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Women Hair Loss - the Causes and Treatments Are Discussed

Jul 14, 2008
There is a general belief that hair loss only happens to men. Women are expected by society to carry a full head of hair all their lives. People believe that men are the only ones susceptible to hair thinning or balding, especially if there is a family history.

Hair loss statistics, however, can disprove this theory. A survey done by the American Academy of Dermatology shows that at least 30 million women are facing hair loss issues in the United States. Another study published in Dermatologic Surgery says that a lot of young and middle-aged women suffer from hair loss problems. Moreover, the incidence of female hair loss is continually increasing.

Causes of Women Hair Loss

But what causes hair loss in women? To best understand that, it is important to know the hair growth cycle. Scientists say that our hair usually grows at the rate of half an inch a month. This growing phase, called Anagen, usually lasts for two years but it can last as long as six years. After this long period of growth, the Catagen phase comes. This is the transitional period in which the hair stops growing. Finally, Telogen occurs, which is the last resting stage of the hair. This lasts for about five to six weeks. Near the end of Telogen, new strands of hair in the Anagen phase develop and pushes out the old Telogen hair. Around 90 percent of our hair are in Anagen, while the remaining 10 percent are in Telogen.

In those with a genetic predisposition to hair loss, hormones called androgens interfere with the normal hair growth cycle. These androgens are found in men in large amounts and in women in smaller amounts. When testosterone, an androgen, comes in contact with the enzymes found in our hair, it is converted to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), an androgen that disturbs the hair growth cycle. DHT induces hair loss since its build up causes hair follicles to shrink and eventually die. For a long time, scientists believed that this is the cause of balding for both men and women.

However, more experts now believe that other types of enzymes and hormones are involved in female balding. What gave rise to this new theory is the difference in the balding pattern between men and women. In females, balding begins at the top of the head and spreads out. In males, however, balding occurs in the different spots - the crown, sides, and back of the head. Moreover, it has been found that male hair loss is usually the result of family history. With women, hair loss can occur at any point of their lives.

Treatments for Women Hair Loss

Thus, hair treatments for women are different than those for men. Hair loss drugs, such as finasteride or dutasteride, are commonly prescribed for men. Hair treatments for women, on the other hand, lean more on surgical procedures, such as hair transplantation, and other methods, such as hair extending or weaving. This is because prescription drugs usually have harmful side effects on pregnant or potentially pregnant women; they may bring about deformities in male fetuses. It is thus recommended that permanent hair loss in women be treated through hair weaving (addition of hair by braiding synthetic or human hair to root of original hair) and hair transplantation (transferring bald-resistant scalp areas to a bald area). But before you consider any procedure for hair loss treatment, it is a must to consult your physician.
About the Author
For more information, kindly visit Hair Loss Treatments. Related topics: DHT and Hair Loss and Treatment for Thinning Hair and Massive Hair Loss.
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