Female Hair Loss
All women experience a gradual loss of hair as they grow older. Many women may be surprised to see what the normal loss of 100-125 hairs per day would actually look like if they could hold all those hairs at one time. However, some women experience hair loss and thinning that exceeds the normal expectations.
What is Female Hair Loss
Pattern alopecia (female hair loss), affects approximately one-third of all women and is often caused by hormonal changes and imbalances. It can begin as early as puberty, when hormones begin their first major reorganization and production periods. It is most commonly seen in women after menopause, again due to the changes in their hormone levels. For these same reasons, hair loss and thinning can occur after other hormone-altering events such as after pregnancy, after ending hormone replacement therapy, or discontinuing birth control pills. There may also be a period of hair loss after some great physical or psychological stress. Some of these changes in hormone levels are temporary and will eventually balance out on their own. In these cases, the hair loss is also temporary and will grow back in a matter of months up to a year. Hair loss and thinning can also occur as an allergic reaction, usually seen as specific bald spots on the head. This usually corrects itself, and can be hastened by cortisone shots to the scalp.
Most often, women with female hair loss experience a gradual thinning of hair. It is usually seen primarily on the top and front of the head, with the thin area narrowing towards the back of the crown. It is not necessary for a woman to be completely bald to be considered as having female alopecia. There is often a short layer of “peach fuzz” that will grow in place of the lost hairs.
A variety of treatment options are available that can help slow female hair loss or make other hairs thicker and coarser. Many people start with topical minoxidil (Rogaine). Other medications for treating hair loss have formulations that are most beneficial for women at different points in their lives, for instance, whether or not they have experienced menopause yet. Some medications work to achieve a hormonal balance and restore normal hair growth. Certain hair loss and thinning candidates can see good results with hair replacement surgeries that have come a long way in the last few years. Otherwise, cosmetic options can help disguise any thinning.