HAIR LOSS IN WOMEN

Women can experience hair loss for many different reasons. Although hair loss may seem like a more prominent problem in men, women are nearly as likely to lose, or have thinning, hair.  For most women, they tend to notice it in their 50s or 60s, but it can happen at any age and for a variety of reasons.

Hair loss is not uncommon but it can be very upsetting!  It can be extremely difficult to handle the emotional toll this experience can take on someone. Hair is a very important part of one’s identity and sense of wellbeing.

MEDICAL CONDITIONS

A variety of medical conditions can cause hair loss, including:

  • Thyroid problems. The thyroid gland helps regulate hormone levels in your body. If this gland isn’t working properly, hair loss may result.
  • Alopecia areata. This disease occurs when the body’s immune system attacks hair follicles — causing smooth, roundish patches of hair loss.
  • Scalp infections. A scalp infection can definitely cause hair loss, but once treated, the hair will usually grow back.
  • Other skin disorders. Diseases that can cause scarring, such as lichen planus and some types of lupus, can result in permanent hair loss where the scars occur.

MEDICATIONS

Hair loss can be caused by medications used to treat:

  • Cancer
  • Arthritis
  • Depression
  • Heart problems
  • High blood pressure

OTHER CAUSES

Hair loss can also result from:

  • Hair-pulling disorder – This condition causes people to have an irresistible urge to pull out their hair, whether it’s from the scalp, their eyebrows or other areas of the body. Hair pulling from the scalp often leaves patchy bald spots on the head.
  • Physical trauma – This includes surgery, intense illness, extreme stress, dramatic weight loss over a short period of time; and poor nutrition.
  • Self-inflicted – Improper hair care and even some hairstyles can cause hair loss.  For example, braids pulled too tightly, cornrows or extensions that have been installed incorrectly can all cause "traction alopecia".  Chemical treatments and hot tools, such as flat irons, blow dryers and curling irons, are also sometimes responsible for hair loss, damage and breakage.
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