Hair Loss in Women: Causes and Treatment

Hair loss in women is just as common an occurrence as hair loss in men. However, this is not as evident as it is for men but it still causes the same problem of potential low self-esteem.

This is especially true for women because as the saying goes, the hair is the crowning glory of every woman. The most common type of hair loss among women is called chronic telogen effluvium, otherwise known as diffuse hair loss. This can be caused by many different factors.

Hair Loss In Women Causes

There are different reasons for hair loss in women. One of the most common is hereditary baldness, meaning it is caused by genetics. Aside from that, women’s hair is particularly sensitive to underlying medical conditions that may cause the onset of hair fall. Conditions that can promote diffuse hair loss are obstetric and gynecologic conditions such as post partum and post menopause states, anemia iron deficiency, connective tissues diseases like SLE, thyroid disease, stress, and nutritional diseases like bulimia, malabsorption, zinc deficiency and the like. Various drugs can also cause hair loss such as blood thinners like warfarin and heparin, gout medications like alopurinol, blood pressure medications, prednisone, thyroid medications, oral contraceptives, seizure medications, cholesterol lowering drugs, and of course chemotherapy.

Treatment for Hair Loss In Women

One type of baldness in women is androgenetic alopecia. Some physicians are reluctant to use systemic treatment or a form of treatment that affects the entire body system such as pills, unless they are fully sure that the cause of the hair loss is an excess of androgen in the system. Systemic treatments like pills can potentially lower the body’s androgen levels, which may not be needed by some women. Instead, most medical practitioners recommend the use of topical treatments.

The best results happen when the treatment is begun as soon as hair loss occurs because prolonged hair loss from androgenetic alopecia may destroy hair follicles. Also, stopping treatment will result in resuming hair loss if the androgen levels aren’t kept in check.

Below are some treatments for female hair loss:

  • Minoxidil 2% Tropical Treatment – This was first used as a treatment for high blood pressure until patients who used the drug experienced an increase in hair growth. Further studies concluded that the drug indeed could stimulate hair growth
  • Spironolactone/Aldactone – These are actually diuretics. It slows down the production of androgen but it can also cause dehydration.
  • Ketoconazole – This is a topical treatment that can be found in shampoos like Nizoral. The 2% prescription works best for hair growth.
  • Propecia/ Proscar – Although prescribed as a drug for the prostate, it was the first pill approved by the FDA for hair growth. However this should not be taken by pregnant women.

Hair loss in women is just as common as it is in men. The treatments are also similar. Although there aren’t many treatments approved by the FDA, effectiveness usually varies from person to person.