There are countless contributors to hair loss in women; extreme hair shedding, thinning edges and other forms of hair loss. In many cases, we were given warning signs that went unnoticed. But, either way, they should be made known especially considering the high percentage of women affected by hair loss. Though so many, I wanted to address the most popular ones that I encounter daily as a natural hairstylist.
Before you read on, you may want to learn and understand the difference between breakage and hair loss. You can read that here.
Postpartum Hair Loss
During pregnancy, the high levels of hormones (estrogen) causes your hair to remain in the resting stage longer, leaving you with thicker, fuller, longer hair and intact, versus shedding normally. Once levels begin to decrease – return to normal, which takes approximately 4 months after delivery, you will begin noticing massive amounts of hair shedding. During this period, you can go from the average shedding of 150 strands a day, to 500! Because your body is attempting to return to normal and have undergone childbirth, there is little that can be done about the shedding.
But, continue to be healthy, avoid tension, excessive brushing and tugging, and heat styling, and try exercising to reduce stress levels. Alternatively, you can opt for hair thickening products and protein treatments, which plump the strand (careful not to overdo it) and just be patient. You may attempt switching up your style to conceal edges, such as bangs. Check out How I Grew Back My Edges
This process differs for each individual and can last 6 months or longer. If persists, visit a physician to have your levels checked and to rule out anemia (iron deficiencies). Due to the hormonal changes, it is possible for the hair to return finer than before or even a different texture altogether, so don’t be alarmed.
Menopause or Other Hormonal Imbalances
Hair loss resulting from menopause affects nearly 40% of women. Just as high levels of hormones during pregnancy cause less hair to shed, the decline of hormone levels can cause increasing hair loss. And though menopause is the most common hormonal cause of hair loss, it is far from the only.
Thyroid, unusual levels of stress (causes hormone fluctuations), PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) which is very common and diabetes, just to name a few, are other diseases that are directly or indirectly connected to hormonal imbalances.
To treat, see a physician, and as stated before, achieve a healthy lifestyle consisting of a daily balanced diet, avoiding crash diets, exercise and the elimination of as much stress as humanly possible. It may not be possible to stop the shedding or thinning, but by maintaining overall health you may be able to slow the process.
Just as men suffer from Male Pattern Baldness, a lot of women experience the same hair loss. Caused by the presence of androgens, Woman Pattern Baldness, also known as Female Pattern Hair Loss or Androgenic Alopecia, affects approximately 40% women by the age of 50, leaving less than 45% women to reach age 80 with a full head of hair.
I encounter daily, various women who come in inquiring about possibilities of thickening their hair. But, my first question is always geared towards the female history in the family. “How is your mother’s hair in relation to fullness/thickness?” or “How is your grandmother’s hair? Is it full?” A lot of times, the answer to these simple questions is “NO”.
Usually, history proves a pattern, which without complete diagnosis, points to genetic predisposition. If by chance the answer is yes, then, I follow up with questions related to high blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid, PCOS, and so on. In my case, my mother had a lovely head of hair, taken after her father who didn’t start losing hair until 70 years of age. But, because I was diagnosed with a hormonal imbalance, taken after my grandmother, I began thinning in my 20s. Because of the predisposition for hair loss determined genetically, I went natural.
Would this stop the process?
Highly unlikely… But, because I stopped the use of chemical relaxers, I slowed the process, or at least allowed my hair to appear fuller by rocking it in its natural state. When straightened, it is obvious that my hair is thin, but can be quickly disguised by its natural curl. When in a hormonal crisis, my hair sheds profusely.
To help slow it, I exercise, drink LOTS of water, and eat lots of fruits and veggies. You can also ask your physician for a hormone replacement drug or visit a holistic doctor that can supply a natural form of progesterone or hormone that closely resembles that in which we should produce naturally, and lastly pick up a hormone supporting supplement from your local GNC or Vitamin World such as DHEA, B-Complex, Magnesium, just to name a few.
All of these can affect the edges, the crown or the entire head depending upon the severity of the condition. But, by maintaining a healthy, balanced lifestyle/diet, getting plenty sleep (allowing the body to regenerate and rejuvenate) and exercising (relieving stress and increasing blood flow), can increase chances of slowing and maybe reversing – depending on the condition (diabetes, high blood pressure).
Remember, if you are thinning, always avoid extreme and excessive tension, continual wearing of ponytails, puffs and buns, and sleeping without satin scarves (protects edges from rubbing – leading to hair loss as seen in infants – called crib hair). Don’t force your edges to go in a direction they do not naturally grow, and attempt to utilize castor oil in your regimen daily, concentrating on your edges and other thinner areas.
See Also: Not-so-common Hair Growth Treatments