Baldness or hair loss is usually a problem associated with the male gender. However, hair loss and baldness are just as troublesome for women as they are for men. Fortunately, many types of female hair loss can be easily treated. Hair loss in women can begin at any age. Some women experience hair loss that is hereditary in nature, while others may experience hair loss as a result of hormonal changes or the use of medications. Not all women suffer from female pattern alopecia, which involves thinning of the hair on the upper part of the scalp. Some women, for example, may experience hair loss on the sides or back of the scalp. Others may experience general weight loss. Some weight loss, such as that associated with the postpartum period, is usually temporary.
Hair loss patterns
Hair loss patterns vary from woman to woman. The most commonly reported hair loss patterns in women include:
1. Thinning that occurs throughout the scalp. This thinning is usually most evident in the back of the head.
2. Thinning on the scalp with baldness or more noticeable thinning towards the front of the head. However, this pattern does not generally involve the front hairline.
3. Thinning that occurs in the front of the scalp, including the hairline.
Causes of hair loss
Aside from androgenetic alopecia, which is often associated with male pattern baldness, several conditions can lead to hair loss in women. These include:
- Alopecia areata – This is believed to be the result of an autoimmune disorder and may cause patches of hair to fall out.
- Trichotillomania – Hair loss is due in this case to a compulsive tugging. Usually, psychological treatment is necessary to solve hair loss problems.
- Triangular alopecia – This condition results in hair loss in the temporary areas of the scalp. Some women with this condition begin to lose their hair in childhood. Usually a doctor can treat this problem with medicine or surgery.
- Scarring alopecia – This is hair loss that results from scars. This commonly occurs in African American women. It can be the result of a tight braiding that persists over time. Postmenopausal women are often more susceptible to this condition.
Hair loss in women can be devastating. Society often regards women’s hair as a sign of beauty, fertility, and youth. Many women feel that a full head of hair is necessary to function well in life. Hair loss can cause emotional turmoil and self-esteem in many women. Fortunately, there are a number of highly effective treatments that a woman can use to help combat hair loss. Here are some popular treatment options for women experiencing hair loss:
- Hair transplants – While this procedure is more commonly associated with men, women can also undergo hair transplant surgery. This treatment is usually effective in reducing hair loss associated with an inheritance-based condition. Not all women are good candidates for this procedure. Women who are good candidates include those with uneven areas of thinning rather than total hair thinning. Women must also have enough donor hair available for transplantation and the procedure must be able to meet the woman’s expectations after transplantation.
- Minoxidil – This is an effective and FDA approved treatment for hair loss in men and women. Women simply have to apply this topical treatment twice a day to help prevent or delay hair loss. Many users have reported that hair grows back with routine use. Many find this product easy to incorporate into a daily beauty regimen. Also called Rogaine, Minoxidil is one of the best known therapies for hair loss in women.
- Hair extensions – Many women opt for human hair extensions to help restore the thickness and length of their hair. Human hair extensions provide a natural-looking alternative to hair transplant surgery. You can use them to cover patches or to treat general hair thinning all over the scalp. Hair extensions are applied in individual strands or in wefts. The safest application procedures involve braiding extensions into the hair. Using glues or waxes to apply hair extensions can cause further damage to a woman’s already fine and weakened hair.
It is important that you consider your personal goals and lifestyle before selecting the hair treatment alternative most likely to solve your hair problems. Remember, for many women hair loss is a reality. Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to prevent the problem from affecting your life and well-being.