Contrary to popular belief, balding doesn’t just happen to men. It can happen to women, too, and it can be distressing and depressing when it happens. Half of all men and women show some kind of balding by the time they are 40, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Get a Diagnosis
Hair loss can occur in women because of hormonal changes, the use of certain drugs or because of a skin disorder, according to the Merck website. Balding can be more serious than a cosmetic issue. It could mean illness as well, so it is best to see your doctor for a diagnosis if you are experiencing hair loss.
Most Common Reason
The most common reason for hair loss in women is androgenetic alopecia, female-pattern hair loss. The hormone, dihydrotestosterone, is responsible for this, as is heredity. Women who are predisposed to female-pattern hair loss may see this happening in puberty, perimenopause or postmenopause. Androgenetic alopecia demonstrates itself as hair loss that begins at the top of the head. It is usually not a complete balding, but, rather, a thinning of the hair. The hairline is usually not affected.
Certain Drugs Cause Hair Loss
Although certain drugs can cause hair loss, the effects will be temporary and the hair should grow back when you stop taking the drugs. Chemotherapy drugs, blood pressure drugs, lithium, oral contraceptives, ACE inhibitors, anticoagulants, anticonvulsants, Vitamin A and retinoids can cause hair loss. Stress, sudden weight loss and illness with a high fever can cause hair loss, too.
Trichotillomania is a hair-pulling disorder where people compulsively pull out their hair. For some, the urge is so overwhelming; they cannot stop doing it, according to the Mayo Clinic. Some people do this and are aware they are doing it, and some are not. The constant pulling out of hair can lead to permanent hair loss, because it can destroy good hair follicles and damage the skin. This condition can be treated with psychotherapy and medications.
Other Reasons For Hair Loss
Hair loss in women can also occur from wearing tight braids, rollers or ponytails that are constantly pulling on the hair, according to Merck. In this case, the hair comes out at the hairline, at the forehead and at the temples. Scarring on the head caused by lupus, skin cancer or bacterial or fungal infections, burns or injuries can cause permanent hair loss.
Treatments and Solutions
Minoxidil can help with female-pattern hair loss. Women, however, cannot take finasteride, which is the active ingredient in Propecia, because Propecia can cause birth defects in male babies. Minoxidil may prevent further hair loss and may increase growth as well. It usually takes several months to see any benefits. The effects of minoxidil only last while you are taking the drug. If you stop, you will start losing your hair again. If minoxidil treatment doesn’t work for you, you may want to consider a hair transplant, where hair follicles are taken form one part of the scalp and transplanted to the bald area. Wigs are another solution.
- woman”s hair style image by MAXFX from Fotolia.com