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Women’s Guide to Hair Loss
While baldness is an issue most often associated with men, women can suffer from hair loss as well, and you may be surprised to learn just how prevalent the condition is.

Hair loss, or alopecia, can affect the entire body and may be a hereditary condition or a side effect of medications or physical or psychological ailments.

Research indicates as many as two-thirds of all women experience hair loss at some point. You might notice strands of hair at the bottom of the shower in the trap drain or caught in your hairbrush. It's normal to lose 50 to 100 hairs a day. However, when hair falls out in clumps or thins conspicuously, it may be indicative of a more serious medical condition. Most women who experience hair loss notice it in their 50s or 60s, but doctors note it can happen at any age.

Here are some of the primary causes of hair loss.

Telogen effluvium

This condition takes place after pregnancy, major surgeries or even after drastic weight loss. Her hair shifts more quickly from the growing stage to the transition stage to the shedding stage. Women experiencing this will notice hair loss between six weeks and three months after a stressful event and may have to be patient and wait for hair loss to slow down. If it has been determined the hair loss is from medication, your doctor may be able to lower the dosage or switch drugs.


Hair loss can be a byproduct of an underactive thyroid. That's because, in addition to regulating your basal metabolic rate, the thyroid also is responsible for the growth of hair, skin and nails. Blood tests can be given to test for hypothyroidism.


Iron deficiency results in insufficient numbers of red blood cells to transport oxygen through the body. Anemia can cause weakness, pale skin, fatigue, headaches and hair loss. Increasing iron in the diet through leafy greens, fortified cereals and beans can help.

Poor scalp health

Skin conditions present on the scalp may be the culprit behind hair loss. Psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff) and even fungal infections can affect the skin on the scalp, and, in turn, affect the hair follicles.

Alopecia areata

This is an immune disease that affects roughly 2 percent of the American population and is characterized by small, round patches of hair loss.


Do the women in your family have thinning hair, most pronounced at the crown of the head? Hair loss may be in your genes, and you may have a higher risk than other women for losing hair. Hair follicles that vary in size, with some thin and others thick, are telltale signs of female pattern hair loss known as androgenetic alopecia.

Beauty styling

Dyes, chemical treatments, styling tools and aides, and rough or aggressive brushing can damage hair and cause breakage. Be gentle when toweling or styling hair to help minimize hair loss.