Shedding a few hairs in the shower or when styling is a natural process -- the body is designed to grow, shed and replace your hair all the time. However, some women lose a lot more than just that normal 50 to 100 hairs per day and don’t replace it very effectively.
If you’re seeing too much hair on the shower drain or your styling brush, there could be more going on. Below you'll find some leading causes of hair loss in women.
Possible Hair Loss Scenario No. 1: Genetics
Some women will experience hair loss as a result of their genetic makeup, which cannot be avoided or changed. The technical name is androgenetic alopecia and it’s caused by a gene inherited from one or both parents. This type of hair loss is the equivalent of male pattern baldness in men and can be slowed through the use of topical solutions like 2 percent minoxidil. The best recourse is to visit a dermatologist as soon as you notice that your hair isn't just shedding but thinning.
Possible Hair Loss Scenario No. 2: Thyroid Disease
Hypothyroidism, or "low thyroid," is a condition that has side effects such as weight gain, fatigue and hair loss. When these symptoms seem to be occurring together, it’s important to get the thyroid checked. Treatment may include prescription-strength synthetic or natural thyroid tablets, which can help. Topical solutions can also be used to help regrow lost hair.
Possible Hair Loss Scenario No. 3: Telogen Effluvium
This condition can develop following pregnancy, significant weight loss, any form of surgery, new drugs, prolonged stress or really any new shock to your system. Dietary deficiencies can also lead to this condition, particularly, low intake of iron, vitamins B6 and B12, zinc, or the amino acid lysine. Telogen effluvium causes large clumps of hair to be lost. Thinning may seem severe but the good news is this condition can be completely reversed, since it's only related to hair follicles being dormant or asleep. If you’re experiencing hair loss, it’s important to discuss stress with your physician. Treatment is based on removing the trigger, like stress or dietary deficiencies, but sometimes prescription topical medications like 2 percent minoxidil can help.
Possible Hair Loss Scenario No. 4: PCOS
Polycystic ovarian syndrome often goes undetected in many women. However, when an otherwise healthy woman begins losing hair, it can be due to the secretion of excess male hormones, as is characteristic of this condition. Using oral contraceptives (birth control) is often enough to balance the body and remedy the issue. Natural approaches to this complex problem include a weight loss program and diet in order to reduce insulin resistance and naturally balance hormones.
Possible Hair Loss Scenario No. 5: Anemia
Women with iron deficiency have blood lacking adequate counts of red blood cells which carry oxygen to your tissues. Anemia is characterized by symptoms such as fatigue, weakness and low body temperature. In many instances, it also leads to hair loss, which can be corrected by adjusting the diet to include more iron-rich foods and possibly taking an iron supplement.
You don’t have to keep losing your hair. If any of these scenarios sound like they fit you, be sure to make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your treatment options. In addition, your hair can be a reflection of your overall health -- examine your diet, your stress levels and triggers and begin a solid dietary and exercise program as appropriate.