In males, usually generalized hair loss is due to male pattern common baldness. In females, though, the hair loss could be due to many causes.
The main causes of male type baldness in females is due to excessive production of circulating androgens, resulting from diseases of various endocrine glands, like polycystic ovarian disease, adrenal hyperplasia, cushing’s syndrome and adrenal and ovarian tumors.
As we have already discussed, hair fall can also have many other causes, usually due to abnormalities in hair cycling. (hair has got growth, resting and falling cycles, any abnormality of these will cause hair to fall)
Normal causes for hair loss or alopecia in females are:
- Following delivery: hormonal changes.
- Prolonged illness
- Nutritional deficiencies.
- Anemia: an important cause
- Local causes in the scalp: dandruff, too much chlorine in water and contact allergy.
Tests for Hair Loss in Women
- Hormone levels (DHEA, testosterone, androstenedione, prolactin, follicular stimulating hormone, and leutinizing hormone)
- Serum iron, serum ferritin, and total iron binding capacity (TIBC)
- Thyroid levels (T3, T4, TSH)
- VDRL (a screening test for syphilis)
- Complete blood count (CBC)
- Vitamin D3 levels
- Scalp biopsy — A small section of scalp, usually 4 mm in diameter, is removed and examined under a microscope to help determine the cause of hair loss.
- Hair pull – Your dermatologist lightly pulls a small amount of hair (about 50-60 strands) to determine if there is excessive loss. If more that 5-6 hairs come out, then the patient is likely suffering from excess hair loss. Normal range is one to three hairs per pull.
- Densitometry — The densitometer is a handheld magnification device used to check for miniaturization of the hair shaft.
Here is what to do if you are a female suffering from hair loss:
- If you have any of the above triggers, try to correct them
- Check your Hemoglobin level. If it is lower than 11 gms/dl, you should take an iron-folic acid supplement.
- Do not use hot water to wash your hair. Do not put on tight clips.
- Take a balanced diet
- Practice relaxation techniques.
Specific treatments, along with the above:
- Topical hair tonics, with or without 2% minoxidil
- Multivitamin for hair
- Treatment for specific causes as determined through the lab investigations.
- Alopecia : Types and Causes
- How to Diagnose the Exact Cause of Alopecia or Hair Loss?
- How to Treat Hair Loss
Published by Dr Hanish Babu, MD on 9th June, 2018
The information given in this article is for educational purpose only so that patients are aware of the options available. No diagnosis should be made or treatment undertaken without first consulting your doctor. If you do so, the author or the website will not be responsible for any consequences. The images provided are for illustration purpose only and are copyrighted.
Copyright 2018 © Dr Hanish Babu, MD