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Causes Of Baldness In Women — an article on the Smart Living Network
May 15, 2008 at 2:40 PMComments: 1 Faves: 0

Causes Of Baldness In Women


Baldness is a fairly common ailment in men, but less so in women. This is most likely because approximately 95% of baldness cases are the result of androgenetic alopecia, a hormonally based condition which has greater potential for male baldness from their unique hair follicle patterns. Despite women's apparent protection from androgenetic alopecia, many women exhibit hair loss, caused by a number of different things.

Autoimmune Conditions

Follicles and the hairs within them are more delicate than most cells in the body. As a result, they are very sensitive to the power of the immune system. Some people suffer from autoimmune diseases, which mean their immune systems attack their own cells as foreign objects. Several autoimmune diseases can cause the destruction of hair follicles and subsequent hair loss.

Genetics and Hormones

As mentioned early, androgenetic alopecia causes hair loss from hormonal destruction of the hair follicles. The hormone testosterone is converted into dihydrotestosterone (DHT) by an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase. DHT binds to androgen receptors on hair follicles, causing the follicle to become narrow and the hairs growing from it to be finer. Eventually the hair follicle becomes so narrow that hair cannot grow from it.

Chemical or Radiation Exposure

Anagen effluvium causes sudden and usually widespread hair loss. It results when hair follicles are exposed to excessive amounts of chemicals or radiation, the most common source being those used for treating cancer. Hair follicles are especially sensitive to cancer treatments because most treatments target rapidly dividing cells. Unfortunately, both tumors and hair follicles are composed of rapidly dividing cells. However, most patients who experience anagen effluvium can expect hair to fully grow back, sometimes even with a different texture or color.


A seemingly preventable form of hair loss occurs in those with self-induced hair loss. A psychological condition called Trichotillomania is characterized by the constant pulling out or plucking of hair, most often during sedentary activities. While children or adolescents with this condition usually grow out of the habit, the prognosis is less hopeful for adults. Traction alopecia is another form of self-induced hair loss, caused by continuous and excessive pulling of hair. This occurs most often when women wear very tight hairstyles like cornrow braids, buns, or ponytails. Most hair lost in this fashion will grow back once the hairstyle is discontinued.


Infections can cause hair to fall out for several reasons. Tinea capitus, more commonly known as ringworm, can cause damage to hair follicles as the fungus makes the skin its home, resulting in hair loss and the formation of pink and scaly skin. Usually after this fungal infection goes away the skin will heal and new hair follicles will form. High fevers, usually associated with viral infections, can also cause hair loss. This is most likely due to the high activity of the immune system during an infection. Similar to autoimmune diseases, hair follicles can be easily damaged by the effects of the immune system. Follicles that are damaged during an infection will often go into a resting state, fall out a few weeks later, and then re-grow when the infection is cleared.

[sniplet Hair Loss-HairMax MD for Women]


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1 Comment

  • Thank you for this article. Very informative! My mother has been losing her hair more and more lately and we are constantly looking for more information as to why this is happening.

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