The American Academy of Dermatology informs us that you usually lose 50 to 100 hairs every day. More excessive hair loss, however, needs to have the cause diagnosed and then be treated. Although thinning or balding is more evident in men it does occur for almost as many women.
Just as it can be hereditary in men, so baldness can be hereditary for women. In men, hereditary baldness usually follows a pattern which goes from the front of the head at the hairline to the crown. For women, this hereditary baldness, or female pattern alopecia can be passed on through the female or male genes of their parents.
Two enzymes cause this condition:
- Aromatase (dominant in women)
- 5-a reductase (women and men)
Men have double the amount of 5-a reductase, which produces the androgen DHT (dihydrotestosterone) from the testosterone hormone. DHT causes hair follicles to shrink and gradually disappear. As women get older, their testosterone levels can be higher and cause balding. Women have a much higher level of the aromatase enzyme which produces the estradiol and estrone hormones and decreases DHT formation. Women’s hair loss pattern is different (diffuse), probably due to aromatase which is predominantly dispersed along the front hairline. Thus women tend to bald on the top of their head.
Excessive hair loss occurs in many women about three months after they have had a baby. While the hormonal levels are changing at this time, the hairs can become dormant and fall out on mass. This is usually temporary and naturally goes back to normal loss when the hormonal levels return to their normal state.
Illness can be the cause of thinning hair in women. Their hair seems to be very sensitive to their medical condition. Ovarian tumors, post-menopause and other gynecological conditions affect the rate of their hair fall. Use of birth-control pills can mean that female pattern alopecia is triggered off at an earlier age in women with a history of hereditary baldness in the family. Anemia or iron deficiency through imbalanced diet or low iron absorption can cause thinning. If a woman has heavy menstrual bleeding, this can result in iron deficiency, and in turn hair fall. Iron pills can correct this.
Other medical causes can be thyroid problems, nutritional imbalance, for example protein deficiency, and stress. Some medications, such as certain painkillers, antidepressants and anticoagulants, can cause excessive hair fall, along with severe shock and major surgery.
When you notice severe hair loss, it’s wise to seek professional medical advice for proper diagnosis, but you also have herbal or natural remedies at hand which can be effective. Eggs can be used as a protein hair conditioner. To stop hair fall, beat egg with water, rub it into your scalp and leave it on overnight. Rub diluted rosemary oil on your scalp or lavender or thyme to decrease hair loss.
Picture: Klaus Thumser – Fotolia