Decoding Hair Loss in Women: Understanding Types and Underlying Causes

Dr Marc-André Doré

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Hair loss is a common concern among women, but its underlying causes and manifestations can vary widely. By unraveling the different types of hair loss and their respective triggers, we can better navigate this often distressing condition. In this article, we explore the various types of hair loss in women and the potential factors contributing to each.

Understanding Different Types of Hair Loss and Their Causes

Androgenetic Alopecia 

Cause: Androgenetic alopecia is primarily influenced by genetics and hormonal factors. Genetic predisposition and sensitivity to androgens (male hormones) play a significant role in the onset and progression of androgenetic alopecia.

Symptoms: Gradual thinning of hair, particularly at the crown and part line, is characteristic of androgenetic alopecia. Hormonal fluctuations during puberty, pregnancy, or menopause can exacerbate this type of hair loss.

Telogen Effluvium

Cause: Telogen effluvium is often triggered by significant physical or emotional stressors, such as childbirth, surgery, severe illness, or extreme weight loss. These stressors disrupt the normal hair growth cycle, causing more hair follicles to enter the resting (telogen) phase prematurely.

Symptoms: Excessive shedding of hair, typically occurring two to three months after the triggering event, is a hallmark of telogen effluvium. Hair loss is diffuse and may not follow a specific pattern, leading to overall thinning of the scalp.

Alopecia Areata

Cause: Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition characterized by the immune system mistakenly attacking hair follicles, leading to hair loss. The exact cause of this immune system malfunction remains unknown, but genetic predisposition and environmental factors are believed to contribute.

Symptoms: Alopecia areata presents as round or oval-shaped bald patches on the scalp. Hair loss may occur suddenly and progress rapidly, often accompanied by itching, tingling, or burning sensations.

Scalp Conditions

Cause: Certain scalp conditions, such as seborrheic dermatitis, scalp psoriasis, and fungal infections like tinea capitis, can contribute to hair loss in women. These conditions disrupt the scalp's health and compromise hair follicle function.

Symptoms: Itchy, flaky scalp; redness or inflammation; and hair loss in localized areas are common symptoms of scalp conditions. Treatment typically involves addressing the underlying scalp issue to promote hair regrowth.

Hair loss in women is a multifaceted issue with diverse underlying causes. By recognizing the distinct types of hair loss and understanding their triggers, individuals can take proactive steps towards diagnosis and management. If you're experiencing hair loss or changes in hair density, consult a dermatologist or healthcare professional for personalized evaluation and treatment options. 

Looking to learn more?

These are some articles that may interest you

Monday, March 18, 2024

Understanding Androgenic Alopecia

Dre Emilie Bourgeault

As a dermatologist, I've encountered numerous individuals seeking insights into a common yet often misunderstood condition: Androgenic Alopecia, also known as male or female pattern baldness. This condition affects millions worldwide, causing distress and frustration for those experiencing it. In this blog post, we'll delve into the intricacies of Androgenic Alopecia, discussing its causes, symptoms, and potential treatment options.

Hair loss

Monday, July 4, 2022

Tips for healthy hair

From heat treatments to coloring to hairstyles that tug at our hairlines, many of us put our hair through a lot. If your hair has seen better days, there are some habits you can adopt to get it looking lively again. We’ve put together...

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Can mental health affect hair loss?

Maybe you’ve noticed that your ponytail is thinner than usual or your part is wider than it used to be. You’re probably wondering whether your hair loss results from genetics, too-tight hairstyles, or a new product or medication.But can...
Hair loss