Noticing more hairs on your pillow, in your shower drain, or in your hair brush? Don’t panic! There are many factors that can be contributing to your hair loss, such as stress, vitamin and mineral deficiency, hormonal imbalances, thyroid issues, or autoimmune diseases. Let’s discuss :-)
Hair loss caused by stress is called telogen effluvium. The stress pushes large numbers of hair follicles into a resting phase. Within a few months of the stressful event, those hairs begin to fall out. The good news is this is temporary hair loss. When the stress goes away, the hair often grows back without any treatment necessary. Be aware, it may take up to 3 months post stressful event for hair loss to stop.
Vitamin and Mineral Deficiency
Forget the biotin supplements! I clinically have not seen them to be effective for hair growth in women. I do however find deficiencies in zinc, iron, selenium, folate and/or vitamin B12 as a more common cause to hair loss in women. So, for example, if you are a woman with chronic diarrhea or have a heavy menstrual period you may want to consider vitamin and mineral deficiencies as a culprit to your hair loss.
Both an under-active thyroid and an overactive thyroid can can trigger hair loss in women. The thyroid gland aids in the development of new strands of hair at the root and helps maintain a constant supply of new hairs. Other symptoms of thyroid caused hair loss can be dry, brittle hair and hair loss that seems to be across the entire scalp rather than localized in certain areas like “bald spots”. If this is your pattern, checking your TSH, free T4 and free T3 level may be useful to rule out thyroid disease.
Androgenic alopecia is the name for hormonal caused hair loss. We always thought it was testosterone that was the problem but realistically it’s the evil hormone DHT (dihydrotestosterone) that seems to be shrinking hair follicles making it impossible for healthy hair to survive.
Another common hormonal imbalance I see clinically involves the adrenal hormone DHEA. Low levels of DHEA can cause hair loss, but on the flip side, having too much DHEA in your body may also be a cause to hair loss! So, getting your DHEA levels checked is important before supplementing.
Alopecia areata is the name of autoimmune caused hair loss. When you have an autoimmune disease, your immune system attacks your own body. With alopecia areata, it’s the hair follicles that are being attacked. This causes the hair to come out in quarter-sized clumps in only a few spots or a lot of spots depending on the individual.
As you can see, hair loss in women is not a one sized fits all cause. This is a common complaint women have that doesn’t seem to be addressed fully with their conventional medical doctors. If this is a concern of yours that has been overlooked by your primary care physician you may want to consider seeing a Naturopathic Doctor. Naturopathic Doctors are the leaders in “thinking outside of the box” and are committed to getting to the root cause of any condition.