Word on Health

Word On Female Hair Loss

Grateful thanks to hair loss expert Lucas Sojka from for his assistance with this weeks report.  

An estimated eight million women in the UK suffer from serious hair loss, leading to loss of self-confidence and heightened self-consciousness.  1/3 of European women suffer from genetic conditions that lead to hair loss.  Hair loss is a well-known side-effect of chemotherapy, and around 50% of women lose more hair than usual after they've given birth.  Poor nutrition caused by dietary and poor food choices is a major factor in women’s hair loss (almost 1/3 of cases) Anxiety is thought to trigger a quarter of cases of female balding.  Those suffering from hair loss wait an average of two years before seeking help, due to feeling shame or the urge to deny what’s happening.

As we heard from Lucas Sojka if you have any concerns about hair loss the first person to turn to for help is your GP/Family doctor.
 
The most common alopecia conditions in women include:

Telogen effluvium: which is shedding/ thinning of the hair. This in many cases happens several weeks after a shock to the system associated with extreme stress, fever, childbirth, sudden weight loss, an operation, or as a reaction to certain treatments. In this instance the hair loss is mostly temporary.

Androgenetic alopecia is also known as female pattern hairloss. Whereas a woman’s hair gradually thins with age they often only lose hair from the top of the head. (Usually more noticeable after the menopause). Androgenetic alopecia also tends to run in families.

Alopecia areata: affects about one in 100 people, mostly teenagers and young adults. Symptoms include patchy hair loss. This condition is linked to a problem with the immune system. The hair follicles are not permanently damaged, and in many of these cases the hair grows back in a few months.  With alopecia areata there’s a good chance that your hair will eventually grow back. But with alopecia totalis (complete loss of scalp hair) or universalis (complete loss of all body hair), regrowth is unlikely.

Localized or diffuse hair loss may also occur in cicatricial alopecia (lupus erythematosus, lichen plano pilaris, folliculitis decalvans, central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia, postmenopausal frontal fibrosing alopecia, etc.). And tumours and skin outgrowths also induce localized baldness (sebaceous nevus, basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma).

Hypothyroidism can cause hair loss, especially thinning of the outer third of the eyebrows.

Temporary loss of hair can occur in areas where sebaceous cysts are present for considerable duration; normally one to several weeks in length.

There are also less well known or understood conditions where the hair loss can be permanent.

Effective treatments

The only proven treatment for female-pattern baldness is minoxidil. Most users see improvements, including a halt to the balding or slowing down of it, as well as thicker hair. Up to 25% of women experience hair regrowth.There is no effective treatment for alopecia areata. Some treatments can encourage hair to grow, such as steroid injections or creams, or minoxidil lotion. In 60-80% of cases, the hair grows back after about a year without any treatment.

Other solutions include wigs, hair integration systems (where hair is attached to the persons own hair) hair transplants (taking hair from the sides and back of the head) and plastic surgery (such as scalp reduction, where the bald area is removed and the bit with hair on is stretched forward).

All material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.