Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Female Hair Loss

It is a common belief that baldness is a predominantly male problem. Not so. Hair loss doesn't spare anyone and female hair loss is as common as its male counterpart, although to a lesser extent. Androgenetic alopecia among women is known female pattern hair loss. It is visible as hair thinning predominantly over the top and sides of the head. Approximately one-third of all vulnerable women may suffer from female pattern hair loss . It can affect many as early as teenage years. But after menopause the risk of hair loss in women increases manifold.

Women lose approximately 100 - 125 individual hair strands per day, which is considered normal. Usually, these hairs are replaced within the normal hair growth cycle. True hair loss occurs when lost hairs are not re-grown or when daily hair fall exceeds 125 hairs. Hereditarily, hair loss can come from both parents side of the family.

The main causes of female baldness are:

Physical stress: medical surgery, serious illness, rapid weight change.
Emotional stress: death in family, mental disorder.
Thyroid irregularity.
Hormonal causes: pregnancy, birth control pills, menopause.
Medications: excessive doses of vitamin A, hypertension medications.

Reversal of these causes will lead to hair growth. The following brief facts further explain the causes of female pattern hair loss:

Physical-Emotional Stress
Surgeries, severe illnesses and emotional stress can cause hair loss. The body simply cannot cope with the pressure and shuts down production of hair during periods of stress since it is not life threatening. Instead, it redeploys its energies toward repair and rebuilding of vital body constitutions. There is usually about a three month interval between the stressful event and the start of hair loss. Similarly, it may take about three month before hair re-growth is noticeable. This means that the total hair loss and re-growth cycle can last approximately 6 - 9 months or possibly longer when induced by physical or emotional stress. There are other less apparent health conditions which may go undetected that can contribute to hair loss. These include anemia or low blood count and thyroid abnormalities. These conditions can be detected by a simple, inexpensive blood test.

Diet Considerations
Dieting is becoming increasingly common among men too. Commercial diet programs which are designed or administered under the direction of a physician with prescribed meals, dietary supplements and vitamin ingestion are fashionable. Sometimes, dieters are advised to supplement certain vitamins to the program to prevent hair loss. Skin experts disagree, however, as most dermatologists believe vitamins cannot prevent hair loss associated with rapid, significant weight loss. Furthermore, many of these supplements are high in vitamin A, which can accelerate and magnify hair loss.