There are many potential causes of hair loss in women , including medical conditions, medications, and physical or emotional stress. If you notice unusual hair loss of any kind, it's important to see your primary care provider or a dermatologist, to determine the cause and appropriate treatment. You may also want to ask your clinician for a referral to a therapist or support group to address emotional difficulties. Hair loss in women can be frustrating, but recent years have seen an increase in resources for coping with the problem.
Taking hair supplements can be helpful for anyone who is experiencing hair loss or hair thinning. Dendy Engelman, MD, a board-certified dermatologic surgeon at Medical Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery in New York City, previously recommended Nutrafol, a research-backed hair supplement, to Prevention. "This uses highly concentrated botanicals to address every stage of the growth cycle," she says. Nutrafol's hair supplements include vitamin E and ashwagandha (an adaptogen that helps balance cortisol levels in the body), among others.
A medical event or condition, such as a thyroid imbalance, childbirth, surgery, or a fever, typically triggers this type of hair loss. Telogen effluvium may also occur as a result of a vitamin or mineral deficiency—iron deficiency is a common cause of hair loss in women—or the use of certain medications, such as isotretinoin, prescribed for acne, or warfarin, a blood thinner. Starting or stopping oral contraceptives (birth control pills) may also cause this type of hair loss.
The main symptom of alopecia areata is hair loss. Hair usually falls out in small patches on the scalp. These patches are often several centimeters or less. Hair loss might also occur on other parts of the face, like the eyebrows, eyelashes, and beard, as well as other parts of the body. Some people lose hair in a few places. Others lose it in a lot of spots.
Testosterone replacement is becoming popular for men. Cotsarelis warns that this may accelerate hair loss. Propecia might help -- but because it prevents testosterone breakdown, it might affect the dose of male hormone replacement therapy. Cotsarelis warns men taking both Propecia and testosterone replacement to make sure their doctor carefully monitors their testosterone levels.
Certain medical issues can also impair hair growth. An overactive or underactive thyroid gland can cause hair loss. So can iron deficiency. When women go through menopause and their estrogen levels fall, their hair often begins to thin. Many women also lose some hair a few months after giving birth because of the hormonal changes the body experiences.
Hi Lisa, hope you were able to speak with your doctor. I also talked at length with my mom and sister and feel a little better. My mom has hair but it is very thin but I forget she has had surgeries and takes a lot of meds for various conditions and she knows this has caused her hair loss. My sister has PCOS and that has made her hair thin out. I had a good appt with my dermatology nurse. She sat and talked with me and listened and was very interested and caring. I cried for about half the visit. She examined my head and does see the thinning but it isn’t consistent for androgentic alopecia and there aren’t any just out of nowhere hairloss in the family (she seemed more concerned with females than male relatives). What I haven’t stated is that I don’t handle stress well, the last time I underwent major stress was with the acne and she thinks it has taken on another form. To be as brief as I can besides taking two night classes, working full time, single mom no help from their dad ( a teen daughter and preteen son!), major stress at work, separated/divorced, financial stress, found out my dad’s prostate cancer came back, aging parents (they can’t take care of things like they used to and I’m living with them and it’s on me now), and just found my ex husband (not my kids’ dad) has lung/brain cancer and we aren’t on speaking terms and we work for the same company, oh yeah and I have new boyfriend. The last of this list happened all this month. I know I haven’t been eating well, and with the constipation if I’m severely stressed it runs right through me, then I know its bad. So she and I decided to go with biotin & a multivitamin, see my PCP she really wants me back on anti anxiety pills, I will still see him but I want to talk to him more at length because it can cause hairloss, we are continuing my 200 mg of aladactone, my orthotricyclen, eat better, I do have regrowth in my bangs. She is very concerned about my mental health (my BFF says to me “how is my ball of nerves today?” that’s how bad I am!). I know I just need to manage it better and talking to her was the first step because she too went through a stress shedding period (I do remember it, it was a year ago) and her hair is coming back in. She said it will come back for me. But for my own psychological health she said for me to get the rogaine foam for men and use it, just so I can see regrowth faster. She said they say not to use if for women because of the pregnancy issue and that isn’t a factor for me. I also had burning and itching but with the use of Nioxin it is better. She also said only wash my hair once a day (I usually do twice), and use low heat for my hair. She is going to see me in three weeks. 

