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     Volume 4 Issue 33 | February 11, 2005 |

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Women's Hair Loss

Most people assume that it is only men who suffer from hair loss, but nothing could be further from the truth. The overwhelming cause is a hereditary condition called androgenetic alopecia or female-pattern hair loss. One of the least engaging facts about getting older is that a significant number of women also experience hair loss

All women have some of the male hormone testosterone in their bodies, but women with androgenetic alopecia are more sensitive to the hormone. This sensitivity causes hair to thin all over the head, and some women develop thinning patches similar to male-pattern hair loss

Baldness occurs when the hair falls out but a new hair does not grow in its place. The cause of the failure to grow a new hair is not well understood, but it is associated with genetic predisposition, aging, and levels of endocrine hormones. Changes in the levels of the androgens can affect hair production. For example, after the hormonal changes of menopause, many women find that the hair on the head is thinned, while facial hair is coarser. Although new hair is not produced, the follicle remains alive, suggesting the possibility of new hair growth.

Genetic hair loss and moult or increased hair shedding accounts for the majority of all hair loss complaints in women. Women are more likely to thin diffusely from behind the front hairline to the crown.

The most common type of hair loss seen in women is androgenetic alopecia, also known as female pattern baldness. This is seen as hair thinning predominantly over the top and sides of the head. It is most commonly seen after menopause, although it may begin as early as puberty. Normal hair fall is approximately 100-125 hairs per day but these hairs are replaced. True hair loss occurs when lost hairs are not regrown or when the daily hair shed exceeds 125 hairs.

There are two different types of hair loss, medically known as anagen effluvium and Telogen effluvium. Anagen effluvium is generally due to internally administered medications, such as chemotherapy agents, that poison the growing hair follicle Telogen effluvium, is due to an increased number of hair follicles entering the resting stage.

Hair loss may also occur due to dieting. Diet programmes which are designed or administered under the direction of a physician with prescribed meals, dietary supplements and vitamin ingestion have become popular. Sometimes the client is told the vitamins are a necessary part of the programme to prevent hair loss associated with dieting. From a dermatologist's standpoint, however, the vitamins cannot prevent hair loss associated with rapid, significant weight loss. Furthermore, many of these supplements are high in Vitamin A which can magnify hair loss.

Vegetarianism and dieting can result in hair loss if they cause iron deficiency. Iron and zinc supplements should be taken if the diet does not produce enough on it's own.
If someone is anaemic this can cause excessive hair loss. A doctor should be consulted as a course of iron tablets may be all that's needed to sort the problem out.

Physical And Emotional Stress
Surgeries, severe illnesses and emotional stress can cause hair loss. The body simply shuts down production of hair during periods of stress since it is not necessary for survival and instead devotes its energies toward repairing vital body structures. In many cases there is a three month delay between the actual event and the onset of hair loss. Furthermore, there may be another three month delay prior to the return of noticeable hair regrowth. This then means that the total hair loss and regrowth cycle can last 6 months or possibly longer when induced by physical or emotional stress. There are some health conditions which may go undetected that can contribute to hair loss. These include anaemia or low blood count and thyroid abnormalities. Both of these conditions can be detected by a simple, inexpensive blood test.

In women some hormonal preparations may produce hair in places where it is least desired, such as on the face.

Hormonal Change
Hormonal changes are a common cause of female hair loss. Many women do not realise that hair loss can occur after pregnancy or following discontinuation of birth control pills. It is important to remember that the hair loss may be delayed by three months following the hormonal change and another three months will be required for new growth to be fully achieved.

It is estimated that up to 45% of women suffer considerable hair loss after the birth of a baby, although hair may not fall out till three months later. A small number of woman suffer severe or even complete hair lose after pregnancy. The reason for this is hormonal. When a woman is pregnant the levels of the hormone progesterone are unusually high and this has the effect of forcing hair into the resting phase prematurely. After pregnancy when hormone level's re-balance, new hair begins to grow and eventually pushes the resting hair out. When the hair begins to fall it is usually a good sign that new growth is on the way. However the fall can last up to six months and few women find their hair never regains its former luxurious thickness. All you can do is eat a well-balanced diet to ensure that the hair has all it needs for healthy growth and treat it with care.

An underactive thyroid, a problem which is related to auto-immune disease, also leads to increased hair loss and this may be one of the first symptoms noticed. Many women suffer thyroid dysfunction after childbirth, that coupled with post-pregnancy hair fall, sometimes confuses the issue. A treatment of thyroid hormone prescribed by your doctor will usually clear up the problem up.

High fevers or a local skin problem with the scalp are two more possible causes of hair loss. In fact persistent hair fall can be a symptom of such a wide variety of underlying health problems that it's always advisable to consult a doctor if you are worried in the slightest.

Hair transplants consist of removal of tiny plugs of hair from areas where the hair is continuing to grow and placing them in areas that are balding. This can cause minor scarring in the donor areas, and carries a modest risk for skin infection. The procedure usually requires multiple transplantation sessions and may be expensive.

Suturing of hair pieces to the scalp is not recommended as it can result in scars, infections, and abscess of the scalp or brain.

Myths Related to Hair Loss
*Frequent shampooing contributes to hair loss.
*Hats and wigs cause hair loss.
*100 strokes of the hair brush daily will create healthier hair.
*Permanent hair loss is caused by perms, colours and other cosmetic treatments.
*Women are expected to develop significant hair back thicker.
*Shaving one's head will cause the hair to grow back thicker.
*Standing on one's head will cause increased circulation and thereby stimulate hair growth!
*Dandruff causes permanent hair loss.
*There are cosmetic products that will cause the hair to grow thicker and faster.
*Stress causes permanent hair loss.
*Hair loss does not occur in the late teens or early twenties.
*Hair loss affects only intellectuals.
*There is a cure for androgenetic Alopecia.

Treatment Options
The most common treatment for hair loss is a 2 percent solution of minoxidil (Rogaine).

Hair Replacement Surgery - Modern surgical techniques have made transplantation for females a viable treatment option providing they are qualified candidates and have realistic expectations. Hair Additions -- Modern forms of hair additions have also made recent improvements in simulating a natural appearance. A consultation with a skilled specialist to discuss your options is advised.

Source: Stophair Lossnow.com


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