It’s the Catch 22. None of the women in your family suffer from hair loss or female pattern baldness and yet, why the thinning hair? According to London’s Royal Free Hospital, ‘About 45 per cent of women will have some degree of female pattern hair loss by the time they reach 50,’ says Dr Jennifer Jones, a dermatologist there.
Hair thinning in women, also known as Tellogen Effluvium can occur for a number of reasons; medical, general or lifestyle, and genetic. And because of the varying nature of female hair loss, not all hair thinning solutions may be appropriate. Today we’re going to look at the cause and effect of female hair thinning and female hair loss and look at the most effective hair thinning solutions available for women today.
How and why does it occur : hair thinning in women?
Hair thinning in women will usually begin at the crown of the head, and over varying amounts of time and not in every case, may continue round to the temples and front line of the head. However, hair thinning in women is described by hair loss specialists as ‘diffuse’ because in this case a distinct pattern or particular rate of hair loss is usually entirely individual.
Tellogen Effluvium: thinning hair women and medical reasons
There are of course a number of potential medical reasons for hair thinning in women. The most common ones are:
Genetic hair loss – female pattern balding may occur due to the condition residing in your family’s DNA. This kind of hair loss is identified by shrunken hair follicles which may be indicated through a biopsy as well as a general examination.
Hair thinning women and the thyroid – Hyper- (high hormone level) or Hypo- (low hormone level) thyroidism is a treatable medical condition which can cause hair loss. The medication for a thyroid imbalance must also be taken with care as the side-effects of too high or low a dose could also affect hair growth.
Female hair loss and the menopause – the heightened effect of androgens at the same time as falling female hormones during menopause, a component of which is DHT (Dihydrotestosterone) may cause some hair loss during this time although it’s hard to say whether the hair loss will remain.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) – common in young women as well as the older generation, hair thinning occurs because of hormonal imbalances including heightened levels of androgens or testosterone and Dihydrotestosterone (DHT). High levels of these hormones in women, particularly DHT, causes hair loss.
Lifestyle, stress or general health reasons – it’s well known that stress can cause hair loss, and it may not be visible until some weeks after a stressful event or trauma. Trichotillomania is a psychological condition whereby the sufferer compulsively pulls their hair out leading to poor regrowth. We’ve blogged about diet before; a diet low in essential nutrients will most likely decrease hair, skin and nail health, potentially leading to brittle or thin locks.
Does hair thinning lead to baldness?
In many cases, the rate of hair loss compared to general hair growth on a woman’s scalp will vary. Since in many cases hair growth does not cease (as would be the case with female pattern baldness), the tellogen effluvium may be slow and only subtle or perhaps barely noticeable. With men, thinning hair does usually indicate a progression to baldness however for many women, low-level hair thinning may continue to occur without baldness. Some of the solutions below may help you to slow the rate of hair loss and also improve the condition of existing hair.
Thinning hair solutions for women
Seek medical help
Your first point of call is your GP. While there are no particular tests for telogen effluvium, your doctor may look for small, club- shaped bulbs on the fallen hair’s roots. This appearance indicates that the hair has gone through a complete cycle of growth, suggesting that the cycle may have sped up due to stress or another issue. He may also ask you about recent lifestyle events or changes in routine to support the evidence. He may also take steps to rule out any particular medical conditions which may include blood or skin tests. Following the doctor’s advice, we suggest you speak to a qualified, experienced hair restoration specialist who can give you definitive options as to on-going hair care and hair restoration. If you would like to speak to one of our Wimpole specialists, get in touch with us.
Minoxidil Lotion 4% and 5% is currently the most effective application for thinning hair. Many alternative health specialists also recommend regular scalp massage with hot oils (warm, not too hot!) or a range of natural mixtures. Here is a concise article about mixtures you can make at home.
You could also consider hair transplant, depending on the nature of your hair loss (some medical contraindications may apply). Hair transplant surgery has the ability to transplant hair exactly as it grows in nature, creating totally natural new hair growth that is undetectable, even under close examination. Treatment is available to men and women of all ages from 20 years up to and including the late 60s to 70s. With an FUT Hair Transplant, a very small amount of hair is removed from the natural donor area, from groupings called follicular units. Under microscopic magnification, grafts are created that keep these natural groupings intact. The grafts are then placed in tiny micro incisions in the bald area, created in a pattern and distribution that mimic nature.