I am 20 and have been losing hair since I was 17. It is such a confidence killer. I really do miss my beautiful thick and black hair. Now my hair is thin and a bit gray as well. I only think of it sometimes…but I used to be so depressed i can barely get out of bed. Whenever I am talking to someone, I always wonder if they are looking at my hair. I am currently using Rogaine for Women…it worked one summer when I was following the regimen religiously. However, I am so bad with routines, so now I try to remember to put it on my scalp morning and night. I recently also started to take Shen Min Hir Nutrients…not sure if it works yet. Does anyone have any advice? I really want to get a hair biopsy but I don’t know how. The places I called offered scalp analysis to prepare for hair transplants…which is not something that I am considering. I also saw 2 derms, one didn’t know what was wrong and only offered Rogaine as a solution, and the other said it is androgenic alopecia. I think I might have hormonal problems, but really not that sure. My scalp is always oily and so is my skin. Before my hairloss, I had really itchy scalp. Now it’s still oily but I wash it every other day. I also dye my hair to hide the gray. Sometimes I just feel so ugly and depressed in thinking about my hair. Beautiful hair is the only thing that I want back.
Duke’s dermatologists diagnose and treat hair disorders, such as hair loss (alopecia), excessive hairiness (hirsutism), and abnormal hair growth (hypertrichosis). We understand that abnormal hair growth can be distressing and affect your self confidence. We work closely with you to diagnose the cause of your condition, and develop a personalized treatment plan that meets your medical needs, improves your condition, and helps you regain a positive self-image.
I”m sitting here reading all your letters hoping that you’ve helped someone and hoping that you can help me, too. I’m 48 and all my life I’ve been told how beautiful my hair was. I now live in S Florida and within the last couple of years I stopped styling my hair because of the heat and the humidity. I usually wear it in a ponytail (never tight – I’m sure that’s not the problem). About a year ago I noticed athat a lot of hair was on the back of my car seat.I mean A LOT.When I went home to NY I tried to style my hair like I used to and it didn’t work. It just layed there.The more I looked I noticed how thin it was. I came back to Fl and went to a dermatologist who barely looked at me and told me to try rogaine.
Hi, I cannot afford to go to see Dr. Redmond even though I live in NY (he’s just too pricy, I have no insurance, etc…) but I’m going to see the ob/gyn towards then end of the month to get help because I’m convinced I have PCOS (literally all the symptoms) and I was wondering, what birth control is best for hair? I’ve read Dr. Redmond’s site before and I could have sworn that Yaz or Yasmin kept popping up in the faqs section or somewhere on that site as good bcp for hair loss. I realize some people experienced hair loss after going off those pills, but if you have hair loss prior to bcp, I could have sworn Dr. Redmond listed those as good at helping hair loss and I thought some women claimed (elsewhere, not on his site) that they’ve regrown some hair after going on Yasmin. Sorry if I’m rambling, but does anyone know? Thanks. If I have PCOS, which I’m sure I do, I’m pushing for Spironolactone because I’ve read of a bunch of women who’ve had great success at regrowing hair with it, and one story on this site about a woman named “Jen” had great results. I think it took her 2 years, and she allegedly grew back 90-95% of her hair (also taking Metformin, dieting and exercising, and using Nizoral shampoo) so I’m trying to remain optimistic. It’s not just being 27 & single that makes me horrified at losing hair, though it doesn’t help, I’d still be freaking out if I was 57. If I could regrow even 30% to 50% I’d be elated. Because ultimately, I’m holding out hope for stem cells to be all of our “saviors.” Lol. There are 3 companies working on adult stem cell therapies for hair loss (from what I’ve seen here and elsewhere, they are Histogen, Follica, and Aderans) not to mention a Cairo Dermatologist who has successfully helped children with alopecia areata/totalis regrow significant amounts of hair, though only in one study and the results are only preliminary. Who knows. But still, fingers crossed that I can get these stupid hormones under control and stop my daily horror at washing my hair and seeing my once beautiful hair fall away. I always took my hair for granted and often complained about it, but I’d give anything for my thick long hair back. I had fine hair always, but tons of it and I always wore it long. Now I wear it pulled back in a bun to hide as best I can all that scalp showing through. Thanks for this site, it’s keeping me from going off the deep end.
