Three types of hair loss that can affect women at any age

Hair loss is generally seen as a problem that mostly affects men. And while it certainly is more common to see men struggling with hair loss, a significant number of women are also coping with it. 

There are some key differences in hair loss in men and women – illness aside. In men hair loss in men is typically age-related, whereas women can experience temporary bouts of hair loss even in their early 20s.

And while male hair loss is mostly caused by genetics and stress, the latter is a bigger determining factor for women. Unfortunately, stress can be compounded by the social stigma of losing your hair as a woman.

Three types of hair loss that can affect women at any age

Here are three types of hair loss that tend to affect women more than men, and some treatment options that are available for them.

1) Androgenic alopecia

Androgenic alopecia is essentially the feminine version of male pattern baldness, a genetically influenced condition that causes hair to gradually thin and fall out.

While male pattern baldness causes a crown shape balding pattern in men, in women the balding is more diffuse and spread out across the top and side of the scalp.

The crown areas usually don’t fall out completely on women and the frontal hairline doesn’t recede as bad on the sides either, but the thinning can still look pronounced and noticeable.

The drugs Minoxidil and Finasteride have been used to treat female hair loss. Micrografting hair transplant techniques are also providing better results than conventional plug transplantation.

2) Telogen effluvium

Telogen effluvium (TE) is one of the most common cause of hair loss, and fortunately it usually isn’t permanent.

It’s characterised by a general thinning of the hair due to follicles entering into a resting state. This can be caused by physical trauma, environmental shock, extreme or prolonged stress, hormonal fluctuations, and biological stress from medications and/or poor diet.

Correcting dietary and sleep habits and living in a healthy environment will usually cause your hair to resume growing within six months to a year.

3) Non-pattern hair loss

Non-pattern hair loss is more common in women, and is characterised by patches of hair loss that don’t conform to the typical patterns of balding seen in androgenic alopecia.

Causes of non-pattern hair loss may include trichotillomania (compulsive hair pulling), scarring, or alopecia areata. The condition can also be caused merely by psychological stress, but any hair loss that presents itself in a patchy or indistinct pattern should be examined by a medical doctor to find the root of the cause.

Women with hair loss due to scarring or auto-immune disorders may require a hair transplant to replace the damaged follicles.

Treatment options for women dealing with hair loss

Many women with hair loss opt for cover-ups and wigs. However, a more permanent and effective solution would be a hair transplant, which takes live hair follicles from the back of the scalp and transplants them to the balding areas where they continue to grow as usual.

If you are coping with hair loss, it doesn’t have to be something you just need to ‘put up with’. So do check out the options and see which one may be right for you.

Photo by Ahmed Carter