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Female Hair Loss: What Causes It?

Apr 1, 2008
Contrary to what most men believe, women suffer from female hair loss, too. The truth is, women also experience depleted scalps. Female hair loss is very much a reality.

Female Pattern Baldness

Female pattern baldness or androgenetic alopecia is the medical term for female hair loss. Surprisingly it has been discovered that in America, the ratio of women who have it those who don't is 1:4. Although female hair loss can't kill in itself as a condition, it can be troubling.

Beauty magazines and the society in general always portray women as the gender with full heads and flowing beautiful hair. A woman who has a condition of female hair loss would therefore be seen as unusual.

Normal Hair Cycle

In a normal hair cycle, the growth is characterized by hair resting and growing phases. In the anagen or growing phase, the hair develops healthily for a couple of years. After this, it will enter the telogen phase in which it will begin to rest for a number of months before falling off. Normally, 80%-90% of the hair is in the anagen phase, leaving only a comparatively small fraction in the telogen and shedding phase.

Women experiencing hair loss a lot more than 10% of their hair strands are in the telogen phase. In female hair loss, something disturbs the normal cycle.

Cause of Female Hair Loss

- Hormonal Changes - Hormones play a big part in female hair loss. As some of us already know, both men and women have testosterone, a hormone which men normally have more of. In androgenetic alopecia, this hormone is acted upon by enzymes in the scalp that convert it into dihydrotestosteron (DHT).

The DHT causes the hair follicles to shrink, which eventually will result to loss of hair and inability to grow new strands. In women, the action of DHT is regulated by the hormone estrogen. Female hair loss therefore normally occurs when a woman is in a state of hormonal imbalance. This can happen when a woman is in the menopausal stage or when she has just given birth. The condition can also strike when a woman is receiving hormonal treatment for an illness.

Pattern of Hair Loss

There is a marked difference in appearance for hair loss in women and in men. Men usually develop bald spots. We are very much familiar with men eventually losing all hair strands on a particular area such as the top of the scalp. Female hair loss however is different. Women usually only have diffuse balding. This means that there is an observed general thinning of the hair strands resulting in some parts of the scalp becoming more noticeable through the remaining strands. A woman who develops bald spots like men may have a more serious condition that deserves medical attention.

Hair Loss Solution

There are now a variety of products for female hair loss. Now that you know what causes the condition, the best solution is to find a product that can provide extra nutritional support to the female scalp and hair. Nutrients that have been discovered to be good for female hair loss are vitamin B6, biotin and magnesium. Of course, it also makes sense to take care of your health through proper diet and good lifestyle habits.
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