Female hair loss is genetic and the most common form of hair loss in women but there are other causes that may need to be diagnosed by a hair loss expert. (See the list of other causes of hair loss below). Often hair loss is temporary such as post pregnancy. In other cases hair loss is due to medications like birth control or high blood pressure treatments which may require a complete medical history to be discovered. There are a number of illnesses that cause hair loss that can be diagnosed and at times treated without surgery.
For women hair loss can be devastating. Fortunately there are a number of good treatments available, both medical and surgical.
Female pattern hair loss (FPHL) and Male pattern hair loss (MPHL) differ in their appearance. Women often have progressive thinning on top of the scalp and retain a hairline.
Other Causes for Hair Loss in Women
ludwigWhile genetic female pattern hair loss is the most common cause of permanent hair loss in women, it is by no means the only one and can be the effect of a number of different causes. Stress, hormonal problems, pregnancy, and certain medications can all cause hair loss and most often is temporary. Other causes of hair loss, some of which are more permanent, include:
Alopecia areata – autoimmune disorder that causes patchy hair loss ranging from diffuse thinning to extensive areas of baldness with islands of retained hair.
Scarring alopecia – hair loss due to scarring of the scalp. A common cause of scarring alopecia is persistent tight braiding or corn-rowing of scalp hair. Over a period of time scarring may destroy hair follicles and result in permanent hair loss. More severe scarring alopecia may be caused by physical cutting-ripping-tearing injury to scalp skin or burn injury.
Telogen effluvium – a relatively common type of hair loss caused when a large percentage of scalp hair follicles are shifted into “shedding” phase. An underlying cause may be hormonal, nutritional, or drug-associated.
Loose-anagen syndrome – a condition that occurs primarily in fair-haired persons. Scalp hair sits loosely in hair follicles and is easily extracted by normal combing or brushing. In some cases the condition appears during childhood and improves in later life.
Triangular alopecia – a loss of hair in the frontal area of the scalp that sometimes begins in childhood. Hair loss may be complete in the frontal area or a few hairs may remain. The frontal hair loss can look similar to early-stage AGA. The cause of triangular alopecia is not known but it can be successfully treated.
Trichotillomania – compulsive hair plucking. The condition ranges from idly plucking hair while reading or watching TV to ritualistic plucking of hair in specific patterns. Over time, trichotillomania can cause scarring alopecia and permanent hair loss. Hair loss due to trichotillomania usually cannot be successfully treated until underlying psychological or emotional conditions are treated successfully.
Scalp infections – bacteria, fungi and viruses can invade and damage hair follicles, causing hair loss. The infection must be diagnosed and treated before any hair restoration can be undertaken.
Anorexia – unhealthy pressures and unrealistic weight goals have resulted in an increase of eating disorders, such as anorexia, the abstaining or loss of appetite for food. Prolonged anorexia can result in hair loss due to malnutrition. Those suffering from anorexia should seek counseling immediately. * Excerpts taken from the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery, www.ishrs.org, © 2014