Hair loss is a horrible ordeal to have to go through. Unfortunately, it is an issue people only tend to take seriously once they experience it themselves. This leaves the ones suffering from it to feel isolated — mainly females. Female hair loss is often an overlooked problem. There is not much awareness spread around regarding the issue. Which is why as soon as women begin to notice hair loss they go into panic mode and become overwhelmed with distress.
An issue only for men?
A lot of people consider hair loss a major concern for men only. This is probably primarily due to the media attention given to male celebrities who have undergone transplants, such as Wayne Rooney and Louis Walsh. However, the issue is very real for women. Research shows that four in every ten women will experience visible hair loss by the time they turn 40. So while female hair loss may be overshadowed by media attention on male hair loss, it is indeed a much more common problem than we think.
Different types of female hair loss
There are different types of hair loss patterns. For some, hair loss might be even throughout the scalp. Others experience clumps of hair falling from a particular patch on their head. However, regardless of the pattern of hair loss, the underlying causes are various. There are four main categories of female hair loss under which all causes fall. They are androgenic alopecia, alopecia areata, stress, and skin trauma.
Seeing as androgenic alopecia is a common side effect of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), female hair loss due to androgenic alopecia is a widespread issue. In a nutshell, androgenic alopecia happens when follicular units are hypersensitive to male hormones (androgens). This causes the units to shrink in response to their presence. Luckily, the degree of sensitivity to androgens among follicular groups on the scalp varies from one area to another which is why certain areas are prone to hair loss more than others and why hair loss is not even throughout the scalp.
Depending on the degree of hair loss, several treatments can resolve this type of female hair loss. Anti-androgen blocker pills, serums, or shampoos are common solutions. However, these treatments can hold their anti-androgenic effects for up to 24 hours. Meaning, after 24 hours, their effects wear off and patients should re-consume or re-apply the medication. In the long term, these treatments can take their toll on patients. They are very high maintenance and require monitoring and possibly a sharp memory.
Alopecia areata refers to hair loss that results from an autoimmune disorder such as Lupus. In an autoimmune disorder what generally happens is that the immune system attacks its cells. Unfortunately, the immune system does not discriminate, and follicular units are also attacked. This type of hair loss can only be reversed when the underlying disorder is treated.
Stress is the most significant universal cause for hair loss. It might not be very self-explanatory as the relationship between anxiety and hair loss is not exactly direct. One thing triggers a cascade of events where hair loss finally comes. Stress releases certain hormones and neurotransmitters that can trigger follicular units. These stress hormones disrupt the natural growth cycle of hair growth. Speeding hair shedding and halting the hair growth phase.
Thankfully, stressful times do not linger. Meaning with the end of those dark times, your hair will shine again.
When our scalp is exposed to serious injury, be it from burns or accidents, the follicular units are directly affected. If the damage penetrates deep enough, it might rupture the follicular units. Follicular units are what is responsible for hair generating hair growth. In the unfortunate event of skin trauma, they can be damaged. Meaning hair growth in the affected area will be halted permanently. In this type of hair loss, the only solution is hair transplantation
Permanent hair loss solutions?
People suffering from androgenic alopecia or hair loss due to trauma do not necessarily have to endure the struggle all life. Taking medication every day for the rest of one’s life is not a practical solution. Likewise, hair loss due to trauma does not mean permanent yearning for the lost hair.
Home remedies and non-surgical treatments seem to be, in this case, not the best solution. If you can’t deal with your current state of hair or unable to keep up with the heinous medication schedule; it might be time to consider hair transplantation.
Hair transplantation has come so far since its initial invention. This method can now permanently restore hair loss practically anywhere on the body. The process includes the relocation of viable follicular units from one area to another. It leaves no scarring and patients can resume their daily activity right after.
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Regardless of the pattern of hair loss or the underlying cause, the effects of hair loss on women can be a distressing experience. Fortunately, however, the medical field has attended to this problem in various ways. Patients can either treat their underlying cause, consume anti-androgen medication, or opt for the most time efficient and only permanent solution: hair transplantation.