Women’s Hair Loss

Hair Growth and Loss Cycles

While hair loss in women is not as common as it is in men, women also lose hair as well, with about 40% of women suffering from noticeable hair loss by the time they turn 50. However, age is not the only culprit, as certain medications, as well as stress, infections, chemicals, and certain diseases can also cause hair loss in women. In terms of hair growth, it consists of three cycles; namely anagen, catagen, and telogen cycles. In the anagen cycle, hair continues to grow for a period of two to eight years. 90% of all hair will be part of the anagen, or growth cycle. In the catagen, or transitional cycle, the hair follicles will shrink. This phase will last anywhere from 2 to 3 weeks. Furthermore, in the telogen cycle, the hair will rest for two to four months. As can be seen, most of the hairs on the scalp are actively involved in a period of growth, with only 10% of hair strands “partaking” in transition or rest periods at any given time.

Hair Loss Evaluation

However, most women will lose anywhere from 50 to 100 hairs every day. What’s more, a woman can expect to lose up to 250 strands of hair after her shower. Please note, however, that not washing one’s hair will not help circumvent hair loss, as hair loss is inevitable. Fortunately, there are more effective ways to detect whether or not you are losing hairs than simply counting the lost strands. For instance, check to see if unusually large amounts of hair are left on your pillow after you wake up in the morning. You can also comb your hair and see if more hairs are attached to your comb after you are done combing your hair. Interestingly, most women will notice hair thinning around the one half or top third of their scalps. Their frontal line may also remain undamaged, although they may notice more of their scalp being visible than normal when they pull their hair back. This is very different from male pattern baldness, whereby men notice hair recession on the crown of the head or forehead.

Hair Loss Diagnosis

If you are concerned about hair loss, the best diagnosis method is via blood test that screens for autoimmune diseases and/or thyroid disorders. In most cases, hair loss in women is heredity. Your doctor may ask for a family history to determine if your hair loss is due to genetic factors. Your doctor may also use a magnification procedure to assess the size of your hair follicles. In female pattern hair loss, or androgenetic alopecia, some hair follicles are found to be thin, while others are found to be thick. Furthermore, while normal hair follicles are replaced by hairs of generally equal size, women who suffer from hair loss tend to have new hairs that are thinner and finer than their lost hairs, until new hair follicles stop forming altogether.

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