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Going to a Cleveland Clinic location? There are a couple types of hair loss and several possible causes. Hair loss in women is just that — when a woman experiences unexpected, heavy loss of hair. Generally, humans shed between 50 and single hairs per day.
Hair shedding is part of a natural balance — some hairs fall out while others grow in. When the balance is interrupted — when hair falls out and less hair grows in — hair loss happens. Hair loss is different than hair shedding.
Hair grows on almost all of your skin surfaces — not the palms of your hands, soles of your feet, lips or eyelids. Light, fine, short hair is called vellus hair. Your shorter hairs like eyelashes, arm and leg hair and eyebrows have a short anagen phase — about one month. Your scalp hair can last up to six years or even longer. Many people think that hair loss only affects men. The most ificant cause of hair loss in women is female-pattern hair loss FPHL , which affects about one-third of susceptible women, which equals out to some 30 million women in the United States.
During menopause, you might see one of two things happen with your hair. Or, you might see the hair you have start to thin. One cause may be changing levels of hormones during menopause. Estrogen and progesterone levels fall, meaning that the effects of the androgens, male hormones, are increased. During and after menopause, hair might become finer thinner because hair follicles shrink. Hair grows more slowly and falls out more easily in these cases. Your healthcare provider will do a thorough examination and take a detailed history to help you deal with changes in hair growth.
You may be directed to have your iron levels or thyroid hormone levels tested. Your medications might be changed if what you take is found to affect hair loss or growth. It is important to note that premenopausal women should not take medications for hair loss treatment without using contraception.
Many drugs, including minoxidil and finasteride, are not safe for pregnant women or women who want to get pregnant. See your dermatologist if this happens. With Minoxidil you might also see hair growing in other places other than your scalp cheeks and forehead, for example.
Wash your face after you apply Minoxidil and make sure you avoid other areas when you apply it. Preventing hair loss is not possible when it is due to disease, aging, heredity or physical stressors like injuries. You can prevent hair loss caused by caustic chemicals or tight hairstyles by avoiding them. You might be able to prevent some hair loss by eating a healthy diet that provides necessary nutrients in terms of vitamins, minerals and protein. You can stop smoking. While hair loss is not itself dangerous, women with hair loss tend to be very upset by the changes to their appearance.
These negative feelings can affect self-esteem and social lives. Recent studies suggest that FPHL can be associated with conditions that include metabolic syndrome , endocrine disorders and diabetes. There are some things you can do on your own. You might check with your stylist or try some of these:. See a dermatologist as soon as possible when you notice hair loss. The sooner you get treatment, the more effective it will be. Hair loss may cause you distress whether it happens because of genetics, a disease, or even stress.
Know that there are some treatments you can try, and expert dermatologists are there to help you. Your hair loss may be able to be reversed. See your healthcare provider as soon as you notice something wrong because the sooner you start treatment, the better.
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. What are the cycles of hair growth?
Hair goes through three cycles: The anagen phase growing phase can last from two years to eight years. The catagen phase transition phase is the time that hair follicles shrink and takes about two to three weeks.
The telogen phase resting phase takes about two to four months. At the end of this phase, the hair falls out. What are the types of hair loss? There are three: anagen effluvium, telogen effluvium and FPHL. Anagen effluvium : This is caused by medications that poison a growing hair follicle like chemotherapy. Telogen effluvium : This is caused by an increased of hair follicles reaching the telogen phase, which is the stage where hair falls out.
Hair thins over the top of the head and on the sides. How common is hair loss in women? Which women are likely to experience hair loss? Any girl or woman can be affected by hair loss. However, it is usually more common in: Women older than Women who have just had babies. Women who have had chemotherapy and those who have been affected by other medications. Women who often have hairstyles that pull on the hair like tight ponytails or tight braids or use harsh chemicals on their hair. Menopausal women.
What are the myths about hair loss? Myths about hair loss are widespread. Dandruff causes permanent hair loss in women. Stress causes permanent hair loss in women. If you shave your head, your hair will grow back twice as thick. If you brush your hair strokes a day that will make your hair healthier. Hats and wigs cause hair loss in women. Hair loss only affects intellectual women. Symptoms and Causes What are the common causes of hair loss in women? What causes hair loss? Hair style: Your style of hair can cause hair loss when your hair is arranged in ways that pull on your roots, like tight ponytails, braids, or corn rows.
This type of hair loss is called traction alopecia. If hair follicles are damaged, the loss can be permanent. Vitamin deficiency. Dieting rapid weight loss. Restrictive diets. Over processed scalp hair breakage.
What causes anagen effluvium hair loss? Toxic substances, including chemotherapy, radiation therapy and some medications. These cause sudden hair loss that can occur anywhere on your body. It happens to hair in the growth stage. Sometimes, this type of hair loss can be permanent if your hair follicles are damaged. What causes telogen effluvium hair loss? Extreme physical stress or shock to your body: This causes temporary hair loss. This category includes events like losing a lot of weight, surgery, anemia, illness and having a baby.
Extreme emotional stress: mental illness, the death of a loved one, etc. An abnormal thyroid. Medications and supplements: blood pressure medicines, gout medicines and high doses of Vitamin A. Hormone changes caused by pregnancy, menopause or birth control pills.Ladies come get you some
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