What Causes Hair Loss in Women?

While many of us will think of men when the subject of hair loss is raised, women are almost as likely to suffer from thinning hair. There is a wide spectrum of causes, and it can appear at any age, making it a problem for many women.

Growth cycles

Human hair grows in three different cycles, which are,

  • The anagen phase – Approximately 90% of the hair on the head grows in this cycle, or growth phase, and this can last from 2 – 8 years.
  • The catagen phase – This is a transition phase, which usually lasts 2- 3 weeks, when the follicle shrinks, and is finally replaced.
  • The telogen phase – This is the time for the hair to rest, and the cycle is usually from 2- 4 weeks.

At any given time, 90% of the hair on your head will be in the anagen phase, or the growth phase, and the average person will see 6 inches of growth per year.

Hair loss

A person typically loses between 50 and 100 strands of hair in one day, and washing the hair can double that. This doesn’t mean we should refrain from washing, as the hair would eventually fall out anyway. Hair thinning occurs when the new follicles are smaller, and this cycle continues until the strand is no longer replaced. A common sign of female hair loss is excessive hair on the pillow in the morning, another is the tell-tale strands left on the comb.

A different area

Men tend to suffer hair loss on the forehead or crown, while women are affected on the top of the scalp, often with the fringe line unaffected. This tends to manifest itself in later years, between the ages of 50 to 60, and many women are affected. Here is an informative website that looks into the causes of female hair loss, and possible treatments.

It’s in the genes

Along with men, this hereditary condition affects millions of women, and begins when the replacement hair follicles are thinner than normal, and they diminish in size, eventually ceasing altogether, leading to thinned areas on the scalp.

Other causes

If the hair follicles are equal in size, and the hair loss is not gradual, then it may be a medical condition, such as,

  • A thyroid problem
  • Anaemia
  • Pregnancy
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Psoriasis
  • Dermatitis

Some doctors claim there is a link between hair loss and the menopause, although there is no hard evidence of this, and it may just be that hair loss and the menopause just happen to occur at the same time.

Extreme stress

There are many things that can cause us to be stressed, after surgery for example, or a sudden illness, and this can trigger hair loss, which could last for a few weeks or months. It is normal for the problem to disappear after a period of time, when the stress is no longer present. For hair loss causes and remedies, this site offers advice to women who suffer from thinning hair, with tips on how best to cope.

Over treating the hair

Too much heat, or frequent use of chemicals can result in hair loss, which is why it is advisable to give your hair a rest from time to time, and use natural ingredients when shampooing, to stimulate hair growth.