August marked the annual Hair Loss Awareness Month, and this year it largely focused on women’s experiences. Although the condition is mainly associated with men, you may be surprised to learn that a staggering 40% of hair loss sufferers are in fact women.
The NHS estimates that 50% of women over 65, go through female pattern baldness. It’s a common problem, yet there’s still a lot of stigma attached to women’s hair loss which needs to be addressed.
Highlighting the different causes of hair loss
Although there is a wide range of different causes, in women it’s usually down to one of two things – diet or hormones. Out of the two, hormones definitely appear to be the bigger culprit.
Hormone levels fluctuate quite a lot during a woman’s lifetime. During key life events such as pregnancy and menopause, many women experience shedding because of the hormonal changes which occur. If the condition occurs after pregnancy it’s referred to as post-partum hair loss and the good news is it’s only temporary. However, loss related to hormonal changes during the menopause, will typically become gradually worse over time.
Stress, or more specifically high levels of stress, can also cause hormonal changes to occur. This in turn can trigger hair loss. While an unhealthy diet can leave various nutrient deficiencies, which can also cause the hair to start shedding.
Other potential causes of hair loss in women include traction alopecia, female pattern baldness, infections and alopecia areata.
The importance of a proper diagnosis
There are plenty of great and effective treatments available for the condition, but each are designed to tackle a specific cause. Therefore, it’s important women seek a proper diagnosis before starting any form of treatment.
If the loss is triggered by pregnancy for example, topical treatments like Minoxidil can be a fantastic temporary solution. However, that would prove ineffective if the cause is female pattern baldness or alopecia areata. Getting the right diagnosis will ensure you end up with the best treatment to combat the specific type of hair loss you’re experiencing.
Overall, it is a common problem for women and many are understandably reluctant to talk about their experience. However, Hair Loss Awareness Month highlighted the need for women to be aware of the different causes and that they definitely aren’t alone.