When men lose their hair it is looked upon as a natural consequence of aging. For women, the loss of hair can be a source of significant embarrassment. Surprisingly, according to the American Hair Loss Association, women make up 40 percent of those who lose their hair. All hair loss, regardless of gender, is a sign that there's something else going on in the body. Hair loss in women can comes in clumps, overall thinning, or rapid shedding.
According to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation, alopecia areata is a fairly common autoimmune disease that causes smooth patches of skin on the scalp and other areas of the body. What's interesting is that the follicles remain viable and that hair growth can resume at any time, regardless of treatment. The body only needs to wait for the signal to start growing hair in that area.
Another form of hair loss that is part of the alopecia family causes what is known as pattern baldness. Andogentic alopecia is developed in women who have a higher than normal content of the andogen hormone, male hormones that are usually only present in women in small amounts. Pregnancy, ovarian cysts and birth control can cause a rise in androgen and can dually affect hair health in women and lead to the female version of pattern baldness, which is less a pattern and more overall thinning of the scalp.
Telogen effluvium is another type of hair loss that affects women. Major traumas in life, such as child birth, major surgery and extreme stress, can cause as much as 90 percent of the hair on the head that is growing and resting to reverse and start shedding. Telogen effluvium can be fairly hard to put a finger on when you start losing your hair, because it happens anywhere from six weeks to three months following the event. Telogen effluvium will generally go into remission as long as the source of the stress or trauma is discovered and controlled.