Friday 14 October 2016

Hair Loss In Women: Do's & Don'ts!

At some point in time almost everybody (men and women) would have experienced seeing hair attached to or fall off from a comb or brush after hair grooming. Some might notice hair on pillows after getting up from bed.

While it is normal in everybody to shed a little quantity of hair every now and then as the body responds to stressors and its environment, partial or complete hair loss is a different matter requiring adequate attention.

Hair loss is a common, accepted occurrance in men in  the form of male pattern baldness. However, women also do experience hair loss. Hair loss in women is often damaging psycologically and can affect a woman's self esteem and pride.

So how should the prospect of hair loss be handled by woman? The following information will prove beneficial;

(1)  Difference between Hair Loss & Hair Shedding

All forms of hair loss are generally just defined as "hair loss". But there are basic differences. When you wake up and you see hair on your pillows or you notice hair on your comb or brush after hair grooming, thats hair shedding. Hair loss (as defined medically) on the other hand refers to a condition where hair stops growing altogether on the scalp. Hair loss is known in medical terms as Alopecia.

Hair shedding beyond what is general accepted as normal in women can be caused by the following stressors:
  • Rapid loss in body weight.
  • Child birth.
  • High fever.
  • High emotional stress.
  • Side effect of stopping birth control medication.
  • Convalescence and recovery from an ailment (especially an ailment with high fever).
Usually, hair shedding occurs after the stressor event has occured and it is temporary in nature. the hair usually returns back to it's original volume after recovering from the stressful event causing abnormal hair shedding. If the induced stress causing hair shedding is not removed hair shedding will persist for longer periods.

Hair loss in women can be caused by any one of the following;
  • Autoimmune disorders (over reactivity of the immune system).
  • Hereditary causes.
  • Hair products that damage hair follicles.
  • Long term side effects of administration of some drugs and treatment regimen.
  • Hairstyles that apply too much pull pressure on the scalp.
Hair growth will not occur in most people with hair loss until the underlying cause is resolved e.g hair loss caused as side effect of drugs can be resolved by stopping the offending medication.

Certain types of hair loss require specific treatment before hair growth occurs e.g Hereditary loss. For these types of hair loss, without treatment, hair just won't grow.

(2) What To Do About Hair Loss

To prevent and help reverse most types of hair loss, consider doing the following:
  • Get enough protein in your diet. It is possible you are not taking in adequate protein which may cause your body to slow down hair growth. Hair development needs vital proteins.
  • Watch your birth control pills. Stopping them abruptly or switching between different pills can trigger hair loss. Seek advice from your healthcare provider about the possibility of changing your birth control pills or stopping them before you do so.
  • Reduce exposure to all forms of stress as they take their toll on your hair. Different stressors that trigger severe hair shedding include emotional stress, physical injury or trauma, high fever during illness.
  • Check with your doctor to see if you are anaemic. Iron deficiency is a documented cause of hair loss. This is easily reversible with intake of iron containing supplements.
  • Another major cause of hair thinning and shedding is hypothyroidism. This is a condition where the thyroid gland produces too little thyroid hormones. Check with your doctor to see if this is the cause of your hair loss. Hypothyroidism is usually treated with medications to help boost thyroid hormone production and secretion.
  • Use of certain medications do cause hair loss as a side-effect. Such medications include ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for muscular aches and pain (NSAIDS), some anti-hypertensive drugs for blood pressure control, anti-cancer drugs, blood thining medications and certain anti-depressant drugs. If you notice hair loss while on any other of these class of medications, seek help from your healthcare provider.
  • Make sure you have sufficient amounts vitamin B's in your diet. Low levels of vitamin B cause hair loss in humans. Good sources of vitamin B include fish, meat, vegetables and fruits. Low levels of vitamin B can also be reversed with vitamin B supplementation.
  • If your hair loss is accompanied by other symptoms such as joint pain, fatigue, rash along the bridge of the nose and sensitivity to sunlight, you just might be showing signs of the autoimmune disease called Lupus. See a rheumatologist to help confirm the diagnosis for lupus and get treatment right away. 
  • If hair loss is caused by hereditary factors, treatment with minoxidil (Rogaine) would prove beneficial to help institute hair growth and/or maintain the remaining hair available.  

(3) What Not To Do About Hair Loss

  • Avoid excessive styling of your hair. Hair is made up of a type of protein called keratin. keratin is easily destroyed by heat and chemicals. Too much shampooing and styling is plain bad for hair.
  • Do not rough handle your hair by pulling too tight or by doing braid styles and hair weaves that pull too hard on the hair and scalp. Such hair handling over time can cause a type of hair loss called Traction Alopecia.
  • A lot of women desire to lose weight and lose weight very fast. Do you know that sudden, dramatic weight loss is another form of physical stress to the body which could trigger hair loss? Lose weight consistently over time, avoid sudden weight loss if you want to reduce your chances for hair loss.
  • Watch out for vitamin A containing supplements. Over-dosing on vitamin A can trigger hair loss. If you are to take vitamin A supplements daily, do not exceed the recommended daily dose of 5000 IU per day.

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