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Hair Loss in Women: Myths and Truths


Hair Loss: one of the most confounding conditions men and women have ever struggled with. People consider their hair as kings consider their crown; an important part of one's identity, an important part of one's self. Hair and hair loss are often considered as indicators of one's youth. That is why people are always appalled whenever faced with the possibility of hair loss. Hence we often do whatever they can and believe whatever we hear just to make sure that we get to keep that precious hair of ours as thick and as healthy as can be.

Hair loss can be common in females and is more common following the menopause; however, alopecia will not manifest in all cases. In many cases the sufferer will simply notice increased hair loss and thinning of the hair; early treatment can improve the outcome. Although alopecia tends to be socially accepted in males it is unacceptable in females and in many cases it can have devastating effects on the sufferer's emotional state and confidence. But you should not despair - hair loss can be prevented and stopped once you know what causes it and what you should do.

The real causes of hair loss or alopecia, as it is clinically known, have already been explained by science, however, before we proceed to know the real causes of hair loss, let us first see and examine the prevalent myths about why hair loss occur in women.

There are many websites that try to dispel the "myths" of womens hair loss but some of these so-called "myths" do have a basis for truth. Let's now examine many of these popular "myths" and provide a balanced response.

Myth Number One: Frequent shampooing contributes to hair loss. Many websites say this is "rubbish", however, in textbooks of trichology it is recommended that "extra care" should be taken for fragile and thinning hair. These measures include using gentle shampoos as heavily medicated shampoos can affect the scalp and brushing should be gentle as well. Any tangles of hair should be separated without pulling of the hair. So, it's not so much how frequently you wash your hair but what you wash your hair with!

Myth Number Two: We often hear that bad blood circulation starves the hair follicles which make them fall out. Although patients with poor blood circulation do not appear to be more likely to suffer from alopecia, tight fitting hats and wigs may cause hair loss in a very small minority of people. The mechanism is still unclear but if it occurs, this may be due to the impairment of blood flow in the scalp. That is why extreme care should be taken by alopecia sufferers who wear these garments on their heads.

Myth Number Three: Hats and wigs cause hair loss. This is untrue on the whole, all hats and wigs do is just cover your hair. Hats may even help shield your hair against the damaging causes of direct sunlight. However, if you are a sufferer of alopecia you should avoid tight fitting hats and wigs in our opinion.

Myth Number Four: 100 strokes of the hair brush daily will create healthier hair. Brushing your hair does stimulate the glands on your scalp to produce oil that will keep your hair healthy. However, a hundred brush strokes does more damage to your hair than what you wish intend. A hundred brush strokes on thinning and fragile hair will be more devastating than helpful. It is important to look after thinning and fragile hair and gentle brushing should be sufficient to maintain the condition of your hair and can be of benefit. Tangles should be separated by fingers without pulling the hair.

Myth Number Five: Permanent hair loss is caused by perms, colors and other cosmetic treatments. Whilst treatments on hair can damage the nutrients and make it less healthy it will not lead to permanent alopecia. However, should hair loss be experienced after perms etc. then you should avoid them. That is why you have to scrutinize whatever you use in your hair since improper use of products may cause potential hair loss.

Myth Number Six: Women are expected to develop significant hair loss if they are healthy. Utter rubbish.

Myth Number Seven: Shaving one's head will cause the hair to grow back thicker. This is just not true. In fact, if you are suffering from androgenetiic alopecia, this will actually severely quicken your hair loss.

Myth Number Eight: Standing on one's head will cause increased circulation and thereby stimulate hair growth. We're afraid not; although poor blood circulation may cause some hair loss, increasing blood circulation just does not stimulate hair growth either.

Myth Number Nine: Dandruff causes permanent hair loss. This is simply not true. Dandruff is a condition of the scalp, not the hair. Dandruff occurs because of the excessive shedding of cells on your scalp skin. For dandruff sufferers, the natural process of scalp-cell renewal is accelerated when fighting off P. ovale, a normal fungus found on every human head.

Myth Number Ten: We often see TV personalities and even some doctors say that stress makes your hair fall out! Although it is unclear whether stress coming from severe life events can cause alopecia, there are case reports indicating that this may be so. It is however very rare and frequently no cause can be found for severe and rapid developing alopecia. Patients who have suffered hair loss following a stressful event may still benefit from specific treatment to assist in hair re-growth.

Myth Number Eleven: Hair loss does not occur in the late teens or early twenties. Whilst fairly rare this is not true. Alopecia or hair loss may happen to anyone regardless of their age.

Now what really causes androgenetic alopecia or hair loss in women?

The most common type of hair loss seen in women is androgenetic alopecia, also known as female pattern alopecia or baldness. This is seen as hair thinning predominantly over the top and sides of the head. It affects approximately one-third of all susceptible women, but is most commonly seen after menopause, although it may begin as early as puberty. Normal hair fall is approximately 100-125 hairs per day. Fortunately, these hairs are replaced by the mechanisms in the body. True hair loss occurs when lost hairs are not re-grown or when the daily hair shed exceeds 125 hairs. Genetically, hair loss can come from either parents' side of the family.

There are two different types of hair loss, medically known as Anagen effluvium and Telogen effluvium. Anagen effluvium or loss of hair that is in the anagen or growing phase is generally due to internally administered medications, such as chemotherapy agents, that poison the growing hair follicles. Telogen effluvium on the other hand, is due to an increased number of hair follicles entering the resting stage. The most common causes of Telogen effluvium are: (1)Physical stress: surgery, illness, anemia, rapid weight change; (2)Emotional stress: mental illness, death of a family member; (3)Thyroid abnormalities; (4)Medications: High doses of Vitamin A, Blood pressure medications, Gout medications; and (5)Hormonal causes: pregnancy, birth control pills, menopause. When the above causes of telogen effluvium are reversed or altered you should see the return of normal hair growth.

Hair loss in women: androgenetic alopecia, anagen effluvium and telogen effluvium can be lessened and reduced, even stopped. All you need to do is know the right information about alopecia and do the right things to combat these conditions. There are lots of hair loss treatment medicines available out there; all you need to do is to know which one is the right one for you, depending on the extent of the hair loss. Remember, that the longer you wait to treat your hair loss, the harder it will be to achieve good results. So if you want to win this hair loss battle, stand up and do it now! The quicker you take action the easier it's going to get.

Written by: Combat Hair Loss

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