10 Causes of Thinning Hair in Women
Thinning hair is more common for men, but it can pack a greater emotional punch for women because hair is so closely tied to beauty and self-esteem. If you notice hair loss over time, it can be a sign to check with your doctor. Here’s why some women might start to experience thinning hair.
1. Mom and Dad: Your genes are the biggest factor. Look at your mom and other female relatives. If your thinning hair is similar to theirs, you probably have hereditary female pattern hair loss, the most common form.
2. Styling: Some chemical treatments such as coloring or straightening formulas harm the scalp, and consistently wearing very tight braids or ponytails can damage follicles.
3. Pregnancy: Some women lose a lot of hair a few months after giving birth as hormones return to normal and delayed shedding occurs at once. This is temporary, and hair generally returns to normal within 12 months.
4. Birth Control: Oral contraceptives can trigger thinning hair for some women by changing hormone levels. Sometimes this hair loss occurs after stopping the pill.
5. Diet: If you’ve been on a crash diet or aren’t getting enough protein and nutrients such as iron, your hair can thin. Losing more than 15 pounds can also cause hair loss that generally reverses when your weight steadies.
6. Trauma: Severe stress can cause hair loss. This includes physical stress like a major illness, surgery or accident, or it can be emotional stress such as a crisis or profound grief. This may last several months but usually reverses.
7. Thyroid Problems: The thyroid gland at the base of your neck produces hormones, and an imbalance can interfere with hair growth. If your thyroid is the culprit, you’ll usually also have other symptoms like dry skin or unusual weight gain.
8. PCOS: A common condition called polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can affect women of child-bearing age and plays havoc with hormones. Thinning hair can be a symptom along with unusual periods, acne and obesity.
9. Cancer Treatment: Thinning hair is a common side effect of chemotherapy and radiation treatments widely used with cancer. Your hair usually regrows once your treatment is over.
10. Alopecia Areata: This relatively rare disease is caused by the immune system attacking the hair follicles. It causes hair to fall out in round patches. Hair may well regrow but can fall out again.
©Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. 2016