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15 Factors of Hair Loss and How to Treat it in Women

15 Factors of Hair Loss and How to Treat it in Women

Long hair of all kinds for most women is more than just a bundle of fibres. It is an expression of your style and personality. But if you start losing your hair, it can really freak you out.

This article comes from WebMD [S] and was reviewed by dermatologist Stephanie S. Gardner, MD and Mayo Clinic in the US [S].

How does hair grow?

Your scalp is home to about 100,000 hairs. Each one has its own life cycle. The follicle produces one hair that grows at a rate of half an inch per month.

It hangs there for 2 to 6 years, then stops for about a month. When the next cycle begins, this hair falls out. At any given time, most of your hair strands are in the growth phase.

What are the myths about hair loss?

Myths about hair loss are widespread. Nothing in the following list is true:

  1. Your hair is falling out because you shampoo it too much, or because you color it or get curly hair.
  2. Dandruff causes permanent hair loss in women.
  3. Stress causes permanent hair loss in women.
  4. If you shave your head, your hair will grow back twice its thickness.
  5. If you stand on your head it will increase blood circulation and stimulate hair growth.
  6. If you comb your hair 100 times a day it will make your hair healthier.
  7. Hats and wigs cause hair loss in women.
  8. Hair loss affects educated women only.

How much hair loss is normal?

Most people shed about 50-100 strands each day. Don't worry if you find a few in your hairbrush or on your clothes. But if it starts falling out in lumps or if you notice it's getting thinner over time, see your doctor.

What are the causes of hair loss?

There is no single reason. Triggers range from medical conditions up to 30 - to stress and lifestyle factors, like what you eat. Your genes play a role, too.

Sometimes doctors don't find a specific cause. As a starting point, hair loss experts suggest that you get tested for thyroid problems and hormonal imbalances. Hair often grows back once the cause is treated.

Can you measure hair loss?

Yes really. Doctors use the Savin scale. They range from natural hair density to a bald crown, which is rare.

The scale helps document female pattern baldness, a condition your doctor might call androgenetic alopecia.

You might know it as male pattern baldness, but it affects about 30 million American women. Experts believe genetics and aging play a role, along with the hormonal changes of menopause.

Your hair can become completely thin, with the greatest loss along the middle of the scalp.

See: 5 Tips to Remove a Splinter of Skin at Home

Factors of hair loss in women

Whether in the short or long term, women lose hair the same way men do. It may be thin all over, or your center may be expanding more and more.

You may even get a bald spot on the crown of your head. One thing women rarely have: a receding front hairline.

1. Thyroid problems

This butterfly-like gland at the front of your neck pumps out chemicals that keep your body buzzing. If your thyroid produces too much or too little thyroid hormone, your hair growth cycle may be affected.

But thin locks are rarely the only sign of a thyroid problem. You may lose or gain weight, become sensitive to cold or heat, or notice changes in your heart rate.

2. Genetic Condition

The most common cause of hair loss is a genetic condition that occurs with age. This condition is called androgenetic alopecia, male pattern baldness and female pattern baldness.

It usually occurs gradually and in predictable patterns. Receding hairline and baldness spots in men and thinning hair along the crown of the scalp in women.

3. Polycystic ovarian syndrome

If you have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), your hormones are always out of control. Your body produces more male hormones, or androgens, than it should.

This can cause excessive hair growth on your face and body while the hair on your head thins out.

PCOS can also lead to ovulation problems, acne and weight gain. But sometimes hair thinning is the only obvious sign.

4. Alopecia Areata

Alopecia areata causes hair loss in large patches. The culprit is your immune system, which mistakenly attacks healthy hair follicles. In most cases, the damage is not permanent.

The lost locks should grow back within 6 months to a year. Some people lose all their scalp and body hair, but this is rare.

5. Radiation therapy to the head

Hair may not grow back as before.

6. Ringworm

When ringworm affects your scalp, it causes a clear pattern of hair loss and itchy, round bald patches. It may also look scaly and red. Your doctor will treat it with antifungal medication.

It's easy to spread by direct contact, so check your family members for symptoms, too.

7. Childbirth and pregnancy

You may notice that your hair appears fuller during pregnancy. This is because high hormone levels prevent comfortable hair loss.

But after the baby comes, things are back to normal and those threads will fall off quickly.

You can lose a lot of hair at once. It can take up to two years for your locks to return to normal.

8. Pills

Hormones that suppress ovulation may cause your hair to thin. You likely have a family history of hair loss. It may happen when you stop taking the pill.

Other medications associated with hair loss include blood thinners and medications that treat high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis, and depression.

9. Severe diets

You may lose more than your weight by following a diet. And if you drop 15 pounds or more, you may also lose some hair after a few months.

Don't worry too much it will come back when you get back to a healthy diet. Be prepared to stop if you're getting too much vitamin A or not enough protein.

10. Hormonal changes and medical conditions

A variety of conditions can cause permanent or temporary hair loss, including hormonal changes due to pregnancy, childbirth, menopause and thyroid problems.

Medical conditions include alopecia areata, which is linked to the immune system and causes patchy hair loss, scalp infections such as ringworm, and a hair-pulling disorder called trichotillomania.

11. Tight hairstyles

It's not a myth: A tight ponytail roll can irritate your scalp and cause hair loss. The same goes for the use of narrow rollers. Leave your hair down, and it should grow naturally again. Know that long-term use of these styles can scar your scalp and lead to permanent hair loss.

12. Medicines and supplements

Hair loss can be a side effect of some medications, such as those used to treat cancer, arthritis, depression, heart problems, gout, and high blood pressure.

13. Cancer treatment

Chemotherapy and radiation, two of the most commonly used treatments, can affect your hair. In their quest to kill cancer cells, both can damage hair follicles and lead to significant hair loss.

But the damage is always short-lived. Once the treatment is finished, the hair usually grows back.

14. Hairstyles and treatments

Excessive hair styling or hairstyles that pull your hair tightly, such as pigtails or cornrows, can cause a type of hair loss called traction alopecia.

Hot oil hair treatments and its permanent ingredients can also cause hair loss. If scarring occurs, hair loss may be permanent.

15. Extreme stress

High level physical or emotional stress can cause massive amounts of hair to fall out suddenly. Examples include:

  • Serious illness or major surgery
  • Trauma involving blood loss
  • severe emotional distress

The process may last from 6 to 8 months.


Hair loss can appear in many different ways, depending on the cause. It can happen suddenly or gradually and affect your scalp or your entire body.

If your hair is expanding, you have bald spots, or more than 125 hairs are falling out per day, you are probably suffering from hair loss and need to see a dermatologist. There are two types of hair loss and many possible causes.

Although there is not much you can do to prevent hair loss, you may respond to treatment if you go to the dermatologist early!

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