Hair loss in women: causes, treatment and prevention
Have you ever wondered what’s behind hair loss in women? You’re not the only one with this question in mind! After all, many people seek to understand the issue better because they deal with it daily and suffer impacts on self-esteem, self-confidence and even quality of life.
For this reason, we have prepared this post that will help you understand what hair loss means, why it happens, if it is possible to avoid it and what should be done to enhance the health of your hair. Keep on reading to find out!
WHAT IS HAIR LOSS?
First, it is necessary to understand that hair loss in women is not the same thing as female pattern baldness. In the former, there is, indeed, hair shedding. However, this happens because of the hair growth cycle itself, which is divided into three phases: anagen, catagen and telogen.
Female pattern baldness, in turn, is a disease that affects women and causes excessive hair loss without having the hair going through its natural growth cycle. That is, when it sheds, it is not replaced by new strands.
Because of this, one or more areas of the head are exposed, leaving the skin exposed, increasing entrances in the temples and stretching the forehead. Baldness does not have a single specific cause, but it can be treated.
HOW MUCH HAIR LOSS IS NORMAL?
There is no difference between men and women when it comes to the amount of hair that sheds naturally on a daily basis. This is highlighted by an article published in the Virtual Health Library (BVS) of the Ministry of Health from Brazil.
Both can lose about 50 to 100 strands every 24 hours, which is about 350 to 700 strands in a week. Yes, we understand that these numbers seem high at first glance, which inevitably generates concern about the health of your locks.
However, remember what we talked about in the previous topic: shedding is not only normal but also a necessary step for hair renewal. Therefore, it is important to see this as a natural process, without resorting to miraculous recipes on the internet that promise (falsely, by the way) to stop hair loss.
WHY IS SO MUCH HAIR FALLING OUT?
“What if I notice that my hair is falling out in great volume? What should I do?” you may be wondering. After all, some women realize that:
In such cases, it’s important to observe when you’ve noticed this dramatic increase in hair loss and if there’s been any change in your routine that might be associated with it.
For example, wearing very tight hairstyles, re-dyeing the hair, having a very restrictive diet or simply advancing age. From there, the next step is to consult a dermatologist so that they can examine the condition of your scalp and hair.
After this evaluation and the completion of complementary tests (such as blood tests), the doctor will be able to identify if the shedding is natural or if there is any health alteration that, among other symptoms, is causing this problem. This way, it is possible to start the right treatment considering your needs and your singularities.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN CAUSES OF HAIR LOSS IN WOMEN?
Illnesses, physiological changes or even psycho-emotional states can be behind hair loss in women. Sometimes, only one of these factors is involved. In others, several of them happen at the same time.
Besides, certain habits of hygiene and hair care can also be directly or indirectly related to the problem. That is why it is so important to consult a dermatologist to precisely define your case.
In the following section, we gathered some of the most common causes so you can stay on top of them and understand how each influences your hair’s health. Check them out!
EXCESSIVE HAIRSTYLE CHANGES
Changing your look is great, as it boosts your self-esteem and your sense of self-fulfillment. No wonder that changes in our image usually accompany important moments in life.
However, when there are so many changes in a short period involving hair dye, straightening and other chemical processes, this can become a severe problem for the health of your hair.
The reason behind this is simple: excessive contact with chemicals — some even with high toxic potential — can damage not only the strands, but the roots of your hair, causing it to become thinner and more brittle.
You can already imagine the result: the hair fall process is accelerated, simultaneously interrupting their anagen and catagen phases.
WASHING HAIR INCORRECTLY
Some do not wash their hair as often as they should throughout the week, and those who do might not wash it properly.
In both cases, this aggravates hair loss because various impurities become concentrated in the scalp, like sebum produced by the sebaceous glands, local desquamation, city pollution and hair products residues (hairspray, cream, mousse, oil, etc.).
All this creates a barrier that blocks the hair follicles, preventing the growth of both existing and new hair. Therefore, the shedding becomes more intense, and you start to notice that the locks are thinning out, losing volume and getting weak.
When we go through recurrent periods of stress in our personal or professional life, we experience an increase in a hormone called cortisol in our body. In large amounts, it is responsible for several problems, such as gastritis, insomnia, acne and even hair loss.
That’s why it’s so important to slow down, get involved in physical activities and have a balanced diet to contain this hormone and prevent it from damaging your immune system and your quality of life in the long run.
When we talk about anemia, it is natural to immediately think of fatigue, drowsiness, and paleness — well-known symptoms of this disease. However, it is also capable of generating other effects, such as hair loss.
This is because the reduction in the amount of hemoglobin in the blood, which is a characteristic of this disease, reduces the number of nutrients transported from the blood to organs, tissues and systems. Therefore, the hair is also affected, receiving fewer minerals, vitamins and proteins than it needs to grow healthy hair.
That’s why the hair may start to fall more, because the strands that grow are increasingly fragile, breaking with a simple brushing or tying, for example.
As you know, pregnancy is a unique period in a woman’s life. During those nine months, she experiences a series of bodily changes, mainly hormonal ones, related to the baby’s formation.
However, a diet without good nutritional support may not provide the necessary nutrients for the development of the fetus and, in parallel, the maintenance of your health — which also inevitably includes hair health.
In addition, high concentrations of estrogen and progesterone can contribute to altering your hair’s entire structure, making it more opaque and brittle.
Another cause that we have to mention is related to hormonal and metabolic changes. That is, deregulation in the organs responsible for the production of hormones necessary for the correct functioning of the body, which is the case of the thyroid, pancreas, ovaries and pituitary gland.
The excess or lack of hormones produced by them (such as thyroxine, stimulating follicle, insulin, progesterone, etc.) can cause diseases with a common symptom: hair loss. If this is your case, the dermatologist will not treat you alone. You will need follow-up treatment with a dermatologist and an endocrinologist.
POLYCYSTIC OVARY SYNDROME (PCOS)
Many women deal with polycystic ovary syndrome, a disorder that compromises the menstrual cycle and the hormonal production of the ovaries.
The condition is responsible for various symptoms ranging from the development of melasma and acne to hair loss and hair growth in other regions of the body. Having a diagnosis is essential for it to be adequately treated and its effects minimized in the short and long term.
MENTAL HEALTH CONDITIONS
Apart from the mentioned causes that contribute to hair loss in women, it is also important to mention mental disorders, such as generalized anxiety, panic syndrome and depression.
Such problems have been affecting more and more people and, although they are psychological, they can cause a series of physiological effects. Among them are weight gain or loss, nausea, tachycardia, uncontrolled sweating, decreased immunity and hair loss itself.
Not to mention that these disorders also affect the way you eat, which can become very restrictive or compulsive. This, in turn, impacts the absorption of nutrients present in food, as it triggers gastrointestinal disorders.
HOW CAN I PREVENT MY HAIR FROM FALLING OUT?
As we have mentioned, it is not possible to prevent hair from falling out. However, you can strengthen it, contributing to healthier growth and keeping shedding under control, without excesses that can make you lose your sleep.
To do so, in addition to regular follow-up with a dermatologist, you can put some tips into practice. Check them out:
CAN HAIR GROW BACK AFTER TRIMMING?
Trimming the strands is a common practice for many women. After all, removing the volume makes it possible to change the look without necessarily modifying the adopted haircut. However, if you are afraid to resort to trimming for fear that it will lead to hair loss, don’t worry! There is no relation between these two things.
As you have read, hair loss in women is a natural process. However, other factors can be related to the excess in hair loss, compromising the hair growth cycle. Therefore, it is essential to identify the cause of the problem to ensure that your locks are always healthy and beautiful.
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