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Hair Transplant News & Features » Hair Loss in Younger Women

Three warning signs of hair loss that younger women should not ignore

A full head of shiny hair can be any woman's best feature, but hair loss experts warn that subtle changes in the hair can signal early signs of hair loss in younger women that should be addressed before hair loss progresses.

Paul C. Cotterill, M.D., a hair restoration surgeon based in Toronto and past president of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS), advised that younger women should pay close attention to three warnings signs that could indicate the start of hair loss.

  1. Increase in overall scalp hair shedding. — Normal growing scalp hair sheds at a rate up to 100 to 150 hairs per day. When the body is under stress, both physiologically or psychologically, hair shedding can increase from 200 to 225 hairs per day.
  2. Decrease in overall hair volume. — When women are losing their hair or experiencing rapid shedding, they may notice that their ponytail is getting less thick. There is less hair to tie back and more see-through to the scalp.
  3. Change in hair texture. — Sometimes when early hair loss occurs, the hair may start to become finer, not grow as fast and/or break more easily.

"There are many factors that can affect scalp hair growth, and extreme dieting coupled with extreme exercising, both of which can be common in women in their 20s and 30s, are frequent hair loss culprits that women may not suspect," said Dr. Cotterill. "When there's extreme weight loss, or rapid weight loss over a short period of time without proper diet, that puts more stress on the entire body, including more hair falling out than normal."

Dr. Cotterill explained that in addition to extreme dieting and exercise, several other factors can contribute to hair loss or hair damage in women. These triggers include:

  • Chronic stress.
  • Iron deficiency.
  • Elevated male hormones.
  • Thyroid condition.
  • Family history of scalp hair loss.
  • Harsh styling products.
  • Chlorine left on hair after swimming.

"It is important for young women experiencing scalp hair loss to not put off seeing a qualified hair restoration physician, as a thorough history and physical should be performed on women to determine the cause of the hair shedding, loss or breakage," said Dr. Cotterill. "Many questions need to be asked to rule out a medical condition or a lifestyle change that can contribute to hair loss. A patient's family history of hair loss also needs to be addressed, as this is the most common cause of hair loss in men and women. Once the proper examination is performed, only then can the physician offer a valid opinion with proven treatment options."

According to results of a new member survey conducted by the ISHRS, the number of women seeking help for hair loss is on the rise worldwide. The percent of surgical hair restoration patients that were female increased from 13.7% in 2012 to 15.3% in 2014, a 12% increase. Similarly, the percentage of female non-surgical hair restoration patients also increased over this 2-year period, from 33.2% to 40.1% (a 21% increase).

Source: The International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery, 7/31/15

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