Top tips for female hair loss. Female hair loss is not a topic that is often discussed, yet it is so prevalent amongst women and is occurring more frequently and in younger and younger women. It can be a frightening experience to find your hair is thinning. Getting to the root cause will help to restore your hair to its former glory.
Most women expect a bit of hair loss after childbirth, with the peace of mind that it will grow back. But what about for those women whose hair loss has no apparent explanation? The stress of hair loss is enough to cause your hair to fall out!
Common causes of female hair loss
There are many potential causes of your hair loss, and identifying the cause is the key to fixing the problem. The most common causes include –
Certain synthetic hormones in contraceptives can slowly shrink hair follicles. This can occur over many years before you even notice the difference in your hair’s thickness, but the damage has been done. Other contraceptives that don’t have a direct effect on the shrinking of hair follicles can cause hair loss when you come off them as they cause a rebound surge in androgens and androgen sensitivity.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition where your body attacks its own hair follicles. There is still a lot of mystery surrounding the cause of this condition, and most medical doctors say that there is no cure. This type of hair loss is seen as patches of baldness on the scalp, rather than a generalised thinning of the hair. Like many other autoimmune conditions, naturopathic medicine can help to support the whole body to attempt to reduce the severity of the autoimmune attack.
A large majority of hair loss in women stems from hormone imbalances. This is generally referred to as Androgenetic alopecia. The reproductive hormones that are responsible for this are the androgen group of hormones. Once balance is restored to hormone levels, then hair loss should stop. When this occurs you can start to focus on encouraging a healthy regrowth of hair.
An underactive or overactive thyroid can result in hair loss in women. Like other hormonal hair loss, this type of hair loss is seen as a general thinning over the scalp, but also the loss of the eyebrows. Hair starts growing at the root of your hair follicle. The blood vessels on the scalp feed and nourish the root, creating more cells and making your hair grow. As the hair pushes out through the skin, the oil glands moisturize the hair. The hair strand will eventually fall out and a new cycle will begin. Any imbalances in the thyroid hormones affect the development of hair at the root. When a strand falls out, this imbalance can prevent a new strand of hair growing from the root, resulting in a thinning across your scalp.
Stress has such a far-reaching effect on all body systems. It is a common clinical picture that a patients hair loss begins within 3 months of a stressful event. Stress can throw out hormonal levels, reduce detoxification capacity and deplete the body of nutrients. This combination of imbalances can have a detrimental effect on the hair growth cycle.
Studies have correlated low iron levels to female pattern hair loss. A simple blood test can indicate if you are low in iron and in need of supplementation. Never supplement with iron without confirming that there is a deficiency present.
Other nutrients that are key to healthy hair growth include zinc, copper, biotin, essential fatty acids, collagen, vitamin C, A, E and B group vitamins. Ensuring that your diet is rich in these nutrients will support hair growth. If you are in the period of active hair loss, then supplemental support is recommended to really boost your nutrient intake. Be aware though, that too much supplementation may lead to hair thinning. Always consult with your naturopath to get a treatment plan that is specific to your health.
Exposure to toxins such as heavy metals, environmental toxins or mould can cause disturbances in the hair cycle. If you have a sudden onset of hair loss, with no other obvious cause, then testing for toxin exposure is warranted. A supportive detoxification protocol can be developed according to the toxins that you have been exposed to. After this, you can then focus your treatment on supporting the new hair growth cycle so you have your lovely locks back again before you know it.
Long-term low carbohydrate or ketogenic diets
Some people thrive on ketogenic and low carbohydrate diets, whilst others struggle. The mechanism of hair loss is not completely understood with these diets. There are potential links with low carbohydrate diets causing a reduction in thyroid function, which results in disturbance to the hair growth cycle. The other school of thought is that these diets cause a degree of stress on the body, which as mentioned above can cause a wide array of imbalances within the body. This type of hair loss is generally seen 3-6 months after starting the diet and will resolve when nutrient intake is corrected.
Natural Treatment for Female Hair Loss
There are many natural treatments that can help to support a healthy hair growth cycle.
- Iron – deficiency is commonly seen in hair loss
- B vitamins – essential for the growth cycle of hair
- Lysine – supportive to collagen production
- Wild Caught Fish / Fish Oils – nourishes all cells of the body and will encourage healthy hair growth.
- Collagen – the building block of our skin and hair. Look for a marine collagen as this is the most absorbable form to take.
- Rosemary essential oil – when massaged onto the scalp it will increase blood circulation to the hair follicle, encouraging healthier hair growth.
- Liver support – enhances your detoxification ability to rid your body of any toxic exposure.
- Manage stress levels – engaging in yoga, pilates walks or whatever calms you down will have a huge effect on every aspect of your health. There is no right or wrong way to manage your stress, just do what is right for you. Do what feels good.
Things to Avoid for Female Hair Loss
Avoiding processed foods, excess sugar, excess alcohol, stress and environmental toxins will all help to prevent hair loss. Might sound a bit daunting, but by taking small steps to improve your health will pay off in the long run. Start to cut down on the above-mentioned items and before you know it you will have made dramatic improvements to your general health.
As frightening as hair loss can be, the stress of it will further exacerbate the problem. The thought that you might end up bald, or just the frustration of not have the hair you used to have, and having to learn how to manage your thinner hair is a blow to a woman’s self-confidence.
Get the support you need when you know that there is a problem. Knowing that you are respecting your body by giving it all that it needs can help to bring your self-worth back up, even if you don’t achieve a dramatic improvement. By doing this, you will have better energy, happier moods and more vitality, regardless of hair thickness.
Are you ready to take control of your health? Let’s have a chat and see what naturopathic medicine can do for you.