Hair loss can be devastating for women. Fortunately there are a number of good treatments available, both medical and surgical. Hair grows and falls out in a natural cycle over and over during your lifetime and at any one time about 90% is in the growing phase that lasts 2 to 6 years.
On average hair grows 1/2cm to 1cm a month. Hair grows in ‘family’ units called follicles which may contain 1 to 4 hairs. It is not uncommon to shed up to 100 hairs a day from a normal scalp.
Female pattern hair loss is the most common form of hair loss in women but there are other causes that may need to be diagnosed by a hair loss expert. Often times the hair loss is temporary such as after pregnancy. Some times hair loss is due to medicines such as birth control or high blood pressure treatments which may require a complete medical history to be discovered. There are a number of illnesses that cause hair loss that can be diagnosed and at times treated without surgery.
Female pattern hair loss (FPHL) and Male pattern hair loss (MPHL) differ in their appearance. Women often have progressive thinning on top of the scalp and retain a hairline.
Hair loss in women for reasons other than FPHL can be:
- Temporary shedding of hair (telogen effluvium)
- Trauma from braiding or tension on the hair (traction alopecia)
- Skin diseases and recent illness
- Iron deficiency
- Hormone abnormalities
- Thyroid dysfunction
Female Pattern Hair loss is usually diagnosed based on the appearance and pattern of hair loss and by ruling out other causes. Blood tests and a skin biopsy may be used to diagnose a medical disorder that causes hair loss.