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Getting to the Root of Hair Loss in Women
Hair loss in women is more common than you might think and can cause emotional distress for those experiencing it," says Kimberly Mullinax, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at Kelsey-Seybold. Her clinical interests include autoimmune disorders, which sometimes play a part in hair loss.
Dr. Mullinax says the average person loses between 50 and 150 strands of hair a day – more when hair is washed, so it's normal to lose what may sometimes feel like a lot of hair per day.
"If you start noticing an unusual amount of hair loss or patches of thinning hair, there could be several reasons for this,” she explains. “First, it could be androgenetic alopecia, a hereditary condition that causes female pattern hair loss. This is the most common reason for hair loss in women."
She says there could be other reasons for female hair loss. Among these are hormonal problems like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and autoimmune disorders, such as lupus or lichen planopilaris. Some medications and changes in medications can also lead to hair loss.
Additionally, some hair treatments and hairstyles can cause damage to the hair follicles. Over time, this can cause scarring hair loss.
Other times the hair loss can be brought on by changes in the body, such as pregnancy, thyroid disorders, or anemia. Stress or dramatic weight loss can also play a part.
"If you believe you're experiencing hair loss, see a dermatologist so if treatment is available, it can be started as soon as possible. I also recommend avoiding tight hairstyles and curtailing the use of blow dryers and flat irons," concludes Dr. Mullinax.