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Hairloss among women

More than 50% of all women will suffer from hairloss at some point in their lives.

Hair loss and thinning hair is common among women. As many as one in two women will experience a (temporary) variant of hair loss during their lifetime. So you are not the only one who has to deal with this, but that does not make it any less annoying.

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What causes hairloss among women?

Hair loss among women is more common than you might think. The cause of hair loss in a woman is often less easy to determine than in a man.

Like men, women can suffer from hereditary hair loss (Alopecia Androgenetica), but a change in hormone balance also often plays a role. Factors that influence this are age, pregnancy and menopause.

Hair loss in women often differs from hair loss in men, both in cause and in the way hair is affected. Generally, among women with hair loss, hair thins all over the head. While the typical pattern of male pattern baldness causes hair loss in specific areas of the head, such as inlets and crown.

How do you recognize hairloss among women?

On average, you lose up to 100 hairs a day. This is quite normal. But if more hairs fall out than grow back, the hair can become increasingly thin.

There are a number of types of identifiable hair loss among women, and they differ based on their causes. The cause of hair loss in women can often be seen from the pattern.

About 10 percent of women experience the classic pattern of genetic or hereditary hair loss, where the frontal hairline remains intact and hair loss only becomes apparent after that persistent hairline. Some women with hereditary hair loss notice this by thinning hair all over the head (including the sides and back of the head) and where it is not limited to one particular area. This is more common in postmenopausal women, although it also occurs in younger women. Hair loss after pregnancy or at menopause is also common, this is due to changes in estrogen levels.

What can you do about hair loss among women?

Hair loss among women is often seen as something that little or nothing can be done against, but nothing could be further from the truth. If you catch it in time, you can greatly reduce hair loss and even stimulate regrowth. There is not only a lot of scientific research on how hair loss occurs, but also on how these processes can be stopped. And how hair growth can be improved. As a result, there are now good treatments available for most types of hair loss.

It is important to start a hair loss treatment quickly. The more advanced hair loss is, the more difficult it is to get a satisfactory end result. So the best time to start treatment is always: now.

What types of hair loss are there?

Hereditary hairloss amongst women

Recognizable by:
  • Starting at the middle parting
  • Thinning hair on top of the head, just after the hairline
  • Thinner/less hair at the inlets

Hereditary hair loss (Alopecia Androgenetica) is the most common form of hair loss and occurs among women of all ages. A hereditary predisposition determines whether you will suffer from it, and to what extent. The older you get, the greater the chance that it is hereditary hair loss. Women who experience hair loss later in life usually also have a genetic trigger for this hair loss, but the association is less strong. The changes in hormones that occur around menopause are usually a clear contributing factor here.

Hereditary hair loss, or Alopecia Androgenetica (AGA), is a genetic form of hair loss and occurs among both men and women. With AGA, sensitivity to DHT (dihydrotestosterone) plays a major role. Hair loss starts around the middle partition, this gets progressively wider, then the hair gradually thins all over the top of the head.

Hormonal hairloss among women

Recognizable by:
  • Sudden hair loss
  • Changing hormones due to pregnancy or menopause
  • Thinning hair all over the head

Among women, changes in hormones, for example during or after pregnancy and around menopause, can affect the condition of the hair. For example, hair loss can occur before or during pregnancy, when stopping or starting the birth control pill or around menopause. About 50% of women who suffer from fluctuating hormone balance experience hair loss. Hair loss can also occur after pregnancy, when estrogen levels drop again.

Thus, changing hormones can contribute to thinning hair, or hair loss among women. These changes can suddenly cause hair to thin rapidly all over the head, making it limp and lifeless. Also, inlets may suddenly become very visible or you may notice that you don't have as full a ponytail as you used to. This happens because more hair decays in the resting (telogen) phase. This results in hair loss and because the resting cycle lasts two to six months, it can take quite some time for hair to return to the growth phase. If you catch it in time, you can greatly reduce hair loss and even encourage regrowth. 

Alopecia Areata

Recognizable by:
  • Sudden hair loss in round or oval patches
  • Can also occur on other parts of the body
  • This type of hair loss often occurs very suddenly and also recovers by itself most of the time

Alopecia Areata is a type of hair loss that is most likely caused by an autoimmune disease and is also known as 'area-specific baldness'. It often begins with completely bald patches on the head that are round or oval in shape. These spots also tend to appear comparatively very quickly over a short period of time.

Alopecia Areata comes in different degrees, it can be a small bald spot in the beard, but you can also suffer from several larger bald spots on the head. These spots can sometimes also spread over the rest of the body, for example to the eyebrows, eyelashes or arms.

Alopecia Areata often occurs very suddenly in a particular place on the head and can vary from half a centimeter in diameter to a bald spot of several centimeters in diameter.

Hair loss with Alopecia Areata is often temporary, so the hair grows back on its own for most people. Unfortunately, the duration can vary quite a bit and new bald patches may appear each time.

Many hair growth stimulating products are not specifically formulated for Alopecia Areata, but appear to be able to help improve and accelerate hair growth.

Hair loss due to stress / illness / medication

Recognizable by:
  • Sudden hair loss
  • Thinning hair all over the head
  • Bald spots almost never appear on the head, the hair just gets thinner and thinner

In some cases, a (chronic) illness, excessive stress or medication can lead to hair loss. For example, thyroid problems cause hair loss in many cases. Some medications also have the side effect of causing hair loss or thinning hair.