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Coping with the Problem of Female Hair Loss

By Charles Hopkins Published 11/27/2007 | Health
Hair loss is part of our daily lives, whether you realize it or not and is generally more common as people grow older, but can affect younger people as well. Hair loss is a gradual process, some research has indicated that it takes 5 years or more for follicle roots to fully cease. For many patients, hair loss is a major emotional problem and is quite normal after major surgery, so it is important for patients to speak to their surgeon about this possible side effect before undergoing surgery.

Hair loss is quite a likely occurrence for children being treated for leukemia. In male- and female-pattern baldness, the culprit is something called dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, which is derived from androgen, a male hormone.

Women

Women's hair tends to thin all over and the pattern of hair loss in women is different to the typical receding hairline and crown loss that is common in men. Women develop hair loss as frequently as men do, but because of hormonal differences between men and women, women typically lose their hair in a more diffuse way than men. Women rarely experience loss of all their hair. A reasonably common cause of hair loss in women is birth control pills.

Women may be given minoxidil or a hormonal or iron supplement to help prevent hair loss. Women with hair loss due to androegenetic alopecia tend to have miniaturizing hairs of variable diameter over all affected areas of the scalp.

Health

Healthy diet, enough time of sleep, regular exercise, and not worrying too much can prevent hair loss, whereas problems such as lupus, thyroid condition, and diabetes can cause hair loss. Eating habits vary from healthy eating habits on one end of the scale, to serious eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia on the other end. While hair loss is more harmful to the psyche than anything else, some of the causes of baldness may represent serious health problems.

Certainly a good healthy diet will tend to reduce hair loss and it is important to keep your health good, but hair loss can affect the emotional health of both men and particularly women and it can be a rather glib statement to tell people not to worry about their looks. Coping with hair loss depends a lot on your attitude and the support of your friends and family.

Hormones

The thyroid gland is in the front of the lower neck and makes important hormones that keep the body healthy. Hormones called androgens, commonly testosterone, can cause hair follicles to shrink, causing thinning of hair or eventual hair loss. In pregnancy, hormone levels increase in the early stages of pregnancy and cause the hair growth cycle to slow down.

Doctors refer to common baldness as "androegentic alopecia" which implies that a combination of hormones and heredity (genetics) is needed to develop the condition. The hormone imbalance that occurs in polycystic ovary syndrome can cause hair loss in teenage girls as well as in adult women.

Female-pattern androegenetic alopecia is a common condition, its traetment includes minoxidil 2% and antiandrogens (cyproterone acetate) in case of obvious hyerandrogenism; finasteride, not currently approved for women, is however being tested in postmenopausal women.