Hair loss in women
It is estimated that one out of five women experience baldness. Some factors leading to baldness in women are aging, disease, and hormonal changes occurring after menopause. Hair loss in women happens due to a lack of hair density, resulting in the scalp to become visible. Some women attempt to treat their thinning hair before considering hair transplantation. They may use wigs or place fake hair on their scalps, while others try taking medicine prescribed by a specialist. Usually, the effectiveness of these medications varies from a woman to woman, although, they may prevent and stop the hair loss of the remaining hair without stimulating new hair growth. Some women are not satisfied with such solutions, so they consider hair transplantation.
Hair loss in women
Detailed causes of hair loss in women
Hair is one of the main components of beauty, especially among women, and any change, therefore, may affect their lives and characters. In some cultures, a woman’s hair is a representation of her beauty. This fact encouraged many companies to manufacture hair products, including hair dyes, hair styling and maintenance products; unfortunately, resulting in many women experiencing hair loss.
Most causes of hair loss come from external factors, blood diseases, dietary reasons and others related to hormones.
External factors: include the excessive and uneducated use of commercial chemical products, which affects hair growth and changes its qualities, such as its texture, color, and flexibility. These products include hair dyes that have a high content of alkaline substances. Additionally, medical conditions requiring the use of anti-hyperlipidemia drugs, gout medications, anti-coagulation or anti-blood clotting drugs, and medications used to control the thyroid gland or to treat some types of cancer, can lead to hair loss. Such hair loss cases may be treated by using fewer chemical materials or products, and after consulting, and with the approval of, a medical specialist, abstaining from the mentioned drugs, if medically possible.
Anemia: iron deficiency affects hair growth, causing hair loss, this may happen in the cases of chronic diseases, during pregnancy and lactation. In such cases, you must first conduct medical tests to determine the proportion of iron in blood and if found deficient, use iron pills and monitor iron levels.
Endocrine disturbance: the thyroid gland is a critical factor in controlling hair growth and hair loss, any disturbance in its function, increase or decrease, affects the hair. In thyroid hyper-activity (excessive production of thyroid hormone), hair loss becomes widespread and hair texture becomes smooth and thin, while in the case of hypo-activity (reduced production of thyroid hormone), hair becomes coarse and thick, and is associated with hair loss from the head, the pubic area and the outer third of the eyebrows. The treatment for reduced secretions of thyroid hormone (hypothyroid) is to take medications that assist the gland to maintain a normal range of thyroid hormone. In cases of increased secretions (hyperthyroid) incurably, patients may require surgical treatment. In all cases of thyroid dysfunction, consulting a medical specialist is critical.
Reasons related to hormones: there are two reasons hormones cause hair loss in women: a lack of female hormones (estrogen), usually occurs after giving birth and during menopause, and increased male hormones (testosterone), usually starts after menopause. These disorders occur in the following cases:
a. Postnatal: during pregnancy there will be an increased rate of female sex hormone (estradiol), which keeps the hair growth and then declines after giving birth, causing hair loss.
This is a common temporary situation and the body returns to normal after a short period without medication; however, women may take vitamins and iron to strengthen their bodies.
b. Hair loss during menopause: light hair loss occurs after menopause due to estrogen deficiency, the treatment in such cases is to compensate for this deficiency. It is helpful to take vitamins and use estrogen-rich materials for washing the hair.
c. Increased male hormones: like during menopause, increased male hormones may be relative and due to a lack of balance between the female hormones which have decreased or due to an excessive secretion of these hormones, which may occur in certain cases like polycystic ovarian syndrome. Patients with these cases may have coarse hair on the face and other areas on the body; the treatment usually is to use anti-androgens with female hormones (estradiol).
d. Hair loss related to contraceptive pills: usually, contraceptive pills do not cause hair loss, but in some cases, they cause anemia resulting from lacking folic acid, which may lead to hair loss. Treatment is usually to take folic acid to treat the anemia.
Hair transplantation for women
Before explaining the hair transplantation process, first, we have to understand what hair consists of. Each strand of hair consists of a root and a hair shaft. The root is located under the scalp or skin and is surrounded by a greasy cover, or bulb, at the end of the root of each hair, which passes nutrition to the hair. The hair shaft is the apparent part of each hair, which protrudes from the skin and consists of a package of soft fiber surrounded by a protein layer, similar to the protein layer of the nails and the outer layer of the skin.
There are about 100,000 hair bulbs at a rate of 100 bulbs per square centimeter in the scalp. Each bulb contains one or several hair strands, which makes the hair thick or thin. The normal daily hair loss is between 50-100 strands, which die and fall to be replaced by new ones, but if the hair loss rate increased more than that, then hair loss becomes a disease that requires treatment.
Hair transplantation procedure for women is implemented by taking multiple follicles from the back of the patient’s scalp, since this area is not usually affected by hair loss, and then these follicles are replanted in the areas with hair loss.
There are two techniques of hair transplantation for women
• FUT (Follicular Unit Transplantation) technique
This technique is based on taking the transverse slice of the scalp at the back of the head, then dividing it to many small segments; each one of them has one or two bulbs. Then the specialist doctor draws a layout showing the points where bulbs have to be planted. The specialist makes a small cut or a hole around (1 mm) to plant the slice. A disadvantage of this technique is that there will be a permanent scar at the area where the slice was taken; however, it will not be apparent under the hair.
• FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction) technique
This technique is considered the most current, widespread and developed because it does not result in a scar like the FUT technique. Although there will not be any scar, it is considered the most expensive technique. The FUE and FUT techniques have a different approach to taking hair bulbs. Using the FUE technique, the specialist takes the whole bulb from the back of the head by using special needles and then replants it according to the layout specified for the hair transplantation at the front of the head.