One of the most prevalent health issues affecting both men and women is hair loss. It affects about a third of women in their lifetime and almost half of the people over 60 years old. Female hair loss can be devastating both physically and emotionally. Many women can suffer from thinning hair for years before their hair loss is diagnosed.
What are the cycles of hair growth?
Hair grows in cycles. Every hair on your body has a process, and shedding is a natural part of it. The three stages of this cycle are;
- The Anagen Phase- the growth period. This is when your hair grows actively, increasing about 1 centimeter every 28 days. If a strand of hair were to be taken from your head and placed on a microscope slide, it would appear as a small rectangular patch with very active dividing cells seen under a microscope (known as keratinocytes).
- The Catagen Phase- the transitional phase. Upon reaching maximum length, the hair enters a transition phase where it stops producing new cells and shrinks in diameter to about 20% of its original size. This phase is characterized by the degradation of the hair follicle. This means a rapid loss of cells and degradation of the cell matrix. If a strand were to be taken from this phase, it would appear on the microscope slide with no dividing keratinocytes.
- The Telogen Phase- resting period or shedding phase. Approximately 10% of your hair is in this phase at any one time, and it lasts up to four months to allow for new growth to begin again. During this phase, the hair follicle is completely empty and ready to be re-initiated. As you continue to grow your new anagen hair, the old telogen hair will begin to shed. The telogen hairs are easily pulled out of the follicle, but they fall out on their own and can be found in your hair brush or bed sheets if you have long enough strands.
The hair cycle may last anywhere from 2 to 10 years, depending on the person. Sometimes, however, the cycle can be aborted abruptly before it completes itself.
Types of Hair loss
Before seeking treatment for hair loss, you should understand the types of hair loss. Once you’re aware of what is causing the problem, you can seek treatment more effectively to learn ways to deal with it. There are three main types of hair loss.
1. Anagen effluvium
This is when hair follicles are damaged by disease or medications. Anagen effluvium occurs most often in women. The hair is usually thin and may fall out in patches.
2. Telogen effluvium
This is when the number of hairs in the resting stage increases, causing hair to fall out. Telogen effluvium often occurs secondary to an event that stresses the body, such as a high fever, surgery, childbirth, or significant emotional trauma. It may also result from hormone imbalances caused by pregnancy, menopause, and thyroid issues. The hair follicles become so small that they do not have enough room to hold all the hairs, causing them to fall out. The hair is usually shedding in clumps and is generally not very thin.
3. Female pattern hair loss (FPHL)
This is the main factor behind hair loss in women. FPHL is also called female androgenetic alopecia. Women who experience this type of hair loss usually have a family history of it. It can be caused by hormonal changes, especially during and after menopause, or even after puberty.
What are the myths about hair loss?
There are many myths about hair loss that can affect a person’s self-esteem and emotional well-being.
- It is not true that women lose more hair when they comb their hair or wash it.
- It is not true that the 80s hairstyle of backcombing the hair to make big “beehive” shapes will give you more hair, but this hairdo does make your thinning spots more noticeable because it stands out from the background of your healthy, surrounding hair.
- It is not true that dying your hair will stop it from falling out.
- It is not true that frequent trims will make your hair grow back faster.
- It is not true that you must have a diagnosable disease or health condition to experience hair loss.
Causes Of Hair Loss and Baldness
A lot of women have hair loss that is not considered bald but still causes many problems. In these cases, you can still use hair loss treatments and medications after understanding the underlying cause.
1. Hormonal Imbalances
The hormonal changes accompanying menopause and post-menopause are responsible for most hair loss in women. As women grow older, their bodies naturally produce less androgens (male hormones), but many women experience a stubborn increase in androgen levels as time passes. This causes the delicate follicles to become vulnerable to all of the stresses that hair receives, leaving them more susceptible to androgen-induced damage.
One of the reasons may also be a lack of growth hormones, especially in the elderly. Hgh injections for sale are available only by prescription, so you should first contact an endocrinologist with this problem.
2. Thyroid problems
A woman’s hair follicles are especially vulnerable to thyroid problems because they contain high concentrations of iodine. This is important because the thyroid hormone delivers oxygen to the hair follicles and contributes to healthy, thick hair development. When your thyroid functions properly, your body produces enough thyroid hormones, and your hair stays in good shape.
Having an overactive thyroid can also result in hair loss. Taking thyroid medication can make your scalp more sensitive to normal levels of stress, which can cause a lot of hairs to fall out at once.
3. Alopecia Areata
This condition causes progressive hair loss on the scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes, and beard in people with no other health problems. It can be triggered by a stressful event or illness and often seems to happen overnight.
When it strikes, a person may notice small patches of hair loss or hair falling out. It may also cause inflammation in the blood vessels and skin around the affected area, making any hairs left visible appear very thin. Many people are bald by their early thirties because of this disease.
During pregnancy, the hormones in your body fluctuate and can cause your hair to become thinner. The reason for this is that all of the extra blood in your body has to get to the placenta. This means that many pregnant women suffer from iron-deficiency anemia, which in turn causes hair loss.
5. Physical Trauma
Sudden physical trauma, such as an accident, surgery, or an injury, can cause sudden hair loss. Shocks to the body can cause inflammation in the scalp and hair follicles that can lead to scarring or tissue death.
6. Nutrient Deficiencies
Your hair may fall out if you are not getting enough iron, iodine, or vitamin B-12. These nutrients contribute to healthy hair growth just as they do to growing a healthy baby. You can get all these nutrients from fish, eggs, dairy products, and leafy greens.
The treatment depends on the cause of hair loss. You can use various medications and vitamins, but you should consult with a doctor first to find out what the best treatment is for you.
HGH therapy can be very effective in treating female pattern baldness and other types of hair loss. Human growth hormone is made in the body, but as we age, we produce less and less. Women can use HGH injections to encourage the regrowth of thin hair, scalp sores, and related damage to the follicles. However, to start this therapy, you first need to get a prescription and take a blood test.
What’s the Takeaway
Thinning hair can be caused by a number of factors and has many possible causes, but it can be challenging to pinpoint the exact cause. However, a nutritional or hormonal imbalance is usually enough to tell you the underlying cause.
It’s never fun to have hair loss, but there are now more alternatives than ever for treating it thanks to the innovative therapies that are out there. Losing hair can make a person more self-conscious and uncomfortable with their appearance, but with the proper treatment, there is no reason that you should have to suffer.