When you think of hair loss it's natural to assume
that it's a condition that predominantly affects men. Some experts
however suggest that as many as one in four women will experience hair
loss at some time in their lives. So why don't we see and hear more
about it? Perhaps the answer has something to do with one or more of
- Women are better at disguising hair loss.
- Women's hair loss is generally less extensive in terms of severity.
- Women's hair loss tends to be spread evenly over the head rather than concentrated in one or two spots.
So why do women lose hair - are the causes very different to those
that result in male baldness? There are probably three common reasons
for hair loss in women:
1. Female pattern baldness - believe it or not, most women affected
by hair loss lose it for the same reasons as men. They suffer from
androgenetic alopecia which is a reaction to male hormones in the body,
specifically the conversion of testosterone into the hair-unfriendly
DHT. In the case of women, pattern baldness may start later and the
effects may be less extreme due to the influence of female hormones,
but the condition is nonetheless the same as that found in male pattern
2. Telogen effluvium - this is regarded as the second most common
cause of women's hair loss and this is unsurprising given the nature of
the condition. Telogen effluvium is characterized by a general thinning
of the hair and is usually brought about as a result of some traumatic
event causing sufficient stress to interfere with the normal hair
growth cycle. Given that pregnancy is a prime example of the type of
event that can shock the hair growth cycle then perhaps the high
incidence of telogen effluvium amongst women is only to be expected.
3. Alopecia areata - this is the third most common hair loss
condition to affect women. It is characterized by patchy areas of hair
loss on the head or it can be more widespread over the body. It is
thought to be caused by deficiencies in the immune system but much is
still not known about the condition. In many cases the hair regrows
spontaneously after a variable period of time, but in a minority of
cases the problem may be more severe and longstanding.
If you experience any form of hair loss arrange to visit your
physician to discuss the treatments that may be suitable for your