Hair loss in women can occur due to various factors such as stress, genetics, medication, poor nutrition, tight hairstyles, hormonal changes including pregnancy, menopause, PCOS or other medical conditions. In women, hair loss usually results in diffuse thinning on the crown rather than receding hairlines or complete baldness. Hair loss in women vary greatly from person to person. Medical guidance should be sought in order to determine the cause and find the appropriate treatment.
Almost one in three women goes through a period of hair loss and thinning problems in their lives. However hair loss in women is generally not noticed early because the hairline protects itself and thinning occurs in a wide area.
Hair loss in women can lead to severe psychological problems even if it occurs in small amounts. In such cases women tend to hide their hair so that it goes unnoticed. The hair loss may worsen gradually due to factors such as seasonal changes, menopause, after-birth, hormonal changes and other environmental effects.
Genetic reasons: The most common causes of hair loss in women are genetic reasons. Genetics, hormones and age all together create a complex factor. Similar to hair loss in men, dihidrotestesterone (DHT) created by the 5-alpha reductase enzyme is responsible for hair loss in women. However, the difference between hair loss in women and men is the 5-alpha reductase enzyme amounts and the presence of aromatase enzyme in women.
Medical conditions: women are more susceptible to hair loss due to medical conditions than men. It is very difficult to distinguish genetic hair loss and hair loss caused by other factors. The dermatologist may need to do various diagnostic tests, dermatoscopy and video microscopy examination in order to establish the main cause.
Obstetrical or gynecological disorders, anemia, thyroid hormone disorders, collagen tissue diseases such as lupus, destructive diets, zinc and various vitamin deficiencies, stress and emotional problems are among the reasons for non-genetic hair loss in women.
Telogen effluvium causes: Chronic illnesses, surgeries, season changes, telogen effluvium causing medications (blood thinners, drugs used in gout treatment, antihypertensives, antiepileptics, cholesterol-lowering drugs, antidepressants, oral contraceptives, thyroid medication, diet medications, vitamins.
Anagen hair loss causes: Chemotherapeutics and radiotherapy.
Alopecia areata: Coin shaped localized hair loss. Being an autoimmune condition, it can come with other systemic autoimmune diseases.
Traction alopecia: Permanent hair loss is generally caused by tight ponytails and braids.
Primary Cicatricial Alopecia: Diseases that directly affects the hair follicles causing hair loss. The diseases in this category are Lichen planus, discoid lupus, folliculitis decalvans and frontal fibrosing alopecia.
Secondary Cicatricial Alopecia: Caused as a result of accidents or trauma. The skin and the hair follicles are affected.