Symptoms of hair loss
If you notice that you’re shedding a large amount of hair every day, you may be experiencing female pattern hair loss. If you suspect that you’re going through hair loss, you should seek out treatment from a dermatologist as early as possible.
On average, you lose somewhere between 50 and 100 hairs a day. Female pattern baldness is characterized by losing 125 hairs or more a day. You shed old hair so that new hair can grow in. Hair loss occurs when you lose more hair than is growing in to replace it. This is different from just shedding hair normally. The medical term for this, in both men and women, is alopecia.
You might notice more hair stuck in your brush or comb after brushing your hair. Hair might appear in other places, like on the floor, in the shower, or stuck to your clothing. Another symptom to look out for is hair thinning. In women, this usually appears as your part widening. Older women may also notice their hairline receding.
Other signs of hair loss in women include:
- Being able to see your scalp through your hair
- Hair breakage
- Smaller ponytails, or being able to collect less hair in your hand
- Circular or patchy bald spots
Women experiencing female pattern hair loss will notice that the thinning usually occurs at the front or on the top of their heads.
Hair loss in women is progressive, so it will continue. Women usually don’t lose all their hair the way that men do, though. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should make an appointment with a dermatologist. These doctors specialize in diagnosing and treating hair loss, so they can figure out the best treatment plan for you.
Causes of female pattern hair loss
Different kinds of female hair loss have different causes. Some factors that can contribute to hair loss in women include:
- A family history of female pattern hair loss
- Certain medications, including some birth control pills
- Heavy blood loss during menstruation
- Changes in levels of androgen, the hormones that produce typically male features
Each one of your hair rests inside a follicle. This is a hole in your skin that holds the hair in place. As you age, your hair follicles shrink, causing hair loss. The follicles might not grow new hair, but they stay alive. Research suggests that it’s possible for these follicles to eventually grow new hairs.
Some women may also suddenly start losing hair because of physical or emotional stress or shock. You may notice your hair falling out in your hands when combing or washing. You’ll notice your hair getting thinner, but this kind of hair loss is usually only temporary.
Treatment for female pattern hair loss
Hair loss in women can be really frustrating since it’s generally more acceptable for men to experience it. It can take a toll on your well-being and confidence. However, you’re not alone. It’s estimated that one-third of all women experience hair loss at some point during their lifetimes. Two-thirds may also experience thinning and bald spots.
Minoxidil. The most common treatment for female pattern hair loss is medication. Minoxidil is a medicine that has been used by men for years to treat hair loss and is now approved by the FDA for women, too. Minoxidil can be bought in either 2% or 5% solutions and is sold over-the-counter.
This medication stimulates hair growth, so you might notice excess hair growth on your cheeks or forehead. Minoxidil can also cause discomfort on your scalp, including:
You might notice an increase in hair loss during the first two weeks as new hair growth is stimulated.
Iron supplements. If you have a heavy flow during your period or a history of anemia (low numbers of red blood cells), your doctor may ask for a blood test. If low iron levels are determined to be the cause of your hair loss, your doctor will suggest an iron supplement.
Anti-androgens. Androgens are hormones that can speed up hair loss in women. If you don’t notice a change after trying minoxidil, another option is a medicine called spironolactone. This is an anti-androgen that can be especially useful for women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Women with PCOS usually have higher levels of androgens.
Coping with hair loss
Female pattern baldness can have an impact on your psychological and emotional well-being. Whether your hair loss is long-term or temporary, it can be difficult to accept. To make things easier, you can consider joining a support group or talking to your friends or family about it.
If you’re having a hard time with your new appearance, you can consider options like scarves, hats, or hair extensions. You might choose not to cover your head at all. Either way, focus on the qualities that you love about yourself and celebrate them.
- The Predicted 'Tripledemic' Is Here: Why Isn't There an RSV Vaccine?
- Frozen Stuffed Chicken Products & Microwave Ovens: A Recipe for Salmonella
- First FDA-Approved Fecal-Based Treatment Helps Fight a Tough Superbug
- Seizures Seem Tied to Faster Decline in People With Dementia
- Signs That COVID Infection Might Harm the Liver
- More Health News »
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
American Osteopathic College of Dermatology: "Female Pattern Hair Loss."
Cleveland Clinic: "Hair Loss in Women."
Harvard Health Publishing: "Treating female pattern hair loss."
Mayo Clinic: "Hair loss."
Mount Sinai: "Female pattern baldness."
NHS: "Women and hair loss: coping tips."
Top Best Treatment for Female Pattern Hair Loss Related Articles
Can the Amount of Water You Drink Affect Hair Loss and Growth?Drinking enough water helps keep your skin soft and supple. Staying hydrated helps fight hair loss and helps your hair grow.
Can Stress Cause Hair Loss and Will It Grow Back?What is stress related hair loss? Will the hair grow back? Learn about the relationship between stress and hair loss and what to do if you’re experiencing it.
Women’s Hair Loss: Causes, Treatments, and SolutionsHair loss in women has many causes. Menopause is one cause of hair loss in women over 50. Hormones, medications, and stress are other potential causes. Hair loss treatments may include minoxidil (Rogaine), low-level laser therapy (LLLT), and steroids or anti-inflammatory medications.
Hair Loss (Alopecia)There are many causes of scalp hair loss. This featured article covers the common ones such as patchy hair loss (alopecia areata, trichotillomania, and tinea capitis), telogen effluvium, and androgenetic alopecia (male-pattern baldness, female-pattern baldness).
Hair Loss: Alopecia, Thinning Hair in Men and WomenLearn about hair loss (alopecia) in women and men. Discover hair loss causes and treatments like shampoos and drugs, as well as how to prevent hair loss.
Hair Loss QuizTrue or false: Genetic hair loss comes from the mother's side of the family. Take the Hair Loss Quiz to learn about your hair. Learn what damages hair and what doesn't. Take the quiz!
Why Has My Hair Suddenly Changed Texture?Many different things can change the texture of your hair. It can be your age or any health conditions like menopause, and cancer that you can start noticing some changes in your hair.