Initially, the problem of hair loss in women was believed to be uncommon. However, recent studies reveal that the problem has spread widely in the fair sex as well. Just like men experience hair loss, balding in women is also becoming quite common. Although the hair loss pattern in men and women is not the same, the effects can be very devastating for the latter. There are a number of reasons why women are losing hair. Some reasons could be hormonal, while others could be due to mineral deficiencies. Understanding the causes of hair loss can help you to diagnose the exact problem and take steps to prevent it or at least reduce its severity. Read on to find the causes of balding in women.
What Causes Hair Loss In A Woman
Genetic Hair Loss
Women can experience genetic hair loss, which can be inherited from either mother’s or father’s side of the family. There are basically two enzymes that cause hair loss, namely, 5-a reductase and aromatase. The hair thins along the crown, but does not necessarily result in complete loss of hair or balding.
Drugs such as blood thinners, blood pressure medications, birth control pills, chemotherapy drugs, anti-depressants and thyroid medications can cause hair loss in women. Such kind of hair loss is called ‘telogen effivvium’ and takes place after several months of being in a resting state. The hair loss can be stopped by discontinuing the medication.
The most common cause of balding in women is menopause. Women experience low thyroid function during the menopausal period, which results in thinning of hair. Since ovulation decreases in menopausal women, the body’s steroid levels increase and cause male-pattern baldness in women.
Hormonal imbalance is also one of the main causes of baldness in women. The same hormone that causes pattern baldness in men could be responsible for hair loss in women too. The hormone called ‘dihydrotestosterone’ or DHT is a byproduct of testosterone, which occurs naturally in both men and women. DHT prevents the hair follicle from producing new hair.
Alopecia areta is a condition in which the whole body loses hair, especially the scalp area. This condition is more common in women, as compared to men. The scalp loses hair in patches and in certain cases; it can result in a completely bald scalp as well.
High levels of emotional stress or experiencing a traumatic event is yet another important cause of hair loss. Stress due to surgery or the effects of anesthesia can also affect hair loss.
Lack of certain essential vitamins and minerals also leads to thinning of hair in women. A diet that does not contain protein, zinc and fatty acids causes temporary loss of hair. Often, women follow a strict diet and lose weight too rapidly, which causes balding due to lack of essential nutrients.
Women often subject their hair to everyday stressors that can lead to hair loss. Such causes include harsh shampoos, hair coloring, hair bleaching, permanent waves, frequent use of blow dryers, curling irons and other heated appliances, and frequent wearing of tight ponytails, braids and other hair restraints.
Other causes of balding in women include anemia, anorexia, bulimia, excess vitamin A, fungal infections, and zinc or fatty acid deficiency.