Hair Loss in Women
Did you know that frequent blow drying--and
even overenthusiastic brushing--can exacerbate hair loss in women? We usually
think of hair loss as something that only affects men, but at least 20 million
American women suffer from this! The causes of hair loss or even baldness
in women are poorly understood, but may result from a combination of genetic
factors, hormonal changes, improper hair care, stress, certain diseases and
certain medications. Fortunately hair loss in women
typically does not usually result in complete baldness, as is often the case
Did you recently have a baby, start taking
birth control pills or are you nearing menopause? Increased hair growth during
pregnancy and then hair loss afterwards is common, but levels off after 3
months. Similarly, hair loss can also occur after a woman stops taking
birth control pills. Crash diets, hyper or hypothyroidism, polycystic
ovaries, and lupus can also cause hair loss. Chemotherapy is infamous
for causing reversible hair loss, but other medicines such as beta blockers,
antidepressants, and some cholesterol-lowering drugs can also cause this.
Classic male baldness begins with a receding
hairline. In women, hair loss is common over the crown of the head.
A diffuse thinning may occur, but frank baldness is rare. Hair loss
can also begin at the time of menopause. Estrogen levels decrease and
androgens ("male hormones") levels rise in proportion, resulting in some hair
loss for nearly 60% of menopausal women. While most women react by covering
it up, talking to your doctor may help: if you have a medical condition
responsible for your hair loss, treating it may help.
Created: 11/15/2004  - Donnica Moore, M.D.