Although we tend to think of balding as a male exclusive disease, women make up 40% of people who experience permanent hair loss. Here are five of the main reasons why that happens to female heads.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome also known as polycystic ovary syndrome is a metabolic disorder affecting up to five million biological females in the United States.
Scalp hair loss is among its many possible side effects including weight gain, irregular periods and excessive hair growth on other parts of the body. In the case of telogen efflufium sudden hair loss is our body's reaction to experiencing an extremely traumatic physical or emotional event such as experiencing childbirth or extreme stress or it could be a side effect of certain medications. When this happens up to 90% of our hair in its anogen or growing phase is immediately accelerated to the telogen or shedding phase. At which point hair might begin falling out by the handful.
Fortunately telogen efflufium related hair loss is treatable and prone to regrowth. Fans, myself included, are probably familiar with something called trichotillomania. This so-called hair-pulling disorder is characterized by an overwhelming, irresistible compulsion to pull your hair out whether that's on your head or the rest of your body.
A lot of times it's either more focused done to relieve stress and tension or just an automatic kind of thing that people might mindlessly do. Researchers aren't entirely sure what exact interplay of genetics and environmental factors lead to trichotillomania but some think it'slinked to obsessive compulsive disorder and it is treatable through things like education, medication and behavioral therapy.
Sometimes female hair loss results from our follicles literally turning against us. Alopecia areata for instance is an autoimmune disorder in which our white blood cells mistakenly surround and inflame our hair follicles leading to hair loss. Fortunately those white blood cells don't completely destroy the hair follicles which means that hair regrowth is possible.
For the estimated 4.7 million Americans born with this disorder it splits pretty evenly between men and women. Finally androgenic alopecia or female-pattern baldness is the leading cause of hair loss among women. Since it's hereditary it can't be prevented either. It works similarly to alopecia arreata except instead of our white blood cells surrounding and inflaming those hair follicles, a hormone derivative called dihydrotestosterone, hence the androgenic in androgenic alopecia attacks those hair follicles even more aggressively. While minoxidil better known by its brand name Rogaine can slow that alopecia related hair loss, there currently is no cure. The chances of regrowth are pretty slim as well.
These five conditions that I've mentioned are only a handful of things that lead to female hair loss along with hypothyroidism, traction alopecia or hair-styling induced hair loss and chemotherapy. In addition to learning more about those causes I think it's also important to spread the word about that 40% statistic and shine a light on how women make up such a sizable proportion of the hair loss community so that we can de-stigamatize and de-gender this balding process because regardless of who you are losing your hair can fee like losing a part of yourself.