Women often experience hair loss due to pregnancy or menopause and this can happen to you too!
You can read on to find out why women lose hair due to common causes and learn about the symptoms, treatments and prevention. Hair is a woman’s crowning glory. It can make or break an outfit, and it’s the first thing people notice about you.
Let’s face it; nobody wants to be bald. But unfortunately, more than half of all women will suffer from hair loss at some point in their lives.
My wife experienced hair loss after childbirth as well as during menopause, but thankfully there are things she did to keep her locks looking great!
In this post, she shares her experiences and her discoveries along her long journey of recovery.
1) 3 major life stages of your hair
Your hair has gone or will go through three major life stages.
The first is the growth phase when it starts to grow; then there’s a transitional stage where new hairs are growing, but others aren’t falling out yet until finally during the resting phase they all fall out, and you’re bald again!
2) What are the causes of women’s hair loss?
2.1) Your diet is off.
You may be wondering what you should eat to help grow your hair and keep it healthy?
Well, there are several nutrients such as vitamins, fat-soluble minerals like omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins B12 through 13 and iron that work together for the body to function well.
A lack of these nutrients will have an impact on how well your bodies maintain its health including rapid cell death which will ultimately affect your hair.
If you want your hair to stay strong then this is one area you need to make sure you focus your attention on. Try eating a balanced diet every day from vegetables topped off by meats to nuts! For more insight go to my post on the best food for hair growth.
2.2) Hair loss due to birth control pills
Hormonal birth control and contraception can cause hormone-induced shedding, which is another type of telogen effluvium.
This form of hair loss usually resolves on its own in time. For your locks to regain their fullness, there are voluminous products and styling tricks that can help.
2.3) Pregnancy and childbirth
The hair you’ve been holding onto may fall out as a result of pregnancy. You can experience an increased or decreased estrogen as well.
If you stop taking your oral contraceptive pill, you may experience one of the following :
- A recurrent abortion and miscarriage
- You can be dealing with hormonal imbalances during the time of childbirth.
- Or you may lose hair after giving birth when estrogen levels return to normal.
Your hair loss should return to normal by the time your baby is 12 months old. But if you feel that there is excessive hair loss and it has not returned to normal, contact your doctor.
Your doctor may not mention hair loss as a side effect of prescribed drugs, but you should do your research on medication guidebooks and read the fine prints on labels.
Medication to treat acne, cholesterol, epilepsy, depression, thyroid condition, high blood pressure, etc. may cause hair loss on any part of your body.
If the prescription drugs do have a hair loss side effect, consult with your doctor to find out if they can be substituted.
2.5) Low iron level
Since the 1960s, several studies have been evaluated to find the relationship between micronutrients and hair loss.
The idea that iron deficiency is responsible for your hair loss has yet to be established.
2.6) Heat Styling
Trichorrhexis nodosa is a common hair problem that causes your hair to break off easily.
This condition may be inherited or triggered by blow-drying, ironing the hair, and excessive use of products with chemicals.
2.7) Family history
Grey hair appears when the body produces less melanin. Subsequently, the time and the quantity of melanin to produce is determined by genetics.
Androgenetic alopecia is a hair loss frequently found on both sexes.
Sill, it can be embarrassing and frustrating that more women seem to be going through this hair loss journey.
You will find that your hair is thinner all over the head but the hairline does not recede.
The good news is that Androgenetic alopecia seldom makes women go bald.
Dr Neera Nathan who wrote an article on Forbes, “How extreme stress causes hair loss”, sums up that emotional stress (such as the loss of a loved one or worries of Covid-19) can cause a sudden shift of hair follicles from a resting phase to a telogen phase.
If you wish to prevent losing more hair, perhaps taking up activities like meditation, exercises or even yoga is a good thing to counteract stress.
2.9) Your hairstyle
Are you aware your hairstyle could be a cause of your hair loss? Do you know your hair type?
If you wear a ponytail every day, then the tension on that one spot might be causing breakage in other sections of the head, leading to thinning or hair loss!
Braids are also notorious for pulling too tightly at strands which will lead them to snap like rubber bands.
This is especially painful when done while wet as there’s no give left once they dry.
