Common Causes for Female Hair Loss

Baldness has been thought to be a disease that afflicts men. But these days, forty percent of people who suffer from hair loss in America are women.

Hair normally grows approximately 1 inch per month, with a two to six year period in which the hair grows. Then the hair stops growing, eventually falls out, and is replaced by another strand of hair that grows from the follicle where the last hair fell out. A major cause of hair loss in men as well as women is called Androgenetic Alopecia, or what we know as male or female pattern baldness. A certain hormone called DHT, an offshoot of the male hormone testosterone, binds itself to the hair follicles and shrinks them so that this growth cycle is impeded.

One of the most common causes of hair loss in women is Andogenitic Alopecia. This is scattered thinning of the hair all over the scalp. This is brought on by another male hormone (androgens). There are certain conditions (ovarian cysts, taking birth control pills, pregnancy) that can increase the normal levels of the androgens, thus bringing about baldness.

Things that shock the body like having a baby, severe infections, major surgery, or even extreme stress can cause the hair to go through a “shedding” phase. This is called Telogen Effuvium. Anagen Effuvium occurs when the hair follicles have been damaged and growth is impaired. The best example of this is what happens during a chemotherapy treatment.

Certain hairstyles worn for long periods of time, like ponytails, braids, and cornrows, cause trauma to the hair. The hair loss is confined to areas on the scalp where the hair is tightly pulled. This is caused Traction Alopecia. The hair will grow back if it is discovered soon enough and the hair is loosened.