Women’s Hair Loss: Causes, Treatments, and Solutions

Style Hair Carefully

Wondering what to do about hair loss in women? Loosen up! Tight ponytails, hats, scarves, cornrows, and bandannas can all pull on hair and lead to hair loss by a process called traction alopecia. The gradual, constant tension irritates the scalp and may cause hair to fall out. Ditto for tight rollers. One of the potential solutions for hair loss in women is to wear your hair down to eliminate tension. Your hair should grow back if traction alopecia was to blame for losing your locks. Beware especially of long-term use of tight hairstyles. These may scar your scalp and lead to hair loss that is permanent.

Cancer Treatment Is a Trigger

Radiation and chemotherapy used to treat cancer are some of the common causes of hair loss in women. Both therapies harm hair follicles in addition to killing cancer cells. People undergoing cancer treatment often experience dramatic hair loss as a result of these therapies. They may wake up with clumps of hair on their pillow or they may lose large amounts of hair in the shower. Rapid hair loss in women often starts within 2 weeks of beginning treatment. It may be worst between 1 to 2 months into therapy. The scalp may be extra sensitive during this time. It may be irritating to wash, brush, and comb hair. The good news is that once cancer treatment is over, hair tends to grow back.

Physical and Emotional Stress

Extreme physical or emotional stress may trigger sudden hair loss in women. Hair loss due to physical or emotional stress is called telogen effluvium. Circumstances that may precipitate this pattern of hair loss include serious illness or injury, surgery, severe emotional upset, blood loss, and weight loss. Sometimes a reaction to medication may trigger this kind of hair loss. Telogen effluvium may last for 6 to 8 months before resolving.

Medication for Hair Loss

Minoxidil, or Rogaine, is a topical medication that is used to treat female pattern hair loss and male-pattern baldness. It was initially developed as a blood pressure medication and was used off-label to treat hair loss until it became FDA-approved for that purpose. Minoxidil can slow the progression of hair loss. Most women who use the medication experience regrowth of hair. The medication needs to be used continuously to maintain results. Other types of treatment work for different kinds of hair loss. Corticosteroids help suppress the immune response that damages hair follicles in people who have alopecia areata. Once the follicles recover, hair can grow back. If nutritional deficiencies underlie hair loss, eating a healthy diet with adequate and protein and nutrients can help you regrow hair. Certain medical problems may trigger hair loss. Adequately treating these conditions may help restore hair growth.

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