Hair Loss in Women

There likely isn’t anything more disturbing for most women than a distinctly thinner hairline or dull and flat hair that seems to have lost its volume. While it’s normal to lose anywhere from 50 to 100 strands of hair a day, more than this amount can indicate an underlying condition. While the reason is usually harmless, hair loss can be caused by anything from improperly styling your hair to a genetic predisposition to hair loss. 

Considering hair loss is an issue that increasingly affects women as they get older, you’ll want to learn some tips and techniques that can help combat hair loss in women.  If you’ve noticed your hair seems to be thinner, we’ve enumerated the causes of hair loss in women and how to treat each one of them. However, If you fail to start seeing results within a few months, a simple blood test by your doctor can determine if an underlying health condition is causing the hair loss.

When a medical condition cannot explain your thinning hair, the condition is called androgenetic alopecia, where hair thins over the top of the head and sides. This condition refers to a hereditary predisposition to hair loss. Many people think men are the only ones affected by hair loss. However, more than 50% of women will experience evident hair loss as they get older. The most significant cause of hair loss in women is female pattern baldness. It affects about one-third of susceptible women, which equals some 30 million women in the United States. 

The good news is that your hair could be thinning for many reasons, but you can find a solution that works for your specific situation. 

Consider some of the causes of hair loss in women and how you can correctly treat your thinning hairline.

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8 Causes of Hair Loss in Women (and How to Treat Each One of Them)

Explore the following causes of hair loss in women and what you can do to treat this condition.

Genetics – Androgenetic Alopecia (Female Pattern Hair Loss)

According to statistics, men are more prone to experience…..

Thyroid Conditions

A variety of conditions can lead to hair loss. Some causes of…..

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormone disorder…..


Lupus is a relatively common but complex autoimmune disease that…..

Iron-Deficient Anemia

Iron-deficient anemia occurs when a person doesn’t have…..

Severe Stress or Anxiety Disorders

Perhaps you’ve heard about a possible link between stress…..


Although medications become formulated to treat various health…..

Alopecia Areata

Other factors that cause hair loss in women include autoimmune…..

Genetics – Androgenetic Alopecia (Female Pattern Hair Loss)

According to statistics, men are more prone to experience hair loss than women at some point in their lives. Although it’s more common for men to experience hair loss, female pattern baldness is just as common as male pattern baldness. 

Female pattern baldness, also called androgenetic alopecia, is hair loss that affects women. It’s identical to male pattern baldness, except that women can lose their hair in a very different way. In men, hair loss starts in the front of the head and recedes to the back until they go bald. Women experience it from all over their head, starting at their part line. Hair at the temples may also recede.

As you age, it’s usually normal to lose your hair. About two-thirds of women experience hair loss after menopause, and less than half of women will make it past age 65 with a full head of hair.

Female pattern baldness is predisposed to its hereditary concerns. Hormones are likely responsible if you lose your hair after menopause. If you notice you have a thinning hairline, see your doctor to determine if you’re experiencing female pattern baldness or some other type of hair loss. The sooner you get the best possible hair loss treatment, the faster you’ll be able to stop hair loss and probably experience hair regrowth. 

The anagen phase (growing phase) slows down in female pattern hair loss. It also takes longer for new hair to begin growing. When hair follicles shrink, this shrinkage causes hair to grow thinner and finer. This  type of growth can result in hair that easily breaks.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, losing up to 100 hairs each day is normal for women, but those with female pattern baldness can lose even more. It’s more unlikely that you’d go completely bald, but you may experience a lot of thinning all over your hair. 

Children can inherit genes for hair loss from their parents. If your mother, father, or other close relatives have experienced hair loss, you’re likely to have female pattern baldness.

How to Treat Female Pattern Baldness

In the past, people were more reluctant to treat their pattern baldness with hair transplant surgery because it usually involved having a linear strip cut down from their scalp and then moved to other parts of their head. As a result, the scalp would have to be stretch so it could be sewn back together, often making it seem as though people had thinner hair than they did.

Today, a procedure called follicular unit extraction (FUE) allows us to move single hair follicles to other parts of the head or face. 

