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Posted by James Ryan

8 reasons for hair loss in women

A white girl with both hands in her hair facing the mirror
6 minute read

Hair loss in women is a common issue that can affect self-esteem and wellbeing. It can happen for many reasons, but knowing the cause is the first step in finding the right treatment. Here, we will explore the main reasons for hair loss in women and recommend ways to manage it. 

1. Female-pattern hair loss (androgenetic alopecia) 

This is the most common cause of hair loss in women. It is a hereditary condition where hair gradually thins, especially at the parting and crown areas. It is caused by hormonal factors and genetics, with hair follicles becoming sensitive to male hormones called androgens. It typically starts after menopause but can occur anytime after puberty [1][2]. 

2. Telogen effluvium 

This is a temporary form of excessive shedding where more hairs than normal enter the resting (telogen) phase of the growth cycle. It can be triggered by major life stresses like childbirth, surgery, rapid weight loss, or a serious illness. Hair shedding starts 2-4 months after the trigger and can last 6-9 months [1][3]. 

3. Alopecia areata 

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition where the body's immune system attacks hair follicles, causing smooth, round patches of hair loss on the scalp or other areas. It can lead to total scalp hair loss (alopecia totalis) or complete body hair loss (alopecia universalis) [1][3]. 

4. Traction alopecia 

This is caused by excessive pulling or tension on the hair from tight hairstyles like braids, ponytails, or extensions. It leads to gradual thinning of the hairline and can cause permanent hair loss if the pulling continues [1][4]. 

5. Nutritional deficiencies 

Not getting enough of the right nutrients can lead to hair loss. Key vitamins and minerals for healthy hair include iron, vitamin D, biotin, and zinc. Eating disorders or crash diets can contribute to this type of hair loss. Ensuring a balanced diet or taking supplements can help with hair loss caused by lack of nutrients [1][4]. 

6. Medical conditions and medications 

Some medical conditions and medications can cause hair loss. Autoimmune diseases like alopecia areata, lupus, and diabetes can lead to hair thinning or bald spots. Medications for conditions like high blood pressure, depression, and chemotherapy can also cause hair loss. If you think a medical condition or medication is causing your hair loss, talk to your doctor about other options [1][3][4]. 

7. Hair care practices 

How you care for your hair can also lead to hair loss. Too much styling and harsh hair care practices can damage hair and cause it to fall out. Using heat styling tools, chemical treatments, and tight hairstyles can weaken hair. Switching to gentler hair care routines and reducing heat and chemicals can help keep your hair healthy [1][3]. 

8. Stress and emotional factors 

Stress is a big factor in hair loss. Emotional or physical stress can cause a condition called telogen effluvium, where hair falls out more than usual. Ongoing stress can make this worse. It’s important to find ways to manage stress, like mindfulness, yoga, and regular exercise [2][3]. 

Natural remedies for hair loss treatment 

While medical treatments are important, some natural remedies may help with hair loss. 

Rosemary oil 

Rosemary oil has been shown to promote hair growth and prevent hair loss. Apply a few drops to the scalp and massage it daily. You can also add some to your shampoo [1]. 

Pumpkin seed oil 

Pumpkin seed oil is rich in nutrients like vitamin E, zinc, and fatty acids that are beneficial for hair growth. Massage a small amount into the scalp a few times per week [1]. 

Green tea 

Green tea contains antioxidants like EGCG that can help reduce hair loss by inhibiting the effects of DHT (a hormone linked to hair loss). Drink 2-3 cups of green tea daily or use a green tea hair rinse [3]. 

Aloe vera 

Aloe vera has soothing properties that can reduce scalp inflammation and unblock hair follicles when applied topically. Use the gel from an aloe leaf or buy an aloe vera hair product [3]. 

Coconut oil 

The fatty acids in coconut oil help nourish the scalp and hair follicles. Massage coconut oil into the scalp and leave it on for a few hours before washing out [3]. 

Scalp massage 

Gently massaging the scalp with your fingertips can increase blood flow to the hair follicles, delivering more nutrients. Massage for 5-10 minutes daily [3]. 

It's important to note that while these remedies may help, severe or persistent hair loss requires medical evaluation to identify and treat the underlying cause. Consistency is also key when using natural remedies for hair regrowth [3]. 

