What Causes Hair Shedding in Women?
Shedding is a normal part of the hair growth cycle. Typically, people lose between 50-100 hairs per day. That may seem like a lot, but it is a minuscule number when you consider the average person has about 100,000 hairs on their head at one time. Sometimes, certain things disrupt your hair growth cycle, which can cause you to lose more hair than normal. When your shedding increases, it can be alarming. Rest assured, there is usually an explanation, and there are things you can do to make up for your losses.
Here are common reasons for hair shedding and what you can do about them.
Perhaps the most common cause of hair loss in women is due to hormonal shifts. Many women find they have more shedding after their hormonal cycles shift. For example, one of the most common times to have an increased amount of shedding is in the postpartum period. Shedding occurs about 3 months after childbirth because the body experiences a significant drop in estrogen levels that were high throughout pregnancy. Indeed, your hair does not shed during pregnancy because of these elevated estrogen levels, so many women find their hair volume increases because their hair cycle has temporarily lengthened.
Other hormonal reasons that may cause you to shed more include starting or switching hormonal contraceptives or entering perimenopause and menopause.
Solution: Postpartum hair loss is usually temporary, and most women find their shedding dissipates about 6-12 months after birth. If excessive shedding lasts over one month after making a birth control switch or you are worried about sustained hair loss in menopause and beyond, talk to your doctor about ways to keep your hormones balanced.
Also known as polycystic ovarian syndrome, this condition is where a woman has an excess amount of androgens (male sex hormones) in her system. High androgen levels can lead to hair thinning on the head and hair growth on other parts of the body. PCOS also causes adult acne, infertility, irregular periods, anovulation, and metabolic syndrome.
Solution: If you have any of these symptoms, it is important to consult your doctor to seek appropriate PCOS treatment. Your doctor may put you on a hormonal medication to help regulate your periods and ward off other concerning symptoms.
Chronic stress seems to have a significant impact on hair loss. We know that chronically high cortisol levels can divert nutrients and blood flow to more vital tissues. It can also lead to inflammation, poor nutrient absorption, and lack of sleep (among numerous other things).
Many people experience a significant amount of hair shedding after a particularly stressful event, like losing a spouse or parent or even making a significant career change. Hair loss following a stressful event is called telogen effluvium. Although it is a frustrating ramification of an already challenging time, hair loss from telogen effluvium is temporary.
Solution: Curbing stress in your daily life is essential. Sure, it is tough to prevent times of severe stress. However, getting control over your day-to-day stress levels is vital not only for your hair but also for your health. Try prioritizing things that are most important and save non-essential tasks for a later time. Also, make sure to give yourself more time to focus on sleep, exercise, and activities that boost your mental health.
Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in women. Indeed, it also happens to be one of the most common causes of hair loss in women. When it is most severe, it can lead to anemia. Iron is essential for your body. One of its key roles is to bind to oxygen in your blood so that it can be distributed to your cells. It is also an important component of hair, as it helps to builder hair proteins.
Another nutrient deficiency that may cause hair loss is vitamin B12. This vitamin plays a vital role in regulating the hair growth cycle by also helping to bring oxygen to your hair. People who are low in vitamin B12 can also struggle with fatigue and brain fog.
Solution: Consult your primary care physician to have your iron or vitamin B12 levels checked with a blood draw. If they are low or even on the border, your doctor may recommend you take a supplement or boost your intake through your diet.
Excessive Weight Loss
Losing too much weight too fast can be harmful to your hair. Shedding because of weight loss is more likely the result of nutrient deficiencies because weight loss was likely brought on by severe dietary restrictions. Sometimes, weight loss is intentional, whereas other times, it is a side effect of something like an illness or mental health disorder like anorexia.
Solution: Treating excessive shedding due to weight loss relies on the reason for weight loss in the first place. No matter the cause, if you have had extreme weight loss, it is important to consult your doctor to make sure you are not nutritionally depleted and you are treating any other side effects.
Hair loss often plays hand in hand with getting older. Indeed, both men and women struggle with hair loss when they reach their 50s, and it generally continues to thin with the decades.
Solution: Aging is a beautiful human process, but it comes with some growing pains like all phases. You cannot reverse your age, but you can take proactive steps to keep your hair healthy. Try a hair support supplement like the REVITA Nutraceutical Tablets for Hair Growth Support and use a stimulating shampoo like the REVITA shampoo and conditioner line from DS Laboratories.
Over-Styling and -Dying
Wearing tight hairstyles, frequently curling or straightening your hair, and coloring your hair can leave you with thin and brittle hair. It can also worsen your shedding, and in severe cases, cause bald patches.
Solution: Give your hair a reprieve whenever possible. For example, try not to use hot styling tools on your hair a few days a week and let your hair naturally dry when possible. You can also talk to your stylist to see what styles they recommend while you allow your hair to rest in-between coloring.