Hair loss is a common occurrence for women. Approximately 45% of women will experience hair loss during their lifetime. The causes of hair loss are largely genetic, but some medical conditions can also cause hair loss, including iron deficiency, thyroid disease, and changes in hormone levels. When a woman reaches menopause, the female hormone estrogen no longer acts as a counterbalance to the male hormones, causing hair loss.
Stress-related hair loss
The first sign of stress-related hair loss is falling out of your hair faster. This problem can also cause hair pulling and is known as trichotillomania. Thankfully, there are ways to manage stress and regrow your hair. You can try limiting your stress or use topical medications. You may also consider starting a hobby. A healthy lifestyle and a balance between work and play can help prevent stress-related hair loss.
During stressful events, your body produces substances that disrupt your hair follicle’s normal growth cycle. One of those substances is cortisol, which interferes with hair follicle function. When you experience this reaction, your hair snaps out of the growth phase and heads into the shedding phase. It doesn’t lead to hair loss immediately, but over time, it can lead to premature balding.
Hereditary hair loss
Despite the genetic predisposition, hereditary hair loss can be cured and is often reversible. Hair consists of keratin, a protein that contains a number of chemical substances. These include calcium, copper, zinc, iron, and a small amount of fat. To promote healthy hair growth, everyone should eat adequate amounts of protein. Protein is found in foods such as meat, grains, and dried beans. However, the lack of these nutrients can lead to hair loss.
The progress of hair loss is dependent on the length of each strand and the amount of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a male hormone and distant cousin of testosterone. Those genetically predisposed to this condition are more likely to experience accelerated hair loss. Hair loss begins with the appearance of a patch on the scalp and progresses to a complete baldness. Although balding may appear abruptly, hair loss may be gradual.
Pattern hair loss
Almost every woman will experience female pattern baldness at some point in their life. It can start at any age after puberty, but usually begins during or around menopause. The risk for female pattern baldness increases with age, and is higher in women with a family history of hair loss. If you are experiencing hair loss, consult a medical professional to find out what the best treatment options are for you. You can also use a hair-pull test to find out what is causing your loss.
Treatment for male and female pattern baldness includes pharmacologic medications and topical therapies. Pharmacologic treatments can delay hair loss and promote hair regrowth. Early recognition of hair loss and its effects can help patients preserve their hair. Prevention is also the key to slowing the progression of hair loss. Whether it is a hormone-related alopecia or an underlying cause, early treatment may help preserve your hair.
Hair transplant surgery
After years of trying various solutions to combat hair loss, many people are finally willing to undergo hair transplant surgery. Generally, this procedure is performed in a doctor’s office. An anesthetic is applied to the scalp, and the surgeon will then remove a strip of six to ten inches of hair from the back of the head. He will then split the strip into tiny pieces called grafts, and transplant them to the balding area. The procedure can take anywhere from four to eight hours.
The surgeon will use a scalpel to make a long incision in the recipient area. Then, he or she will separate the harvested scalp into small sections to ensure that the newly transplanted hair will grow in a natural manner. This method is called follicular unit extraction. During this procedure, the surgeon makes hundreds to thousands of tiny punch incisions in the scalp, allowing the hair follicles to be transplanted.