People have been dealing with hair loss for virtually all of recorded history, but for the majority of that time it was largely considered an issue that was exclusive to men. The problem of women’s hair loss, while undoubtedly occurring, was seldom even discussed, much less seriously studied, and many were forced to suffer in silence. Today, research published by the American Hair Loss Council suggests that as many as one out of every four women will experience some degree of hair loss over the course of their lives, which is one of the reasons why we created The Griffin Center for Women’s Hair Loss, the first center in Georgia exclusively devoted to addressing the unique issues associated with women’s hair restoration. As with any case of hair loss, proper treatment begins with proper diagnosis, so it is important to understand that the root causes of women’s hair loss can differ significantly from those experienced by men. Here are some of the more common reasons why women suffer from hair loss.
Although it is usually associated with men, genetic pattern hair loss, or androgenetic alopecia, is a common hereditary condition that affects about 30 million women in America alone. This form of hair loss presents somewhat differently in women than in men, specifically by causing diffuse hair loss at the crown and a noticeable widening of the midline part. This type of progression can potentially make it more difficult to treat genetic pattern hair loss in women using traditional surgical hair transplantation techniques. While our skilled surgeons have successfully performed thousands of hair transplantation procedures on women, in some cases we have found that it is more beneficial to use non-surgical hair restoration techniques like platelet rich plasma and red light laser therapy instead.
Thyroid and Hormonal Imbalance
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of the neck that largely regulates the body’s growth and metabolism. When the thyroid gland produces either too much or too little of the hormone thyroxin, a variety of physical and mental symptoms can result and both conditions can potentially lead to hair loss. Although men can suffer from thyroid imbalances that cause hair loss, women are between five and eight times more likely to be affected. Moreover, fluctuations in general hormone levels, like those experienced by women during pregnancy or menopause, can significantly affect hair growth and shedding as well.
Hair follicles produce some of the fastest dividing cells in the body, and these cells are among the first to be adversely affected by autoimmune disorders like diabetes or lupus. Since an estimated 75 percent of those living with autoimmune diseases are female, this possible cause of hair loss does tend to be more common in women than in men. Moreover, those with a family history of such diseases are statistically more likely to suffer from a rare condition called alopecia areata, which causes the immune system to attack the hair follicles, leading to either patchy or total loss of all the hair on the head or even the entire body.
Damaging Hair Care Practices
Finally, many of the hair styling practices that women engage in regularly can have an adverse effect on hair growth. Excessive heat from curling irons, flat irons, and hair dryers can cause dryness, breakage, and split ends, all of which make the hair appear thinner and make any loss more apparent. More importantly, tight hairstyles that place constant tension on the hair follicles, like complex braids, pony tails, and sewn-in hair pieces, can result in a condition called traction alopecia, which can potentially cause permanent damage to the individual follicles and thinning of the hair along the frontal hair line.
Each and every case of hair loss is unique, and a successful treatment requires a thorough diagnosis and a personalized hair restoration treatment plan. If you fear that you may be starting to experience hair loss, and would like to learn what options might be right for you, please contact The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research or the Griffin Center for Women’s Hair Loss to schedule a consultation. Don’t forget to follow us on the Griffin Center Facebook page, Twitter, and Google+ to get the latest news in hair restoration and research.