Perhaps not on such a grand scale, but just like war, famine and  disease , female  hair   loss  is hard to cope with. And it is a common problem with hard-hitting emotional effects, which is why all women should know what the most common causes are and what can be done to fix the problem, in case they’re affected.


During pregnancy, a woman’s hair will be in the healthiest condition it’s ever been in. Normally we lose about 100 strands of hair a day but this is retained during pregnancy thanks largely to the extra female hormones. As a result, hair looks thicker and healthier, contributing to that “glow” associated with pregnancy. After the baby is born though, hormone levels start to balance out and the hair growth cycle starts to return to normal. All the hairs that should have shed over the nine months start to fall out en mass.

What can I do?

Nothing, necessarily — it’s a natural process and any  hair   loss  after the birth is usually replaced by new  hair  growth immediately. Although it can take a few months to a year, and supplements or  hair   loss  treatments will help initiate  hair  growth, particularly if there’s a tendency to female pattern  hair   loss , but you should consult your doctor first.


Perhaps the most common cause of thinning among women is female pattern  hair   loss . It can be inherited from the mother’s or father’s side of the family and usually occurs around the time of menopause, although it’s not uncommon in younger women. It leads to thinning hair on top of the scalp as the hormonal bi-product DHT (dihydrotestosterone) binds to genetically sensitised hair follicles, causing them to shrink. Unless treated, hair will continue to become finer and weaker with each growth cycle and in some cases, hair growth can stop completely.

What can I do?

The earlier you start treatment, the greater your chances of preventing further  hair   loss . Minoxidil is the most commonly prescribed treatment, and the only one that’s clinically proven to work, for this problem. It stops  hair   loss  in most women and helps  hair  grow back, but must be used continuously. It is also a dosage-dependent medication that should be administered at the right strength for each woman, so consult a  hair   loss  specialist to find out what will work best for you and if there are ways you can improve your results.

Extreme Dieting

Iron-deficiency anemia is one of the most common nutritional problems facing women and can lead to thinning hair. Fad diets aren’t as popular as healthy living these days but if you are dieting and losing more than two pounds per week, you’re hair is also likely to become thin and weak.

What can I do?

To keep your iron stores replenished, aim for two servings a day of foods such as red meat, fish, eggs, bread and green, leafy vegetables. And rather than starving yourself or eliminating entire food groups, consider eating five small, balanced meals a day so your hair isn’t deprived of essential nutrients either.

Hair Styling

 Hair   loss  in women isn’t always down to hormones — sometimes we can be our own worst enemy. Wearing our  hair  in tight braids and ponytails or adding  hair  extensions can cause  hair   loss . The constant, tight pulling on the hair could be damaging the follicles and you may notice thinning or bald patches at the site where the hair is being pulled.

What can I do?

Whatever you do, don’t hide it with weaves or extra hair extensions. If you don’t deal with the problem as soon as it becomes apparent, it could lead to permanent  hair   loss . If the pulling is stopped before there is scarring of the scalp and permanent damage to the root, hair usually grows back normally. Minoxidil may be needed however to induce regrowth and you should consult a stylist to recommend a safe styling regime.


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