Unlike men, the most common causes for Hair loss is quite diverse. If you are a woman experiencing hair loss it could save you time, money and a great deal of frustration. Contained herein are all you need to know about the hair loss conditions that predominantly affect women.
Female Pattern Baldness(FPB)
Female pattern hair loss is the most common condition that we see and treat in women. Whilst genetic thinning and baldness is more common in men, tens of thousands of women in the region suffer from female pattern hair loss. However, it affects the genders differently. While men experience 'vertex balding' and/or 'receding frontal hairline', women with female pattern hair loss generally experience 'diffused thinning', generally throughout the top of the head or crown.
Female pattern hair loss usually begins at around the age of 30 and even as early as in the 20s or earlier. The thinning hair usually becomes noticeable around age 40, and may be even more noticeable after menopause. By the age of 50, 50% of women will experience some degree of hair thinning from female pattern hair loss or another condition such as Diffuse Hair Loss or Telogen Effluvium.
Female pattern hair loss is often an overall thinning - two hairs where five used to be, rather than a bald area on top of the head like men. Women sometimes have a receding hairline too. Temporary conditions such as pregnancy, medication, diet, or stress can cause hair thinning, but 70% of women who experience this condition can attribute it to Androgenetic Alopecia, or Female Pattern Hair Loss. The signs and symptoms of female pattern hair loss are general thinning of hair over the top of head and moderate loss of hair on the crown or hairline.
Diffuse Hair Loss
Diffuse Hair Loss is another name for Chronic Telogen Effluvium. It involves an increased rate of hair fall and subsequent thinning from all over the scalp. Whilst the hair appears thinner, there is no loss of follicles. Diffuse hair loss causes a fairly even amount of shedding all over the scalp, making the hair appear thinner due to this excessive hair fall. Whereas, regular Telogen Effluvium is a temporary hair loss condition, Chronic Telogen Effluvium is more prolonged, lasting more than six months. This hair loss condition is seen most frequently in women, although Diffuse Hair Loss can also present in men.
There are a number of reasons that diffuse hair loss may occur.It could be any of the following: a lack of certain nutrients, stress, or as a side effect of illnesses such as anaemia and thyroid conditions.
Telogen Effluvium occurs when sudden or severe stress causes an increase in the shedding of the hair. A sudden or stressful event can cause certain hair follicles to prematurely stop growing and enter into the telogen (resting) phase. The hairs affected by Telogen Effluvium will then stay in the resting phase for about three months after which time they will shed. Often the person experiencing Telogen Effluvium will have recovered from the event before the hair loss occurs. In most cases of Telogen Effluvium, the hair loss is temporary and the hair soon recovers. However, in some cases of Telogen Effluvium the hair loss continues until the underlying cause is resolved.
Alopecia areata is characterised by sudden patchy loss of hair, which is due to many follicles prematurely and rapidly entering the telogen (resting) phase. The cause of Alopecia Areata is unknown but this type of Alopecia falls into the category of autoimmune disorders. Alopecia Areata is relatively common and can affect as many as one person in a thousand at some time in their life. Occasionally, Alopecia areata becomes very widespread and severe and develops into Alopecia Totalis or Alopecia Universalis. Alopecia Areata is considered by some to have an autoimmune mechanism but there may be an external trigger such as a sudden shock or extreme stress.
What are the Initiating Factors for Alopecia Areata?
The triggers that promotes the onset of Alopecia Areata hair loss is unknown. There are several suggested factors that may influence the course of Alopecia Areata. They are:
• Psychological long-term chronic stress
• Shock and sudden extreme stress
• Physical trauma
• Local skin injury
• Genetic predisposition
• Viral/bacterial infection
• Seasonal changes
Traction Alopecia is a type of hair loss caused by excessive amounts of tension being placed on the hair shafts. This causes the hair to be pulled and can damage the follicle. Over long periods of time under these circumstances, Traction Alopecia will cause the production of hair to slow down and finally cease. Hairstyles that place the roots of the hair under constant pressure are the main cause of Traction Alopecia. These include tightly-fitting hair extensions, weaves, hairpieces and tautly woven styles like braids and cornrows. Traction Alopecia generally affects the hairline, causing hair loss around the front of the scalp and at the temples. Due to the nature of the hairstyles that tend to cause Traction Alopecia, this hair loss condition is predominantly seen in women. However, men who wear their hair in tight braids, dreadlocks or sport hair extensions are also susceptible to Traction Alopecia.