Every human being loses hair. You may notice hairs that have fallen out on your garments or in your comb or hairbrush. Commonly, a person loses about 50 to 100 hair strands each day that is regular. What is not common? If your hair starts to fall out in clusters, particularly when you brush or comb it or are in the shower, you should get to your doctor. If you notice that you can see superior areas of your scalp or that your hair is diminishing, see the dermatologist for finding and handling of your hair loss condition.
Hair loss is a very common condition that affects most of men and women of all age groups at a certain point in their lives.
There are different types of hair loss and the very first step in treating the condition is to diagnose the specific type and its cause so that proper treatment can be given timely.
Here, we put down the different types of hair loss in women and the symptoms, causes, and treatment of each of these types:
What are the common types of hair loss in women and how they can be treated?
Most women experience the different types of hair loss several times in their lives and it commonly occurs after pregnancy, while taking stress/anxiety or as a result of taking certain medications. Moreover, any therapy or medication such as contraceptives, chemotherapy etc. can also make changes in female hormones, thereby triggering the loss of hairs.
“Alopecia” is a medical term that is used to describe a condition of extensive and long-lasting hair loss.
The most common forms of hair loss in women include:
- Androgenetic alopecia
- Telogen effluvium
- Anagen Effluvium
- Traction alopecia
Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA):
Symptoms: Androgenetic alopecia is also called “female pattern hair loss”. It is characterized by the thinning of hair that spreads on all areas of the scalp.
Causes: For AGA, one of the major causes of hair loss in women is the presence of a less amount of male hormones called “androgens” in women. Male hormone “dihydrotestosterone (DHT)” causes some of the hair follicles to become shorter to such an extent that they eventually disappear. Another cause of AGA is the heredity but hormonal activity also triggers the condition. The examples of hormonal changes that are involved with this type are pregnancy, ovarian cysts, menopause, and such birth control methods that have a great androgen index.
Treatment: Different treatment options are available for AGA that includes both surgical and non-surgical hair replacement procedures.
Telogen Effluvium (TE):
Symptoms: Another most common form of female hair loss is telogen effluvium. At first, thinning of hair appears on the scalp and this thinning can be on one area or all over the scalp. Mostly, it affects the top area of the scalp. Very rarely, it affects the hairline. It is very unlikely that it will cause all hair to lose.
Causes: Telogen effluvium usually begins when the body experienced any traumatic event such as any major surgery or childbirth or malnutrition. When trauma happens, it causes the transition of hair follicles from the “resting phase (telogen)” to the “shedding phase” that result in hair loss. Normally, a healthy scalp has 10% to 20% hair follicles in the resting phase at any time. Apart from trauma, other triggers include certain medications and environmental factors.
Treatment: It is important to detect the underlying cause of TE in order to effectively treat it. If the underlying cause is any trauma or event, hair growth can normally resume within several months when the body and the mind start to recover. If loss of hair continues and the cause couldn’t be identified, treatment is given in the form of hair growth stimulator to stop TE from regenerating.
Anagen Effluvium (AE):
Symptoms: Anagen effluvium is another form of female hair loss. In this condition, hair loss can happen more quickly and drastically such that hair may fall out in clumps. Fortunately, AE can be reversible like TE.
Causes: AE occurs when something impedes the metabolic activity of hair follicles. It is commonly linked with chemotherapy and affects the hairs when they are in “active phase (anagen)”. When chemotherapy begins, 90% or even more of hairs fall out when they are in the anagen phase. A narrowed hair shaft affected with AE breaks that result in the loss of hair.
Treatment: When chemotherapy stopped, the normal growth of hair begins within a few months. During chemotherapy, there are various options that women can get such as wear wigs to make them look nice.
Symptoms: This type of female hair loss occurs when hair follicles are traumatized or damaged due to tight hairstyles.
At first, the condition shows like little bumps or pimples on the scalp. When it progresses, it shows the symptom of broken and missing hairs. It mostly affects the hairs on the front and sides of the scalp. Other areas may also affect depending on the hairstyle. The symptoms of traction alopecia are different from other forms of alopecia in the sense that only those hairs are affected that are been pulled repeatedly.
Causes: When hairs are too tightly pulled back repeatedly, it loosens the shaft of hair in its follicle and when the follicle becomes damaged, it cannot produce new hair. The tight hairstyles that commonly produce traction alopecia include tight ponytails or buns, tight cornrows or braids or dreadlocks, hair weaves or extensions, and putting hair in rollers overnight.
Treatment: Mainly, changing the hairstyle is the best hair loss treatment option for traction alopecia. Avoid tight hairstyles to re-grow the hair. Those women who have lost too much hair and they are not growing back, various hair replacement procedures are also available that can provide help.
Although female hair loss is a common problem but early detection of the specific type, underlying cause and proper hair re-growth treatment can help to cope up with the condition. If you’re experiencing hair loss, the right way is to consult a professional, skilled and certified dermatologist who helps you to treat your condition.