Hair loss in women: There can be many causes – in many cases, however, as with men, the disposition is to blame. Irrespective of whether it is hormonal hair loss, a lack of nutrients or stress – for a successful therapy it is first necessary to get to the bottom of the cause of the hair loss. With the right diagnosis and a little luck, you can stop hair loss.
Hair loss in women can come in many forms and for a variety of reasons. Hair loss is a traumatic experience for many women, especially when the hair loss is extreme or sudden.
Hair loss is just a symptom of another disease
The first thing to do is rule out other diseases that could be a symptom of hair loss. As a rule, the first step here is to take a blood sample, which can provide information not only about any diseases that may be present but also about deficiency symptoms. Another diagnostic measure is the so-called trichogram, in which the hair loss can initially be confirmed clinically.
One of the most common diseases that can cause hair loss is a thyroid malfunction or simply iron deficiency.
Hair loss can also occur as a side effect of many medications. So if women notice increased hair loss after starting a new drug treatment, you should discuss this with your doctor.
It is not just the well-known chemotherapy drugs that can lead to hair loss, but also many drugs that you would not initially suspect. The drugs that can cause hair loss in women include, for example, beta blockers, certain antibiotics, antiepileptics, rheumatism drugs, lipid-lowering drugs, thyroid drugs, blood clotting drugs, antidepressants, but also the birth control pill (especially if it contains a high proportion of progestin) .
If you suspect hair loss due to medication you have taken, first read the package leaflet carefully or ask the pharmacy about the side effects of the medication.
Hormone-related hair loss also occurs most frequently in women after the age of 40. In general, however, all types of hormonal changes, such as during pregnancy, can be a cause of hair loss in women.
The hereditary hair loss is called androgenetic alopecia. Sooner or later it causes (partial) hair loss in about 80% of men and is also the cause of about 40% of women with hair loss. Although hair loss in women rarely extends to complete hair loss, many women complain of thinning hair after a certain age. As an indication of this cause of hair loss, you can look at your male relatives: Does your father or brother suffer from this type of hair loss?
Blame for hereditary hair loss is the sex hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which damages the hair roots. DHT is present in everyone’s body, but how sensitive your hair roots are to the hormone is passed on hereditarily. In women, the estrogen level protects against hair loss for a long time, the hereditary predisposition only becomes noticeable when the hormone level is disturbed or decreases with age.
Another hormonal cause of hair loss in women can be reduced activity of the enzyme aromatase. Aromatase ensures that male sex hormones are converted into female sex hormones at the hair root in women. Reduced activity exposes the hair roots to more male hormones.
The most common symptom of androgenetic alopecia in women is hair loss on the crown of the head.
Hair loss in women over 50 is often related to menopause. Anyone who has read the previous paragraph carefully will be able to imagine: the cause of hair loss during menopause is usually due to the falling estrogen level.
This is now noticeable in women who tend to hereditary hair loss, i.e. hypersensitivity to the male sex hormone DHT. Since estrogen is no longer produced to the same extent, the dihydrotestosterone leads to increased hair loss in women.
Many women notice hair loss after giving birth to their child. This usually occurs about 2 to 3 months after birth. This is a normal side effect of changing hormone levels, and hair loss after pregnancy affects almost all women to a greater or lesser extent.
During pregnancy, the body enjoys an extra portion of estrogen, the female body is then more efficient than at any other time. Pleasant side effects are particularly radiant skin and full, shiny hair. After the birth of the child, the estrogen level is reduced back to a normal level. One consequence is hair loss: not only does hair fall out whose normal growth cycle has ended, but also hair that should have fallen out during pregnancy but was protected by the high estrogen level.
After about six months, post-pregnancy hair loss should return to normal. If this is not the case, you should consult your doctor.
In rare cases, hair loss can also occur during pregnancy. The cause of hair loss during pregnancy is almost always caused by a nutrient deficiency. The supply of the embryo ensures that the woman has an increased need for nutrients, if these are not sufficiently absorbed, this can lead to hair loss in the pregnant woman, e.g. due to iron deficiency.
In the event of hair loss during pregnancy, you should therefore consult your doctor as soon as possible in order to avoid undersupply of the child.
Perhaps you have already guessed it from your own experience: Stress can cause hair loss, at least if it lasts for a long time. Even if you think you’re great at dealing with high, constant levels of stress, your head of hair may prove you wrong.
The cause of hair loss due to stress is basically also hormonal and genetic: in stressful situations, our body ensures the increased release of male sex hormones, which in turn can restrict hair growth with the appropriate predisposition.
The way we live plays a major role in the health of our bodies. The first signs of an unhealthy lifestyle are often first seen on the skin and hair. Diffuse hair loss in particular is in many cases due to an unbalanced diet or other pollutants in our body.
The deficient supply of vitamins and trace elements also impair hair growth. The activity of the hair roots can be impaired, especially with a lack of iron, zinc, vitamins B and C or biotin and thus lead to hair loss.
In addition to a permanently unbalanced diet, crash diets or smoking can also lead to hair loss. Smokers suffer more quickly from circulatory disorders, in particular the fine blood vessels that supply the hair roots with nutrients can suffer.
Depending on the cause of the hair loss, appropriate therapies can be initiated to promote hair growth. First of all, for a reliable diagnosis, you should consult a doctor who specializes in diagnosing hair loss.
If the hair loss is irreversible and the significantly thinned hair is a strong psychological burden, hair transplantation is also a good option. Prerequisite: There are still enough of your own hair roots to transplant them.
Do you already have a diagnosis of your hair loss and would you like advice on a hair transplant?
Make your appointment with our Medprime Clinic, which has many years of experience in hair transplantation for Women.