Pharmaceutical

What causes female hair loss? How can I protect my hair?

alopecia woman hair loss Shutterstock 280x210 What causes female hair loss? How can I protect my hair?The public is very familiar with hereditary hair loss known as male or female pattern hair loss. They are similarly familiar with hair loss as a result of cancer treatment, although it is less common knowledge that certain chemotherapy drugs, Taxotere for example, can cause permanent rather than temporary baldness. Other causes of hair loss such as autoimmune disorder alopecia areata are becoming more discussed in the public forum.

Hair loss does not only affect men. The American Hair Loss Association says, “Mistakenly thought to be a strictly male disease, women actually make up forty percent of American hair loss sufferers. Hair loss in women can be absolutely devastating for the sufferer’s self image and emotional well being. Unfortunately, society has forced women to suffer in silence. It is considered far more acceptable for men to go through the same hair loss process.”

The Alternative Daily lists for its female readers several other possible things they might not have considered that could be contributing to hair loss, and some strategies to help treat it depending on the cause.

  1. Birth control pills, which rely on altering a woman’s hormones, can suffer from hair loss problems.
  2. Dry shampoos might be a culprit for excessive hair loss, as overuse can clog pores and irritate the scalp, damaging follicles.
  3. Nutrition plays an important role in healthy hair, and dieting could be causing hair loss if you are low in protein, iron, calcium, vitamin B, vitamin A or biotin intake.
  4. High heat appliances can damage hair and cause hair loss. The Alternative Daily warns to never use hair products that heat above 347 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. The last possible culprit in the list is lack of sun, which provides crucial vitamin D.

The article goes on to suggest some natural dietary treatments to prevent or counteract hair loss, which includes:

  • Eating more omega-3 fats, which are found in tuna, salmon, white fish and sardines, for example.
  • A fish oil pill is suggested in addition to adding omega-3 rich foods to your diet.
  • Zinc is recommended and can be found in seeds, nuts, dark chocolate, beans and mushrooms.
  • Increasing iron intake is suggested, as iron deficiencies have been linked to several hair loss disorders. Some iron-rich foods are spinach, egg yolk, swiss chard, beef steak, tofu, broccoli and potatoes.
  • Vitamins D and B5 will also benefit hair growth. Vitamin D can be absorbed directly from sun exposure; 10 minutes is enough to provide 10,000 units of vitamin D. It is also found in cheese, yogurt, eggs, tofu and salmon. B5 can be found in chicken, sunflower seeds, salmon, avocados, tomatoes and broccoli.

Unfortunately for some women with hair loss, there is no real cure. There are some treatments that have varying success for alopecia areata. Permanent hair loss caused by cancer drugs is irreversible. Messages of self-acceptance and social change addressing the stigma around female baldness, as well as warnings about the side-effects of the drugs they are taking are needed.

Sources:
The Alternative Daily
The American Hair Loss Association
Righting Injustice