What are some causes of hair loss in women?

Although hair loss in men may be seen more frequently, hair loss in women occurs and has many causes. These can range from things that temporarily affect the growth or resting state of hair shafts to conditions that can permanently create hair loss. Women can expect to lose around 100 hairs a day, but significantly more than this can be suggested by a number of factors. The main causes are hormonal imbalance, certain diseases, low or high levels of thyroid hormone, certain medications, lack of necessary nutrients, and stress.

Hair loss in women can sometimes be attributed to conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). This can produce higher than normal levels of the male androgen hormone. Sometimes the only symptom of PCOS is hair loss on the head, or it is combined with hair growth on the face.

Some women may have a genetic predisposition to early hair loss, which can start to show up in their 20s or 30s. This condition, female pattern baldness can result in hair that thins significantly in certain patterns, so more of the scalp is evident. This rarely results in complete baldness, but can result in very thin hair.

Another common cause of hair loss in women is thyroid hormone imbalance. This may be the most common cause, according to some health professionals, and may be missed if the imbalance is mild. Having too much or too little thyroid hormone can speed up hair loss, and sometimes women who haven't previously had hair loss will notice more hair loss when they start taking thyroid hormone. Others find that hair loss slows if they take thyroid medication.

Prolonged illnesses can create temporary hair loss in women, and this can occur up to three to four months after recovery. Diseases such as cancer that require radiation or chemotherapy will also cause temporary loss. Also, many women notice a significant increase in hair loss, especially when they wash their hair after being pregnant. This is common because pregnancy tends to reduce hair loss, and when the pregnancy ends, the body may shed a few extra hairs at first. The result shouldn't be noticeable to anyone else, though it may initially seem like you're losing a lot.

Other conditions that can cause hair loss include anemia and also diseases that routinely deprive the body of nutrients such as anorexia and bulimia. In fact, people who are on a diet, especially when they are not getting enough protein or iron, may notice significant hair loss. Another possible cause may be a lack of vitamin B12, which is difficult to obtain if you don't eat meat or meat by-products.

There are many medications that can cause hair loss in women. These include many antidepressants, blood pressure medications, high-dose birth control pills, and blood-thinning medications. Medical experts also point to stress as a potential cause. High-stress situations can lead to hair loss several months after a stressful event occurs.

Due to the numerous causes of hair loss in women, if you're experiencing significant hair loss and it's not just been through a stressful situation or been pregnant, it's a good idea to talk to your doctor. Many of the above conditions require treatment, and not just to address hair loss. If you have a poor diet, are anemic, or have low thyroid levels, this can have an impact on your body and your future health. Consider making an appointment with your doctor to look at possible causes and get treatment if necessary.

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