Unlike men, who usually begin to lose their hair as they get older, women who suffer from hair loss can begin to see some loss in their mid-20s, depending on the type and cause of the loss. In some cases, the hair may regrow on its own, or a woman may need to take medicine or apply special ointments to help the hair come back.
There are primarily two types of hair loss in women, permanent and temporary. Female-pattern baldness, or androgenetic alopecia, is permanent and can be caused by an excess amount of testosterone. Non-permanent hair loss includes telogen effluvium, during which clumps of hair will fall out while shampooing or if you run your hands through your hair. Wearing your hair in tight braids or ponytails can lead to traction alopecia. If you have traction alopecia, hair will fall out along the part or where it is pulled the most tightly.
Early hair loss in women can be caused by a number of medical conditions, many of them linked to hormones. Women with polycystic ovary syndrome, a disorder that causes the ovaries to produce high levels of male hormones, may have hair loss. An under-active thyroid gland can cause hair loss in women as well. Autoimmune disorders such as lupus cause hair loss, as do other conditions such as diabetes.
In some cases, a woman’s hair loss may be the result of high stress levels or a stressful event occurring the body, such as a drastic amount of weight loss, giving birth or undergoing surgery. Some women lose some hair after pregnancy, as their hormone levels drop back to normal levels. A poor diet, either from an eating disorder or from constantly going on crash diets, can cause hair loss, especially if you do not get enough protein or iron. Medications such as anti-depressants or chemotherapy also lead to hair loss.
Dealing With Hair Loss
Although you do not need the hair on your head to keep your warm or for any biological function, it does serve as a secondary sex characteristic. A lot of women consider their hair to be their best asset, so losing it can be devastating. Do your best to find out the cause of your loss and to learn the best treatment options and prognosis. If you suffer from early hair loss, you may consider joining a support group for other women with hair loss. You may find a group for women with lupus or another disorder if your hair loss is caused by a medical condition.
Treating Hair Loss
Once you have learned the cause of your hair loss, you may be able to get treatment for it. Minoxidil, a topical treatment that is available over the counter, can help hair regrow if you suffer from female pattern baldness. If you hair loss comes as a result of a stressful event, it should begin to regrow once the stress is gone. Treating a hormonal disorder, such as hypothyroidism, can help your hair regrow as well.