I was only a kid when my mom discovered a bald spot the size of quarter on the top her head. It was such a confusing moment; I thought only men lose their hair. Why would a woman in her mid-30’s start balding? Turns out it was only stress and she went to the doctor just in time. I didn’t know then what I know now: hair loss in women is a lot more common than we think.
According to the American Hair Loss Association, women make up forty percent of Americans who suffer hair loss. That’s almost equal with men! Little do we know that it can happen at any age for a wide range of reasons.
WebMD states there are 100,000 to 150,000 hairs on the average adult’s head, and that we can lose up to 100 of them a day. So, finding a few stray hairs on your hairbrush or pillow is no reason to freak out. You should contact your doctor if you notice large amounts of hair loss or excessive thinning.
Alopecia, the medical term for extreme or abnormal hair loss, comes in many forms. According to WebMD:
- Involutional alopecia is a natural condition in which the hair gradually thins with age.
- Androgenic alopecia is a genetic condition called female pattern baldness. This is general thinning over the entire scalp, with the most extensive hair loss at the crown.
- Alopecia areata often starts suddenly and causes patchy hair loss in children and young adults.
- Alopecia universalis causes all body hair to fall out, including the eyebrows, eyelashes, and pubic hair.
- Trichotillomania, is a psychological disorder in which a person pulls out their own hair.
- Telogen effluvium is temporary hair thinning over the scalp that occurs because of changes in the growth cycle of hair.
Whether it’s temporary or long lasting, this is not something us women think we’ll have to deal with in our lives. After doing some research, I came across six factors that can lead to hair loss in women.
Remember, I’m not a medical professional, if you’re dealing with hair loss or have questions about it, please contact your doctor and/or a certified dermatologist.
IT’S GENETIC 1 of 6
Hair loss is not only hereditary for men, but can also be genetic in women. Dr. Wendy Roberts tells WebMD that she asks her patients about their mother, aunts, and grandmothers' hair and if they deal with hair loss. Do a little research and ask family members if they know of any hair loss in the women in your family. This can be an indicator.
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MEDICATIONS YOU’RE TAKING 2 of 6
The American Academy of Dermatology states that certain medications (including chemotherapy) could be responsible for hair loss in women, especially if the hair loss starts suddenly. Ask your doctor about the side effects of the medications you're taking.
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PREGNANCY/CHILDBIRTH 3 of 6
I haven't been blessed with a child, but this is one I've already heard about. The Mayo Clinic reports that hormonal changes and imbalances in our bodies can also cause temporary hair loss. Yes, this could be due to pregnancy and childbirth, but it could also be due to discontinuation of birth control pills or the onset of menopause.
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YOUR LIFESTYLE 4 of 6
Your lifestyle habits could be a key reason for hair loss. Extreme stress, illegal drug use, malnutrition/poor diet, physical or emotional shock, and dramatic weight loss can all affect your health.
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MEDICAL CONDITIONS 5 of 6
HAIR CARE & STYLING 6 of 6
How you treat your hair can also be a reason for hair loss. WebMD also states that shampooing your hair too often, perms, bleach, dying your hair, tight braiding, using rollers or hot curles, and running hair picks through tight curls can cause damage and make your hair weak and brittle—causing it to break. Most of the time, the hair will grow back, but there are cases of severe damage that cause permanent bald patches.
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