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Most people are surprised to learn that 50% of women will suffer hair loss, in their lifetime. People tend to think of hair loss as a problem exclusive to men. Many women will not experience hair loss until their 50’s and 60’s, but the condition is nonetheless embarrassing and upsetting for the women who suffer from it. Some women begin losing hair much earlier, even within the teenage years.
For most women, the culprit is androgenetic alopecia. This means androgens (hormones) and genetics (heredity) are to blame for their hair loss. 30 million women in the U.S. are currently affected by androgenetic alopecia, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
Therefore, physicians will generally first suspect androgenetic alopecia as a cause for a female patient’s hair loss and will first look for signs of this disorder. The patient will be asked about family history of female hair loss. Did mom or grandma suffer from it?
Then, the physician will look at her hair under magnification. A key indicator of androgenetic alopecia is hairs that vary in thickness, as hair follicles slowly shrink away in this condition. If hair size is uniform, then another cause for hair loss is likely.
Some other less common causes for female hair loss include autoimmune diseases (like alopecia areata which attacks the hair follicles directly), psoriasis, polycystic ovary syndrome, aggressive hair treatments (colorations, perms, etc.), and a stressful lifestyle. Stress should be managed in healthy ways to help reduce its impact on the body. Exercise, meditation, and rest are recommended.
Dietary concerns are sometimes factors contributing to hair loss in women. Some of the culprits include protein deficiency or excess, vitamin or mineral deficiencies, and extreme dieting. Identifying any dietary contributors to hair loss can empower a woman to slow or, in some cases, stop her hair loss. Read More