Dr. Anna Chacon: Challenges In Women’s Hair Loss Treatment
Dr. Anna Chacon
In my practice, I have a focus on hair loss. And, more specifically, women’s hair loss.
While some people may consider hair loss to be more prominent in men, over 50% of women may experience some level of hair loss during their lives, warranting a focus on hair loss treatments specifically tailored to women.
All hair loss is not the same, regardless of gender, but being a woman does bring with it some special nuances that can affect hair.
In general, women live their lives in a state of hormone fluctuations more so than men.
Whether this means the changes from a monthly cycle, pregnancy, or menopause, nothing stays steady in a woman’s world when it comes to hormones.
And, since hair growth, loss, and health is deeply connected with hormones, this can offer some unique challenges when it comes to treating women’s hair loss.
Hair Changes During Menopause
Menopause isn’t all hot flashes, there can be significant hair changes during this time in a woman’s life too.
The predominant female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, tend to reduce during this time, and this allows the small amount of testosterone naturally present to “uncover” and become relatively more prominent.
This can lead to increased hair growth where is it generally not wanted, like on the face, and increased hair loss on the scalp.
Hair Loss After Pregnancy
For some women, the hair benefits during pregnancy are real, and they can enjoy increased growth, shine, and overall hair health due to the surging of hormones while pregnant.
However, once pregnancy ends, the hormones quickly make their way back down to relatively normal levels.
This huge swing of hormones, with or without wild fluctuations, can sometimes cause rapid hair loss postpartum.
Tight Hairstyles & Harsh Hair Treatments
Hormone talk aside, I also sometimes have female clients that experience hair loss due to harsh hair treatments such as bleaching, chemical relaxing, or frequently using hair dye.
In addition to treatments, very tight, slicked back hairstyles or braids can pull and tug at hair follicles, causing hair losses from traction alopecia.
Luckily, these types of hair losses are usually reversible once the hair is treated more gently and nursed back to health.
Hereditary Female Pattern Hair Loss
Female Pattern Hair Loss is a common hair loss culprit seen in women, and this is mainly hereditary.
This differs from Male Pattern losses in that women rarely progress to full baldness, the hair loss tends to be diffuse across the whole scalp, and the most common first sign is a thinning or widening part in the hair.
But, while this is hair loss due to your genes, if caught early, there are treatments available to help slow the progression and potentially help regrow some losses.
Low Iron Levels and Thyroid Disorders
Low iron levels and thyroid disorders are both more common in women than men, so checking on the iron and thyroid hormone levels is key to helping decipher the causes of hair loss in women.
Iron levels that are too low, and thyroid hormones that are too high or low can all cause hair loss as a symptom, so fixing these abnormalities may help women with hair loss in addition to maintaining their overall health.
Hair loss in women can be a puzzle, involving hormones, genetics, health status, and hairstyle choices, so it is necessary to identify the root causes to know which treatment may be the most beneficial.
I tailor my treatments for each patient based on their presentation, causes, lifestyle, and goals, so having compounded women’s hair loss formulas available to me is extremely helpful in my practice.
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