Although it may be hard to believe, there are also many women who suffer from hair loss. It is something that has been largely hidden in society, with women often suffering in silence and choosing to wear wigs or even hats to hide their thinning hair and bald spots.
Women, like men, can have problems with hair loss because of changes in their hormones. The condition polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS is one such example of a hormonal imbalance causing problems with head hair. In PCOS, a woman has too many androgen hormones relative to estradiol hormones. In other words, the testosterone is at an abnormally high level compared with the estrogen, resulting in problems such as thinning hair on the head. Ironically, the condition can, at the same time, result in the development of extra and coarse body hair.
Other problems leading to hair loss that are commonly found in women include traction alopecia and alopecia areata. The traction alopecia is particularly common because women, unlike most men, tend to wear long hair in ponytails, pigtails, buns and braids. The problem with this is that sometimes the hair is bound up and pulled too tightly placing stress on the actual hair follicles. This weakens the hair and can lead to actual hair loss issues.
Immune system disorders and hair loss problems
Alopecia areata is believed to be a condition that is caused by an abnormal and excessive response of the immune system. The hair follicles are attacked by the person’s own immune system which often results in patches of hair being lost. It can become very severe and lead to total loss of hair.
Scientists are not sure exactly what causes alopecia areata to occur but it does seem to be more likely to happen in people who have a family history or genetic tendency towards having rheumatoid arthritis or type 1 diabetes. These two illnesses are both autoimmune diseases in which the body attacks its own tissues.
Hormone fluctuations and hair loss issues
In general, women also are more likely to suffer some hair loss after menopause has occurred. This is due to changes in hormone levels, and at this time it is also possible that the thyroid gland may become underactive.
Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) is also a problem related to thyroid hormones that can lead to some hair problems including thinning hair. Generally, if well-managed the condition should not lead to long-term or permanent hair loss. Certain medications can lead to hypothyroidism, which is why it is important to check with your doctor if you do notice any symptoms, including hair loss.
What you can do about hair lost
There are options available for women struggling with hair loss and bald spots. You can contact a specialist at a hair loss clinic to find out about such options as the use of medicated foams or creams, low-level laser light, PRP therapy or even FUE hair transplants. The hair specialist can also give you advice on steps you can take depending on the cause of your particular hair loss.

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Freelance Science Writer and Editor
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