Many think of hair loss as a male problem, but it affects up to a third of all women at various times in their lives. But unlike men, women experience thinning hair without baldness, and there can be several underlying causes for the problem.
Some are associated with inflammation. Some are female-pattern hair loss caused by genetic or hormonal factors. The good news is that hair loss can stabilize with treatment, and in some cases, it may be reversible. When it’s not, there are cosmetic procedures that can help.
Understanding Hair Loss
Hair loss is determined by what’s happening in your hair follicles, causing you to find those extra strands in your brush. Everyone loses hair as part of its three-stage growth cycle, which occurs naturally.
This stage refers to when a hair strand is actively growing. It can last anywhere from two to eight years.
This phase is a short transition lasting up to three weeks. During this stage, the hair has stopped growing and is ready to shed.
This when the hair is ejected from the follicle. After the hair sheds, the follicle stays dormant, typically for about three months, before a new hair begins to sprout.
Hair loss is individual. Most men and women have a sense of how much is considered normal hair loss. When you notice you’re losing more hair than usual, you’re shedding large clumps of hair, or you see visible thinning, it may be something is amiss.
Causes for Hair Loss
Numerous issues can trigger female hair loss. Some are external, like taking certain medications, frequently wearing hairstyles to pull the hair too tight or even a stressful event like surgery. Or, thinning hair may be triggered by something going on inside the body like an inflammatory condition, a recent pregnancy, a shift in hormones, or a thyroid problem.
The problem could be genetic, the most common known as female-pattern hair loss. Women with this issue might notice a wider parting at the top of the scalp, often beginning when a woman is in her forties or fifties. Women can experience this if she inherits specific genes from her parents. Hormonal shifts occurring during menopause may also spur it.
Another cause for women’s hair loss is an inflammatory condition affecting the scalp. That might be eczema, psoriasis, or a disease called frontal fibrosing alopecia. This issue typically causes hair loss and scarring, and hair loss at the front of the scalp above the forehead.
Other common causes of hair loss include the overuse of damaging hair products or tools like blow dryers and other appliances that heat the hair. Underlying illness, autoimmune conditions like lupus, nutritional deficiencies, or hormonal imbalances may also cause hair to shed.
Hair Loss Treatments
To reverse the effects of hair loss, there are several options available at Connecticut Facial Plastic Surgery. We offer hair transplant surgery to address hair loss and balding. Hair transplant surgery is the surgical removal of your hair follicles from one scalp area where the hair grows in abundance.
For most patients, this is the back of the scalp or towards the middle or bottom. Your hair naturally grows in follicular units (clumps of one or more hair follicles). Each follicular unit can contain a single hair follicle or up to five or six hair follicles.
There are two possible methods to harvest your hair for transplant. Using the strip method (Follicular Unit Transfer or FUT), a small section of hair-bearing skin is surgically removed from the back of the scalp, allowing for the extraction of hundreds of hair follicles. While FUT requires an incision that will leave a scar after the procedure, the scar is usually undetectable. It can be hidden underneath growing hair.
Follicular unit extraction (FUE) allows for the extraction of individual follicular units from the donor site using a surgical punch technique. The advantage of FUE is that there is no surgical incision to remove a portion of the skin, thus no scar. However, FUE typically takes longer to perform and may result in fewer hair follicles for transplant.