What is Baldness in Women?
Baldness occurs when hair falls out but new hair does not grow in its place. The cause of the failure to grow new hair in female pattern baldness is not well understood, but it is associated with genetic predisposition, aging, and levels of endocrine hormones (particularly androgens, the male sex hormones). Changes in the levels of androgens can affect hair production. For example, after the hormonal changes of menopause, many women find that the hair on the head is thinned, while facial hair is coarser. Although new hair is not produced, follicles remain alive, suggesting the possibility of new hair growth.
What are the Symptoms of Baldness in Women?
For women, hair loss, especially when it is sudden, can often be very traumatising. Unlike male pattern baldness, which manifests as a slow spread of the bald area across the scalp or temples over a number of years, when women are afflicted by baldness it tends to strike suddenly. This can lead to loss of confidence, stress and even depression.
What are the Causes of Baldness in Women?
The specific cause of alopecia areata is unknown. A family history of alopecia is present in about a fifth of all cases. It is occasionally associated with auto-immune diseases. What is known is that it is not a nervous disorder. The myth that stress can cause all your hair to fall out is simply that a myth. Current research suggests that something triggers the immune system to suppress the hair follicle. It isn’t known what this trigger is, nor is it known whether it comes from outside the body like a virus, or from within. Recent research indicates that some persons have genetic markers that may increase their susceptibility to develop alopecia areata. Alopecia areata often occurs in families whose members have had asthma, hay fever, atopic eczema, or other auto-immune diseases such as thyroid disease, early-onset diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus erythematosus, vitiligo, pernicious anaemia, or Addison’s disease.
Traditional Medical Treatments for Baldness in Women
No matter how widespread the hair loss, the hair follicles remain alive and are ready to resume normal hair production whenever they receive the appropriate signal. In all cases, hair regrowth may occur even without treatment and even after many years. Alopecia areata is not medically disabling; women and men with alopecia areata are usually in excellent health. But emotionally alopecia can be very challenging, especially for those with extensive hair loss or for young children. Sometimes professional counselling is needed to develop one’s self-confidence and positive self-image. Sadly, there is no known method of prevention. Cortisone or steroid injections have been known to produce modest hair regrowth in some patients, but new bald patches may occur at any time. Alopecia is a disorder that patients learn to live with
Complementary/Alternative Treatments for Baldness in Women
Scalp Massage stimulates blood flow, which in turn helps feed the hair follicles. Nourishment is sent to the capillary vessels in hair papillae to activate the hair cells. Often it helps to prevent and fight avoidable hair loss, and re-establish the natural development of healthy hair. A randomized clinical trial of patients with bald patches on their scalp or skin showed a daily scalp massage with essential oils to be a safe and effective treatment for hair loss resulting from alopecia areata, a condition in which damage to hair follicles is caused by the patient’s own immune system.