May 27, 2007

Hair Loss in Women - Seven Reasons You Could Lose Your Hair

By Eileen Gravelle

For many women there are few things more distressing than the thought of going bald. Hair loss or thinning hair is expected in men over a certain age. For a woman – it can be a terrible blow to self esteem striking at the root of her femininity.

Hair loss in women is not an uncommon condition. Some experts suggest that as many as one in four women – maybe around 25 million Americans alone - experience hair loss at some time in their lives.

So why do women suffer hair loss?

1. Hormones – We all know that men have hormones too but women are subject to greater hormonal flux with higher frequency and over a much longer period than men. Pregnancy, childbirth and menopause are all conditions unique to women that can result in thinning hair and even total hair loss.

2. Medication – Just as for men, many modern medications, like anti-depressants, blood thinners and anti-cholesterol drugs can contribute directly to hair loss. For certain women the birth control pill can be a contributory factor.

3. Genes – Genetic causes of hair loss are more associated with men but women too can suffer from female pattern baldness, or androgenetic alopecia. Around 15% of American women are affected. Just as for men, dehydrotestosterone (DHT) causes hair follicles to shut down. The result for women is a general thinning of hair rather than the bald spots or receding hairline which is common in men.

4. Stress - The effect of severe trauma can cause a major reaction in the body resulting in sudden hair loss. Traumatic hair loss can be physical or mental and can make your hair fall out prematurely months after the stress is experienced at an alarming rate - up to three to four thousand hairs per day. Though very upsetting sudden traumatic hair loss is reversible. Provided there is no ongoing stress as a result of the initial trigger - the body should be able to recover and the normal hair growth cycle resumed within about 6 months to a year.

5. Illness – many common conditions, like diabetes or thyroid disturbance, put the body under stress and contribute directly to hair loss.

6. Hair damage – women do more to their hair than men and some of the daily treatment we dish out to our hair can have terrible effects. Harsh shampoos, hair colorants, bleaching, blow driers, straighteners – we seem to do everything possible to cause hair stress. The net effect of all this can be dry damaged hair which is weak and more brittle. Weakened hair is more prone to break and ultimately to fall out.

7. Dieting – Women generally diet more than men and are more likely to go on extreme diets to shed weight. Extreme or nutritionally unbalanced weight loss diets can cause hair loss. Although iron deficiency is often associated with diet-related hair loss, a range of nutrient deficiencies can result in thinning hair.

So – like many things in life – the causes of hair loss in women are not straightforward. You could suffer this condition at any stage of your life – the important thing is to try to identify the main causes and take action to deal with them as soon as possible.

Eileen Gravelle is an author and web publisher who writes extensively on all aspects of anti aging including hair care over 40 and hair loss. Eileen's website: Simply Anti Aging is a complete anti aging resource with articles, practical advice. product reviews and celebrity features for women in their forties and beyond who want to look younger and feel great as they get older.

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