Is your hair beginning to look thinner? Are you finding more hair clogging your shower drain than usual? If so, you are not alone. Contrary to popular belief, it is not only men that are affected by hair loss. According to the NHS, 8 million women in the UK are experiencing it.
Nevertheless, it can be very upsetting when it occurs. It is extremely common to see bald men walking around, and there are countless male celebrity heartthrobs such as Jason Statham and Dwayne Johnson. With women, unfairly, it is far less accepted. With only a few notable exceptions, it is rare to see a woman confidently flaunting her hairless head. But female hair loss need not be a cause for anxiety. There are many ways to prevent it or reduce the effects, but first, you need to identify the root cause.
Why you are losing your hair
There are so many potential causes behind hair loss that it can be difficult to pinpoint any one factor. If you are a woman experiencing hair loss, it may help to understand some of the possible reasons behind it. Some baldness is irreversible, while other forms of hair loss may be temporary. It all depends on the causes. There are two main types of hair loss – genetic and reactive. If the former, then you are genetically predisposed to thinning hair. As such, you may see your hair volume gradually reducing. If your condition is reactive, then certain triggers in your life are causing it, and identifying them can help you to reverse the effects and preserve your hair.
Common triggers of hair loss
- Hormonal imbalance
Different hormones play a huge part in the hair growth cycle. Oestrogens are beneficial for promoting hair growth, while androgens can shorten the cycle. A hormonal imbalance, in which you have an excess of androgens, can affect your hair and lead to hair loss. Certain medications and hormone therapy can reduce the effect. Speak to a doctor to discuss your options.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that stress can make your hair fall out. Not only can too much stress in your life raise hair-harming androgen levels, but it can also lead to other hair problems such as dandruff and trichotillomania (compulsive hair-pulling). Not to mention the fact that stress plays a part in many other health problems which can all contribute to reducing the health of your hair. If you feel this may be a factor, take steps to alleviate the causes and effects of stress in your life.
If you are suffering from hair loss, your body may be lacking something important. Deficiencies in iron or Vitamin B12 are two of the most common causes of hair loss. Iron is essential for producing proteins necessary for hair cells, while Vitamin B12 affects the health of red blood cells which carry oxygen around the body. Without either, the condition of your hair will suffer.
- Thyroid problems
Any imbalance in your thyroid gland can have a harmful effect on your hair follicles. Thyroid conditions such as hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can lead to hair loss if untreated.
- Weight loss
Although staying fit and healthy is essential, it is possible to overdo it. If you have recently undergone a dramatic weight loss, this could be the reason your hair is falling out. Such drastic changes in weight are often accompanied by nutritional deficiencies, leading hair to fall out 6-12 weeks after the initial weight loss. Rather than crash-dieting or fasting, try to adopt a more balanced approach to dieting.
Hair loss is a common factor amongst women who are entering, or about to enter, the menopause. Changes in the body at this time can play havoc on the hair. It is also important to note that hair naturally gets thinner as you get older, so if you are seeing this effect in later life, then there may be nothing to worry about.
Hair loss can have a severe emotional toll on many women and have a harmful effect on self-esteem and confidence. There are many options available to prevent or mitigate the adverse effects of hair loss. Looking for, and removing, any potential triggers in your lifestyle is the first place to start, but if this doesn’t work then consider reducing the impact with more complementary hairstyles or hairpieces. On the other end of the spectrum, treatments such as hair transplants or hormone therapy are an option. Speak to a medical professional to discuss your options before making a big decision.