HAIR LOSS IN WOMEN
Hair Loss In Women, Causes and Solutions for Female Hair Loss Treatment
Female Pattern Baldness
Women, like men can inherit baldness from their parents, this determines the distribution of the hair follicles affected. If you’re thinking “My mother and grandmother had thin hair – I am doomed!” You must also consider if your mother and grandmother had health issues or took medications which may have caused their hair thinning, rather than residing yourself to female pattern baldness.
Androgenetic Alopecia in women is due to an increase in androgens (male hormones), following a decrease in female hormones during or following the menopause, in combination with a predisposed sensitivity of the hair follicle to androgens. Some women suffer androgenic alopecia before the menopause due to polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Androgenetic alopecia in women does not normally result in extensive baldness as with men, but the hair density can become quite poor.
The associated symptoms of androgenic / androgenetic alopecia in women can help determine the diagnosis. In younger women supposedly diagnosed with female pattern baldness one would expect to see some of the symptoms below:
- Excess facial hair growth.
- Excess body hair growth.
- Oily skin / hair.
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).
If you have none of the above it’s unlikely you have this condition. Tests for PCOS and high testosterone levels can be carried out by your GP to aid the differential diagnosis. It is also possible to have female pattern baldness and Chronic Telogen Effluvium at the same time.
Chronic Telogen Effluvium
The most common form of hair loss in younger women: Chronic Telogen Effluvium (long term diffuse hair loss), is an increase in hair loss and decrease in hair thickness over a long period of time. You may have always seen excessive hair in the brush or shower and considered it normal.
It’s only when your scalp becomes visible or your ponytail thickness reduces you may ask ‘why is my hair falling out’ and start investigating – which is probably why you’re reading this now!
Approximately 30% of pre-menopausal women are affected by Female hair loss in the UK, so if you think your hair is thinning, you’re not alone! Stopping Female hair loss and regaining hair thickness, depends on establishing the true cause and dealing with it as quickly as possible.
What Causes Chronic Telogen Effluvium?
Often combinations of problems contribute to female hair loss. Women are increasingly under greater stress: high-pressure jobs, juggling work and family life thus leaving less time to consider their own health and well-being. Stress ‘burns off’ vital nutrients such as B vitamins which are vital for good hair quality and growth.
Low Iron (Ferritin) and Female Hair Loss
One of the most common causes of hair loss in women, without doubt, is low Iron stores. A large majority of the women who consult a Trichologist have below optimum Iron stores for good hair growth. A study conducted on 1000 women revealed 33% suffered female hair loss, 90% caused by low Iron stores and 10% caused by Genetic (female pattern baldness) or other factors.
Low B12 and Hair Loss
Low B12 – another cause of hair loss in women which is frequently missed by GP’s. It’s not a routine blood test and even when a person is tested for B12, if the result is borderline they will rarely be treated. The minimum level for B12 is around 180 ng/l however most healthy people have a level of around 500ng/l. Symptoms of low B12 often occur when blood level drops below 300 ng/l and include hair loss, breathlessness, lack of energy palpitations, bleeding gums, mouth ulcers, tingling in the hands and feet.
There are two types of B12 deficiency:
- Lack of dietary B12 – usually vegetarians and vegans. B12 is mostly found in animal produce rather than plants. Solution – increase dietary B12 or/and take a B12 supplement.
- Autoimmune – Antibodies to intrinsic factor prevent absorption of dietary B12. A blood test for intrinsic factor can be carried out to determine if your problem is dietary or autoimmune. If your problem is auto immune your GP will do further investigation to try to determine why it has developed. Treatment – lifelong B12 injections.
An experienced Trichologist can help you to get to the root of your problem and recommend the best course of action. Hair loss in Women is one of the most common problems seen at The Cotswold Trichology Centre.
Suffering from Hair Loss?
In female hair loss, the Savin Scale measures overall thinning and hair density. Compare your own hair to the charts to determine which stage of hair thinning you are closest to. If you think you are suffering from Female Hair Loss Contact the Cotswold Trichology Centre to arrange a consultation with our expert Trichologist Sally-Ann Tarver. Or call the clinic today on 01386 421703 for an appointment.