Hair loss, more properly known in the medical community as alopecia, is not a discriminatory condition. Despite being well known in men, it affects women of all ages, too. In fact, according to the American Hair Loss Association, as many as 40 percent of individuals suffering from hair loss are female. These cases have a variety of causes, some of the most common of which are highlighted below.
Many factors affect the health of hair follicles, with genetics making some individuals more prone to hair loss problems than others. Hair loss that occurs because of genetic predisposition, which is known as androgenetic alopecia, affects up to 30 million American women. Also known as female pattern baldness, it causes the hair follicle to produce hair strands that are progressively thinner, with the follicle eventually ceasing hair growth altogether. The condition usually causes the hair to thin out all over the scalp, rather than for the hairline to recede dramatically as is often seen in men.
Physical Stress from Hairstyles or Hair Manipulation
Women routinely choose to put their hair in ponytails, cornrows or other styles that put tension and stress on the hair follicles. Additional follicle stress comes from aggressive combing or manipulation with tools such as curling irons. Over time, this stress can result in a specific type of hair loss known as traction alopecia. If you have traction alopecia, you might notice widening of your part or thinning in areas such as behind your ears where tension on hair strands tends to be high.
Underlying Medical Conditions
A host of different underlying medical conditions can result in hair loss in women. For example, if your thyroid is producing too little thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism), it can affect not only the condition of your hair follicles and brittleness of hair strands, but also other areas such as metabolism and nail growth. You might also experience hair loss if you have lupus (a condition in which the immune system attacks healthy tissues), polycystic ovarian syndrome (a condition in which your body produces too many male hormones, including hair-influencing testosterone) or psoriasis (an abnormally high rate of cell turnover causing plaques on the scalp). Many of these conditions are diagnosable with simple blood or other laboratory tests and can be addressed with medication, dietary modification or hormone therapy. If these options do not slow your hair loss, however, then hair replacement surgery might be beneficial.
How Hair Replacement Surgery Can Help
Hair replacement surgery is a procedure we offer at The Dermatology Center of Indiana in which Dr. Guenthner transplants hair follicles to the scalp or other area of the body where they might be helpful or attractive. Although there are different methods of approaching this type of surgery, one of the most advanced hair surgery technologies on the market is NeoGraft™, which uses automation of the FUE technique for superior precision. This innovative, minimally invasive procedure is advantageous compared to other options in that it does not produce a linear scar, doesn’t require staples or a scalpel, has fewer activity restrictions and typically gives more natural-looking results. If your hair loss is not treatable with other techniques, NeoGraft™ may be the solution you need to restore the full locks you prefer. Contact the Dermatology Center of Indiana to schedule your consultation and see if the procedure is right for you.