Even if these hairstyles don’t leave any long term damage, thermal heat from blow driers and straighteners may cause split ends without you realizing it until it’s already happened.
3) Why women lose their hair?
Women can be faced with a whole range of issues that may result in the loss of all or part of their locks.
3.1) Autoimmune disease
Hair thinning and baldness is usually caused by one thing – autoimmune disease, where your immune system mistakenly attacks its cells as if they were harmful invaders.
This can happen because you’re exposed to volatile organic compounds, like solvents, that have been linked to an increased risk for developing rheumatoid arthritis and lupus which are all autoimmune diseases.
3.2) Environmental factors
Scientist agrees its likely environmental factors could be blamed for the increase of autoimmune disorder.
” On an average, a woman will have around 185 chemicals on her skin daily and a man will have around 85” – Dangerous Beauty by Peter Dingle PhD.
Exposure to toxic chemicals and the consumption of processed food can all trigger autoimmune disorder for sure.
3.3) Hygiene hypothesis theory
One theory known as the hygiene hypothesis, suggests that the increased use of vaccines and antibiotics in children today may lead to an underdeveloped immune system.
This may lead to not being able to fight off hair loss triggers, such as stress, hormonal changes but more importantly autoimmune disease.
4) How can hair loss in women be prevented?
Losing hair is a natural process, but when it’s because of disease or ageing you can’t do anything about that.
The good news is there are ways you can prevent hair loss by taking action yourself:
Avoiding tight hairstyles and heat treatments that destroy your scalp!
- Stop smoking
- Living a healthy lifestyle
- Exercising and de-stressing
- Eating a diet full of vitamins, minerals and proteins.
4.1) How finasteride, minoxidil, and other medications might help
Finasteride and minoxidil, are two scientifically proven treatments for hair loss.
A 1998 study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology showed that finasteride can reduce or even stop your shedding hairs from falling out!
Minoxidil works by widening blood vessels inside your scalp which increases blood flow to keep those follicles healthy.
4.1.1) Side effects
These treatments are not without side effects. Minoxidil can cause itching, dryness, scaling, flaking, burning or irritation.
While Finasteride causes decreased sexual desire reduced ejaculatory volume testicle pain, discomfort, and erectile dysfunction in men.
Both side effects can be managed with the right dosage. Therefore check the instructions on the labels or consult your pharmacist or doctor for the right dosage.
Minoxidil and Finasteride are available at Amazon.com in various packaging.
4.2) Other non-medication
You should also consider low-level laser treatment or even hair transplant surgery as possible alternatives for treating your hair loss.
5. Where can I seek help?
Women’s hair loss is triggered by a multitude of conditions and circumstances.
Your GP may prescribe treatment based on the causes but if you want a more complex diagnosis, see a dermatologist who can get to the root of the problem.
You could also ask for a diagnostic test which may help pinpoint any underlying cause. Nevertheless, this process is a little longer.
6. Can castor oil reverse hair loss?
Castor oil properties are anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal.
Both properties can help in reducing dry hair or itchy scalp issues. Castor oil is also known for dandruff treatment.
Unfortunately, there are no scientific studies to prove that it can stop the process of any type of hair growth though.
6.1) Essential Oils
Some research suggests peppermint and rosemary essential oils may be effective at stopping balding in a genetic condition known as alopecia areata. For more insight on essential oils check my post on Naturally regrow your hair.
Natural treatments like onion juice and saw palmetto are used in treating hair loss. Only there are no scientific studies to suggest that these products work.
7. Psythological impact
Hair loss is a serious issue that can negatively impact your quality of life and daily living.
The lack of hair also impacts society’s perception of beauty, which puts pressure on you to look beautiful at all times.
There are many resources available for the latest information surrounding treatments.
I am confident you can find a treatment that can help you find your way back to a healthy and full locks head.
All it takes is one step in the right direction towards feeling confident again.
I am here to answer any questions you may have or if you found this post helpful please share it.
Video on hair transplant
Rosemary oil vs minoxidil 2% for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia: a randomized comparative trial
Long-term (5-year) multinational experience with finasteride 1 mg in the treatment of men with androgenetic alopecia
A one-year observational study with minoxidil 5% solution in Germany: results of independent efficacy evaluation by physicians and