Diet changes for preventing hair loss in women 

Diet changes can help prevent hair loss in several ways. 

Protein 

Ensuring adequate protein intake is crucial for hair health, as hair is primarily made of protein. Good sources of protein include lean meats, fish, eggs, beans, lentils, and quinoa [3]. 

Iron 

Iron deficiency is a major cause of hair loss. Iron-rich foods that can help prevent deficiency include spinach, lentils, beef, and pumpkin seeds [1][5]. 

Vitamin C 

Vitamin C aids in iron absorption and is an antioxidant that promotes hair growth. Good sources are citrus fruits, bell peppers, broccoli, and strawberries [1]. 

Biotin 

Biotin is a B vitamin that improves hair health. Foods rich in biotin include egg yolks, nuts, legumes, and whole grains [3]. 

Zinc 

Zinc deficiency can lead to hair shedding. Zinc-rich foods are oysters, beef, spinach, and pumpkin seeds [1][4]. 

Omega-3s 

Omega-3 fatty acids nourish hair follicles and may reduce inflammation. Sources include fatty fish like salmon, walnuts, and flaxseeds [4]. 

Additionally, avoiding crash diets, excessive vitamin A, and simple carbohydrates can help prevent nutritional deficiencies that contribute to hair loss. Maintaining a balanced diet with adequate protein, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats can provide the nutrients needed for healthy hair growth and prevent excessive shedding [1][3]. 

When to see a doctor for sudden hair loss in women 

If you notice sudden or severe hair loss, it’s important to see a doctor. Persistent hair loss might be a sign of an underlying health issue that needs treatment. A dermatologist can help diagnose the cause of your hair loss and suggest appropriate treatments [1][4]. 

Hair loss in women can be caused by many things, including hormonal imbalances, stress, lack of nutrients, medical conditions, harsh hair care practices, and genetics. Understanding what causes hair loss in women is key to finding the right hair loss treatment. By addressing these factors, you can take steps to manage and reduce hair loss.


How HealthHero can help 

At HealthHero, we offer a range of healthcare solutions, including online consultations with medical experts. Our professionals can help diagnose the cause of your hair loss and suggest personalised hair loss treatment plans to improve your hair’s health. Visit our online GP service to book an appointment and take the first step towards healthier hair today. 


Sources 

  1. Mayo Clinic: Hormonal Imbalances and Hair Loss. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hair-loss/expert-answers/hair-loss/faq-20058421. [Date accessed: June 24, 2024]. 
  2. American Academy of Dermatology: Stress and Hair Loss. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/hair-loss/types/stress. [Date accessed: June 24, 2024]. 
  3. National Institutes of Health: Nutritional Deficiencies and Hair Health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6380979/. [Date accessed: June 24, 2024]. 
  4. British Association of Dermatologists: Hair Loss and Autoimmune Diseases. https://www.bad.org.uk/for-the-public/patient-information-leaflets/hair-loss-and-the-autoimmune-diseases/. [Date accessed: June 24, 2024]. 
  5. Healthline: Female Pattern Hair Loss. https://www.healthline.com/health/female-pattern-baldness. [Date accessed: June 24, 2024]. 
  6. Cleveland Clinic: Hair Loss in Women. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/16921-hair-loss-in-women. [Date accessed: June 24, 2024]. 
  7. WebMD: Women Hair Loss Causes. https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/hair-loss/women-hair-loss-causes. [Date accessed: June 24, 2024]. 
  8. Harvard Health: Thinning Hair in Women. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/thinning-hair-in-women-why-it-happens-and-what-helps-2020032719267. [Date accessed: June 24, 2024]. 
  9. NHS: Coping Tips for Women. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/hair-loss/coping-tips-for-women/. [Date accessed: June 24, 2024]. 
  10. Harley Street Hair Transplant: Natural Remedies for Hair Loss. https://www.harleystreethairtransplant.co.uk/8-natural-remedies-for-hair-loss/. [Date accessed: June 24, 2024]. 
  11. Medical News Today: Foods That Cause Hair Loss. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/foods-that-cause-hair-loss. [Date accessed: June 24, 2024].