Six main causes of female hair loss and how to treat them
Woman can loose their hair for reasons including menopause and an overactive thyroid. Express.co.uk breaks down the different forms of hairless and what you can do to prevent it….
Dr Hair Transplant Surgeon at The Private Clinic of Harley Street, outlines how different hormonal issues can cause hair loss and some of the treatment options.
1. Overactive Thyroid
An over active thyroid can trigger a condition called Telogen Effluvium, which changes the hair growth cycle and can result in the thinning of the hair.
There are several treatment options available for this condition, including an antithyroid medication treatment, surgery or radioactive iodine.
However, in order to ensure the correct treatment is prescribed it is important that the patient is assessed by their doctor who will explore the severity of the disorder, the patient’s age and many other factors.
2. Too much Testosterone
Women with higher than normal levels of testosterone, such as women who have been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), are more likely to experience male-patterned baldness.
This condition is not very common in women because they have higher levels of oestrogen, which helps to balance out the effects of the male hormone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT) a potent form of testosterone that normally leads to hair loss.
Women who produce high levels of male hormones, however, have increased testosterone levels which can convert to DHT, thereby increasing their chances of losing their hair.
The treatment for this condition very much depends on an individuals’ case. It may involve oral contraceptives that contain oestrogen and progesterone, metformine, spironolactone, a pill supplement of progesterone or glucocorticosteroids. Maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly and losing weight can also help.
3. Hyper – Oestrogen
Progesterone and oestrogen are two dominant female hormones necessary to prepare the uterus for menstruation, however, there are optimal levels in which the hormones should be produced.
When progesterone levels are too low, it can lead to the condition of hyper-oestrogen or oestrogen dominance which can trigger excessive hair shedding and ultimately hair loss.
In these cases I would usually recommend a transdermal 2% bioindentical progesterone cream be applied. I would also advise the patient to increase nutrients in the diet by eating a lot of fresh fruits, vegetables and protein etc. It is also important to decrease stress and get a lot of exercise.
Stress can cause hair loss in different ways. In particular it can lead to the build-up of acid-free radicals, which contribute to gradual hair loss.
Prolonged periods of stress can lead to changes in hormonal levels, which can also lead to hair loss.
Conditions such as trichotillomania (pulling of the hair) are associated with stress.
Megan Fox and Victoria Beckham have both both admitted to suffering with this condition.
The good news here is that is that not all stress-related hair loss is permanent. It is important to find the cause of any stress or anxiety firstly, as that will allow the patient to tackle it correctly.
This, in most cases, in itself reduces the level of stress related hair loss and allows the lost hair to regrow. It is important to note, however, that your hair loss may not be solely stress related and could also be the result of an underlying medical condition. For this reason, it is always important to consult your GP.
Unlike men, women are protected from hair loss by oestrogen. After the menopause, oestrogen levels drop and therefore most women experience some degree of thinning post menopause. Hair loss which occurs before this, however, can be the result of any of the above factors and can occur at any time.
There are a number of medical treatments that can help reduce hair loss during or after the menopause. These include a specially compounded prescription minoxidil solution, prostaglandin analogs, low-level laser therapy, off-label finasteride (for post-menopausal women only) and nutritional supplements.
6. Pregnancy and Childbirth
Pregnancy and childbirth are known to alter a woman’s hormonal balance which in turn can lead to temporary hair loss.
In most cases the hair will start to re-grow naturally after about 90 days of giving birth and if the hair growth doesn’t return to normal after about a year, it is worth seeing your GP or a trichologist to check for other underlying causes.