Hair loss, which is also known as alopecia, affects many women. It can occur at any time during their lives and can affect all ages as well as races. After menopause is usually when women will see an increase in hair loss. Women’s hair loss goes further than just an aesthetic issue, it can also cause emotional problems. In fact, there may be the need to get help for the emotional aspect from a therapist and or a support group. An OB/GYN is crucial to diagnosing and treating the issue. Along with consultations, Dr. Nathalie Gutierrez-Prieto can help patients discover the reasons behind hair loss.
Understanding Hair Growth
It may help to understand how hair grows as someone looks for answers about hair loss. There are three cycles that hair goes through and each one offers a valuable function. The first cycle is the growing or anagen cycle; this will usually go from two to eight years. Catagen is the next part of the cycle and takes up to three weeks. At this time in the process, the hair follicle contracts. Finally, there is the telogen or resting. The hair rests, but it is also during this time it can be lost. Everyone loses hair strands each day and even more on days it is washed. If all things are in balance more hair is growing than is lost. When the opposite happens, noticeable hair loss occurs,
There are many different causes for hair loss in women. When seeing a doctor for this, a woman might be asked about other women in the family who have had hair loss. This is called female patterned hair loss and relates to the genetic reasons for lack of follicle growth. Medical conditions can contribute to the problem and medications offer their own problems. For example, chemotherapy drugs are known for this. Menopause and the years after, a woman is likely to see the most loss; with the hormone changes and aging, the hair will start to thin out. Some other conditions that can affect the hair include pregnancy, autoimmune conditions, and psoriasis. The way that hair is taken care of also plays a role. Dyes, ponytails or braids have all been connected to significant hair loss.
Some hair loss cannot be prevented, especially if it comes from genetics. There are things that can be done to help and the biggest is putting together a treatment plan. Be careful with products that you put on the hair such as treatments. Also, hairdryers, curling irons, and straighteners will damage hair if used too much or improperly. Don’t try hairstyles that will pull the hair or brush harshly. Eating a healthy diet will make sure the body is strong and there are no immune system issues, but it is no guarantee that hair loss will stop.
Hair loss does not have to be something met with shame or confusion. Treatments are out there that can help slow down or stop the problem. Whether searching for something more permanent or just a better hair care system for daily cleanings, a doctor can help women discover what treatments work best for each individual.