When people think of baldness, the first image that comes to mind is usually a middle-aged or older man. Just as some conditions like palumboism are coded as male, baldness is predominantly seen as a man’s condition. But this can’t be farther from the truth. A lot of women also suffer from baldness, and just like in men it can sometimes manifest well before middle-age.
A lot of people may believe that hair loss isn’t a major concern because it’s not a life-threatening illness. However, it can seriously affect the self-esteem as any woman suffering from alopecia can attest.
Learn more about female pattern baldness, its different types and other factors that can cause it.
Female Pattern Baldness
According to experts, approximately 40 percent of women will experience hair loss by the time they reach the age of 50. Contrary to popular belief, female baldness doesn’t mean the hair is just falls off. Rather, the hair just grows thinner and thinner. The hair follicles become finer and more brittle. This can lead to more strands breaking whenever you take a shower or comb your hair. Women without female pattern baldness can break up to 100 strands of hair. Those who do have the condition can lose many more strands because of their thin hair follicles, leading to noticeable hairless spots.
Thankfully, there are ways for women to stall or even mitigate the effects of female pattern baldness. With a little help from the best hair loss treatment for women, they can even regain their luxurious locks.
Medical experts usually divide female pattern baldness into three types. These types, listed based on increasing severity, are as follows:
Type I female pattern baldness manifests as minor thinning near the part of your hair. A few hairstyles can cover this bald spot and it may not even be noticeable.
Type II is more noticeable. The part, or the area where your hair is separates into sections, widens and the hair follicles around it become thinner. This means they break more easily, widening the part.
Type III is more widespread. Thinning of the follicles occurs throughout your entire scalp. The hair follicles at the top of your head are more vulnerable to this type of baldness. You may develop a large bald spot on your crown.
Causes for Female Baldness
Aside from female pattern baldness, you can suddenly begin losing your hair in many other ways. Understanding the different factors that can contribute to baldness in women can help prevent confusion.
Women with family members who have manifested pattern baldness are more likely to lose their hair the same way. That’s because the genes that cause baldness are passed down genetically. This is a condition known as androgenic alopecia. Among men, this presents as an M-shaped recession in the hairline and among women it manifests as the different types lusted above.
- Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy, a necessity for conditions such as aggressive cancer, can alter the way your body produces certain cells such as your hair. Regrettably, this is a side effect to radiation therapy that can’t be avoided.
- Stress or Emotional Shock
Severe stress can contribute to thinning hair follicles as your body functions can be severely affected by the increased presence of serotonin in your body. Contributors to severe stress can include a troubled home life, relationship problems, being overworked in the job and certain psychological conditions. You can also experience thinning hair and increased hair loss after an emotional shock. The death of a loved one, loss of a job and ending a relationship are common causes for such an emotional shock.
- Hormonal Changes
The female body produces several complex hormones and undergoes multiple processes that can change their body chemistry. Pregnancy is one such event, with the added stress of cultivating the fetus. Menopause is another, with the flood of hormones that occurs at such a time being a main contributor to female baldness.
- Medical Conditions
Aside from alopecia, there are several other medical conditions that can cause hair loss. Alopecia areata is an immune system condition that directly causes patches of your scalp to shed hair. Infections like ringworm can also cause localized baldness. A psychological disorder known as trichotillomania causes excessive hair pulling in the afflicted.
Finally, there are medications that can cause hair loss with continued use. This may be because they alter your body chemistry while they’re treating your disease. The most prevalent of these hair-loss causing medical treatments is chemotherapy, which affects your body at a cellular level.
Female hair loss is often seen as more off-putting than baldness among men. But understanding the realities of this condition among women can be useful in reducing stigma and building up female self-esteem.