i also have learned that most people are low in their vitamin d levels, which may also contribute to hair loss. i actually had labs done to check for my vitamin d level, by a cardiologist. my heart is fine, thankfully, but she did tell me to take 2000i.u. daily of vitamin d3, specifically. when i researched about it, i found the possible hair connection. so i do take that daily. i will also be buying vitamin b6 and 12 and biotin. and i will research the gut connection because biologically speaking, it makes sense. i will return with another post in a few months and update.
So far, I’ve only been on the Propecia for about three weeks. I don’t notice any side-effects thus far. I am taking 2.5 mg of Proscar, to be exact. I feel good and have not noticed any difference in my hair. I continue to lose about 20 hairs when I shower and brush it each day. That may not sound like a lot but I have already lost so much of my hair, that I think that represents more hair loss than it sounds. At least it is stable for now…I thank GOD that it is not getting worse. I DO have re-growth but it is fine and “wispy” as you said. It is not the same as the rest of my “normal” hair but hey, at least some of it is growing back in. Slowly and finer. That seems to support the AGA diagnosis. The thing that really drives me crazy is that I still don’t know WHY the TE started in the first place. The TE unmasked the AGA, but why the damn TE and what from here? Anyway….I digress and obsses!   

Alopecia areata typically causes a few temporary bald patches on the scalp. It tends to run in families and often strikes in childhood. The hair loss seems to be part of an immune system problem, in which the body's natural defences mistakenly attack its own tissue. Once the hair has fallen out in certain spots, new growth is suppressed for weeks or months. This type of alopecia sometimes affects people who have other "autoimmune" diseases like thyroid disease, lupus, or pernicious anemia. Sometimes, it may produce complete scalp baldness (alopecia totalis) or total loss of body hair (alopecia universalis).

Androgenetic alopecia (AGA), or male-pattern baldness, is hair thinning in an “M”-shaped pattern; hair loss occurs on the temples and crown of the head with sparing of the sides and back5 (Figure 2). This pattern reflects the distribution of androgen-sensitive follicles in most people.6 Starting at puberty, androgens shorten the anagen phase and promote follicular miniaturization, leading to vellus-like hair formation and gradual hair thinning.6
I am 30 and am trying Rogaine and spironolactone but only stopped the loss and I want to try Propecia. I know about the side effects for a male fetus, but I have chosen myself that I do not ever want to create a child out of my body. I will adopt or foster, but have intense lockeophobia. I even agreed to sign a legal document saying such, but my doctor would still not prescribe me propecia unless I had had a hysterectomy. He said it was for safety reasons, but as far as I understand it the only safety issue would be to such a fetus that will not exist. So I am confused about his reservations.

Minoxidil (Rogaine). This is an over-the-counter (nonprescription) medication approved for men and women. It comes as a liquid or foam that you rub into your scalp daily. Wash your hands after application. At first it may cause you to shed hair as hair follicles. New hair may be shorter and thinner than previous hair. At least six months of treatment is required to prevent further hair loss and to start hair regrowth. You need to keep applying the medication to retain benefits.
Also, re: the Proscar, I think that it may already be helping some as I think my shedding may be tapering off a bit more. I am losing a few less hairs Per day now. Maybe? I don’t know, but I am trying to stay positive!! I have no real regrowth. Just wisps, extremely fine hair, almost hard to see. Kind of transparent. I am not expecting miracles, but trust me…. THe moment I feel I have any true results to share with you girls, I will definitely be posting them! There aren’t many success stories out here. We need more. I guess people don’t come out here as much if they are experiencing good things w their hair?
×