They say that “a girl’s hair is her life” and it’s no wonder since a lot of women invest months up to years in growing out their perfectly well-kempt hair that carries their own unique and individual style. In fact, a girl’s hair is considered as a part of her fashion since it puts an incredible amount of accent to her overall look. When something interferes with that asset, it tends to be troublesome and problematic. A serious and frustrating predicament for almost all women in the world is losing a few strands of hair.
It can start out by noticing a few strands of hair being tangled on your hairbrush or while scrubbing your scalp with shampoo. For men, it may be no big deal but for women, it can be an alarming sign of hair loss. There are several factors that lead to hair loss and one should take measures in taking care of his or her hair to preserve its growth and condition.
Alopecia is a phenomenon in which a person starts losing his or her hair. This condition is usually more common in men, which is characterized by gradual hair loss that is relative to one’s age and later leads to balding. However, the cases of hair loss in women are gradually rising as well. What are the factors that contribute to the loss of hair in women? How can a woman prevent or minimize hair loss?
Here are just some of the causes that lead to hair loss in women:
Genes and Heredity
When it comes to genes, there’s nothing that we can really do about it. When your family is prevalent with the cases of hair loss among the female family members, you should expect that you’ll be experiencing the same as well. This is referred to as androgenic alopecia and also the most common cause of hair loss among people. This can be inherited in your genes either from your father or mother’s side but these chances significantly increases if both of your parents have hair loss.
A common characteristic for women who are prone to hair loss due to their hereditary condition is through the thickness of their hair. Once the hairline starts thinning, losing hair would usually develop. The development of hair loss is a slow process and can even start as early as 20 years old. Hair loss may be diffused or spread out. While it is hereditary in nature you can still do something about it by slowing down the hair loss through the use of medications like minoxidil which is applied to the scalp two times a day but this should be used at lower doses for women to mitigate the side effects of the drug and shouldn’t be used when you’re pregnant.
Abnormal Thyroid Hormones
Hormonal changes can have a lot of effects on our body. Just one of those effects is hair loss. Hypothyroidism is the decreased amount of thyroid hormone which leads to the slowing down of the body’s metabolic processes. This also leads to effects on the cardiovascular system, nervous system, digestive system and more.
Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are just two of the most common health problems that women experience. Metabolism covers a wide range of functions in our body. The thyroid hormone exercises that role in almost everything in our body from controlling the metabolic rate, determining the heart rate, the character of our respirations, our digestive patterns and even the growth of our hair, skin cells and nails. If you don’t have the proper levels of thyroid hormones in your body, you may notice changes in the growth and quality of your hair.
In hypothyroidism, the thyroid hormones are decreased which lead to signs and symptoms like fatigue, weight gain, mood changes and constipation. In terms of the nails, skin and hair, they become more brittle and they lose their luster, leading to being easily damaged. On the other hand, in hyperthyroidism, the thyroid hormones are increased.
It is characterized by weight loss, irritability, diarrhea, sweating, weakness, increased heart rate and respiratory rate and bulging eyes. But that doesn’t mean that hair loss isn’t expected since the signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism are almost opposite to each other. In hyperthyroidism, hair loss is still to be expected as the body’s metabolism is sped up which allow the growth and then the falling off of hair.
To manage thyroid problems, your physician may prescribe you with thyroid hormone medications, either to control the production of thyroid hormones in the case of hyperthyroidism or to increase the production of thyroid hormones in hypothyroidism. Together with the medications, regular testing of TSH or thyroid-stimulating hormone may be done.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
SLE or Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, also referred to as lupus, is a chronic autoimmune disease that can affect women, especially in their childbearing years. What SLE does is reprogram the body’s immune system to attack the healthy tissues. This brings about a myriad of signs and symptoms that is characterized by general discomfort to the person affected. It is characterized by headache, fever, chest pain, extreme fatigue, arthritis or painful and swollen joints, especially when moving and the signature butterfly rash that is found across the face on the bridge of the nose. SLE is commonly aggravated by a number of factors but the most common one being prolonged exposure to heat.
SLE also brings about hair loss which can be noticed by scrubbing one’s scalp during a shower or in some cases, it can be severe that patches of hair may be removed together with the appearance of rashes on the scalp as well. Because of the diverse outlook and the many body systems that SLE affects, it is also called as the “great imitator”.
Supportive care is observed in managing SLE like using medications to relieve joint pain, fatigue and other signs and symptoms. Together with the medications prescribed by your physician, regular monitoring of the Anti-Nuclear Antibodies or ANA is a must to indicate if it is indeed SLE.