During this procedure, the doctor takes hair follicles from portions of your scalp that are most densely populated. The doctor can take up to 20% of these follicles before they become noticeably thinner, and most will stop at about 15%. At that point, the follicles are moved to portions of the scalp where the patient would like more hair growth.

These results are indeed permanent. The follicle continues to grow strands of hair as if it had never been disturbed. No new hair will grow in the donor site.

Thyroid Conditions

A variety of conditions can lead to hair loss. Some causes of hair loss are just the body’s natural way of responding to different circumstances. One of which is abnormal hormones that often play an important role in why most people suffer from scalp thinning or balding areas. Some women lose their hair after childbirth and by the time they reach the menopausal stage. Some older men and women tend to experience hair loss of various degrees, factors largely determined by genetics. 

Furthermore, some other causes of hair loss are severe and prolonged hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. This diffuse type of hair loss pattern involves the entire scalp rather than localized areas where hair appears uniformly thin. Hair regrowth can occur with successful thyroid disorder treatment, although it can take several months to complete. 

In rare cases, antithyroid drugs such as carbimazole and propylthiouracil can also cause diffuse hair loss. It may be tough to tell whether the hair loss is due to the effects of the previous overactivity of the thyroid or the anti-thyroid drugs. In all cases, seeking an alternative treatment for hyperthyroidism is difficult.

Screening for thyroid problems can be a delicate and complicated process. Knowing which tests to request for a better overview of your body’s thyroid function is a good start, but you must also be aware of other issues related to thyroid testing. You may experience symptoms but can’t recognize the problem because your thyroid laboratory results are in the normal range. If so, you may suffer from a less common thyroid disorder or thyroid-related dysfunction. 

Treatment for any thyroid disorder typically includes medication. The tricky part is the diagnosis, particularly for some rare diseases. However, once a diagnosis occurs, a treatment plan can be developed and is often quite effective, at which point most women’s hair grows back and returns to normal.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormone disorder that can cause various symptoms including hirsutism, wherein you can experience an excessive amount of facial and body hair. Some patients with PCOS grow thicker hair on their face and body, while some experience hair thinning and hair loss, referred to as female pattern baldness. 

The female body produces male sex hormones called androgens. PCOS causes excessive androgen production, resulting in virilization. When you have this condition, you may develop male-pattern hair growth and other masculine physical traits. You may also imbalance your sex hormones, including male sex hormones such as androgens. 

This imbalance refers to the development of more masculine features, including excessive hair in places where it doesn’t usually grow, such as the face, neck, chest, and abdomen. These extra androgens can also cause your hair to start thinning, especially the front of your scalp. This condition is known as androgenetic alopecia or female pattern baldness. 

Any hair you lose with PCOS won’t grow back on its own. But with the right type of treatment, you may be able to stimulate hair regrowth. Besides, you can take several steps to mask PCOS-related hair loss. Remember, PCOS-related hair loss is caused by hormonal imbalance, so hormone regulation as an important part of treatment can occur with various medications.

Keep in mind that you may need to try a few medications before finding one that suits you best. And most people experience significant results from a combination of different treatments such as Minoxidil (Rogaine), finasteride (Propecia), and hair transplant procedures. 


Lupus is a relatively common but complex autoimmune disease that causes fatigue, joint pain, joint stiffness, and a butterfly-shaped rash on the face. Some people with lupus can experience hair loss. It can be distressing, but there are ways to deal with this condition. 

One study evaluated non-scarring hair loss in four women with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and found variations in the extent of hair loss. In some women, it was widespread. In others, it was only limited to a specific part of the head. Generally, those women lost between 55% and 100% of their hair. 

Hair loss caused by lupus may be reversible if you don’t have discoid lesions and can control the disease. Your doctor may prescribe an antimalarial drug to reduce lupus flares. You may also need a corticosteroid and an immunosuppressant to manage symptoms. 

Follow your doctor’s instructions and take your medications as directed. Once under control, your hair loss should be minimized, and hair regrowth can occur.

