of iron and vitamins can be a factor that contributes to hair loss. You can take supplements regularly to ensure that your hair gets the proper nutrition for growth.

10. Medications

Birth control pills, blood thinners, antidepressants, specific antibiotics, retinoids, and many other medications can obstruct the natural growth of your hair. In such cases, you must consult with your doctor to take further steps.

11. Radiation Therapy

Patients who are treated for cancer undergo radiation therapy that can cause extreme hair loss to the point of balding. Hair loss is one of the usual side effects of the treatment so there’s not much that you can do about it. In most cases, your hair will grow back after treatment.

causes of female pattern hair loss infographic

There are a number of possible causes for your hair loss. You should consult with your doctor if you are experiencing sudden, rapid hair loss. For more gradual hair loss, effective treatments are available.

The Psychological Impact of Hair Loss In Women

It’s a typical scenario to see a bald man but women with sparse hair often get unwanted attention for the change in their appearance. Hair loss can make a woman feel self-conscious everywhere, be it at home with relatives or in a public place. Women who have thinning hair often suffer from low self esteem as a result, and the psychological impact of losing your hair can be much more pronounced in women than in men.

Research shows that women who suffer from female pattern hair loss are more likely to develop an anxiety disorder, depression, or become isolated.

If you are suffering from female pattern hair loss, remember that you are not your hair. Remind yourself that your hair does not define you in any form or shape. The standards of beauty have evolved around the world. There are plenty of top models and celebrity figures who have embraced their loss of hair and have succeeded in life. Don’t let the stigma of hair loss in our society keep you from living a better and high-quality life.

Female Hair Loss Treatments

Now that we know the causes and psychological impact of hair loss in women, let’s get to the available treatment options.

  1. Medications: Hyperandrogenism is a condition where females have excess male sex hormones which can cause hair loss on the scalp. For treatment, doctors recommend an FDA approved medication known as Minoxidil, which is available as an ointment as well as in a liquid solution. It may take up to 3 to 4 months to notice any improvement. During this time, you need to be patient as results can vary from person to person. Minoxidil’s primary function is to allow the hair to reach its maximum length and density by extending the growth phase. Other mentionable drugs that are used for hair loss treatment are Spironolactone, Tretinoin, Corticosteroids, and Anthralin. Note that Minoxidil should only be taken by women under the advice of your doctor. Formula 82M is a better alternative for self-treatment, as it is safe for women.
  2. Hair Transplant: If your hair loss is irreversible then you can consider a hair transplant. During the procedure, very small hair follicles are transplanted to the balding area from another area of the scalp. Effective and permanent procedures like NeoGraft FUE Hair transplant offer very natural-looking results without any scarring. Even your partner won’t be able to tell a difference.
  3. PRP Hair Restoration: Platelet Rich Plasma therapy extracts platelets from your own body and concentrates the healing and restorative elements from them. This is then reinjected in to the scalp to stimulate new hair growth. PRP can be effective for both women and men.
before and after photos of female pattern hair loss

If you’re considering hair transplants you may be worried about ‘doll hair’. This was a result of older methods of hair transplants that moved plugs of hair from other areas of your scalp. FUE looks completely natural, as it transplants individual hairs, but the process is so efficient an area like this can be done in a few hours, and often in a single visit.

Steps You Can Take To Prevent Hair Loss

Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about hair loss due to genetic causes, age, or underlying diseases. Nevertheless, you can certainly control external factors that can aid you in the process of preventing female pattern hair loss.

  • Include iron, vitamin B12, proteins, and other essential vitamins in your diet with the guidance of a doctor.
  • Use less harmful chemical products on your hair such as bleach. Reduce hair damaging treatments like straightening and perming.
  • Avoid tight ponytails and hairstyles that can lead to hair breakage.
  • Keep your hair clean and protected from dirt, smoke, and the sun whenever you are outside.
  • Eat a healthy diet, get regular exercise and avoid stress as much as possible

In a Few Words

With the focus our society puts on women’s hair finding clumps on your pillow or your shower drain can be very stressful. Keep in mind that your hair does not define your beauty. Decide first if you’re OK with losing some hair as you age. If you’re not, though, there are effective treatments available, and the sooner you address the hair loss the greater the chances that you can keep your beautiful, thick hair well into your elder years. Come see us for a consultation.