Iron-Deficient Anemia

Iron-deficient anemia occurs when a person doesn’t have enough iron stored in the body or the body cannot use iron sufficiently. Severe iron deficiency anemia can cause shortness of breath, fatigue, and chest pain. Some people also experience hair loss.

Experts don’t know why some people who experience hair loss have low iron stores. What they do know, however, is that iron is an essential element in an enzyme called ribonucleotide reductase that helps cell growth.

Research says that due to decreasing iron levels in the body, hair follicle cells may not be able to grow new cells as effectively when one has low iron stores. 

The treatment for iron deficiency anemia is by taking an iron supplement. Your doctor can recommend other hair loss treatments such as topical solution Minoxidil (Rogaine), 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors such as finasteride (Propecia), and surgical techniques such as hair transplants.

Severe Stress or Anxiety Disorders

Perhaps you’ve heard about a possible link between stress and hair loss. If you’re finding more hair strands than usual on your pillowcase and in the shower drain, you might be wondering if stress or anxiety has something to do with it. 

Whether you’re feeling stressed at work or overwhelmed by sensitive events such as divorce or death in the family, it’s natural to feel anxious about how stress can affect your body. Find out what you should know about stress and hair loss. 

Stress can stimulate hair follicles into a “resting” phase. In turn, they don’t produce new hair strands. After some time, hair falls out more effortlessly, even if you’re only washing, combing, or styling it. The resting phase (telogen effluvium) can also result from inadequate nutrition and changes in hormone levels. 

Many stressful situations can trigger hair loss, including pregnancy, chronic illness, injury, relationship issues, financial concerns, poor nutrition, surgery, and medications such as antidepressants. Try the following recommendations to relieve stress and protect your hair:

  • Treat your hair with care, especially when washing, drying, and styling it. 
  • Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga. 
  • Eat a healthy diet and get regular exercise. 
  • Spend time with positive people. 
  • Seek professional help from a therapist. 

You don’t have to suffer from hair loss caused by stress. Talk to your doctor and ask for a prescription or over-the-counter medication to promote hair regrowth.


Although medications become formulated to treat various health conditions, sometimes they can have unwanted side effects. Certain drugs can promote excessive hair growth, hair color or texture changes, and hair loss.

Like any other type of hair loss, drug-induced hair loss can negatively affect your self-confidence. In most cases, the hair loss is reversible once you stop taking the drug. Different types of drugs are believed to result in hair loss, including:

  • Acne medications containing vitamin A (retinoids)
  • Antibiotics and antifungal drugs
  • Antidepressants
  • Birth control pills
  • Cholesterol-lowering drugs
  • Drugs that treat breast cancer and other cancers
  • High blood pressure medications (anti-hypertensives), such as beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, and diuretics
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Steroids
  • Thyroid medications
  • Weight loss drugs

Discuss with your doctor the potential side effects of any medications you take. 

When hair loss occurs from a medication you’re taking, there is a good chance that hair will grow back on its own after you stop taking it. If stopping the drug does result in improvements, you may need hair loss treatments such as finasteride (Propecia), Minoxidil (Rogaine), or medications that decrease hair loss and can stimulate hair regrowth.

Alopecia Areata

Other factors that cause hair loss in women include autoimmune diseases. Alopecia areata is a rare autoimmune disorder that causes the immune system to attack hair follicles, leading to hair loss. 

When you have alopecia areata, you may notice a patchy hair loss usually presented as a single oval patch or multiple confluent patches of asymptomatic, well-circumscribed, non-scarring alopecia. It varies extensively from a small bare patch to hair loss on the entire scalp. The hallmark of this disorder is “exclamation point” hair. These hairs are usually found at the periphery of the patch and extend several millimeters above the scalp. 

The course of alopecia areata is of spontaneous remissions and recurrences origin. Some patients with this disorder are otherwise healthy. Others have comorbidities such as atopy, thyroid disease, or vitiligo. 

Common treatments include corticosteroids. Additional treatments include immunotherapy, designed to create an allergic reaction that causes hair regrowth, and 5% Minoxidil (Rogaine).

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