Hair loss in women: causes and treatments

It’s normal to lose some hair every day. On average, people lose between 50 and 100 individual hairs every day, often without realising. While hair loss is not usually something to be concerned about, it can sometimes be a sign of an underlying condition. 

Thankfully, some of the most common causes of hair loss in women can be easily treated, reducing further shedding and allowing your hair to grow back healthier. Here are some of the most common reasons women experience hair loss and what can be done to help.

Stress and hair loss

Stress can be a big factor in your hair loss, whether it’s physical or mental stress. This means that, for example, the physical stress of being ill and the mental stress of being overworked, can both lead to you losing more hair than usual. 

When our bodies are stressed, they release the stress hormone cortisol. This can affect the hair follicle, the structure which controls hair growth and holds individual hairs. Stress can push your hair follicles into the resting stage of hair growth, which causes them to shrink and release the hairs they hold. This can happen for around three months after a stressful event but can last longer if you continue to experience stress. 

How do you stop stress-related hair loss?

Reducing your stress levels is the best way to reduce the effect that stress has on your hair. This won’t stop hair follicles that have already been affected by shedding hair, but it can help encourage new hair growth.

If you continue to experience hair loss despite feeling less stressed, talk to your GP as your hair loss may be a symptom of another health condition.

Post-pregnancy hair loss

Your body experiences a lot of changes throughout pregnancy, with hormone levels drastically changing. Once you’ve given birth, you may find that you see a lot more shedding of your hair than usual. This is due to further hormonal changes but also the stress of childbirth.

Hair loss after pregnancy is very common and is usually temporary. As your body recovers following your pregnancy, your hair will stop shedding so dramatically and grow back as normal.

How do you stop pregnancy-related hair loss?

There is no way to stop pregnancy-related hair loss as your body simply needs time to recover and rebalance your hormones. However, taking supplements to strengthen your hair may help with stronger regrowth.

Talk to your GP before taking supplements after pregnancy, especially if you are breastfeeding.

Weight loss and hair loss

Losing a lot of weight in a short space of time can cause hair loss, as well as weakened hair. Even if your weight loss is a good thing for your general health, it can put a lot of stress on your body, which causes hair shedding.

If you have lost weight because you are not eating well, vitamin and nutrient deficiencies could also be affecting your hair.

Usually, once your weight has stabilised and you are not losing it at such a fast rate, your hair loss will reduce and you’ll see new hair growth.

How do you stop weight loss-related hair loss?

Hair loss after weight loss is a natural response and is generally nothing to be worried about unless there is an underlying cause for your sudden weight loss. Ensuring you are eating well and getting enough vitamins and minerals will help your hair growth return to normal.

Polycystic ovary syndrome and hair loss

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common condition that affects one in five women in the UK. The condition is caused by the balance of female and male hormones being disrupted, which can affect reproductive health and can cause acne, excess facial or body hair and hair loss.

As well as causing thinning hair, PCOS can also lead to weight gain, ovarian cysts and changes to your period. If you experience multiple symptoms of PCOS, see your GP. 

How do you stop PCOS-related hair loss?

As hair loss caused by PCOS is due to a hormone imbalance, this imbalance needs to be treated to resolve any hair loss. Your GP will be able to tell you the best course of action, but often treatment includes birth control pills, changes to your diet, exercise and medications. 

Other health conditions and hair loss

As well as PCOS, there are several other health conditions that can cause hair loss. Thyroid conditions, lupus, alopecia areata and cancer can all cause thinning hair, so it is important to talk to your GP about your hair concerns if you suddenly experience a lot of shedding. 

If your hair loss is caused by a health condition, treating that condition can often help to reduce hair thinning. Your GP will be able to give you more information once your condition has been diagnosed and plan a course of treatment. 

Author Information

Cahoot Care Marketing

Niched in the care sector, Cahoot Care Marketing offers a full range of marketing services for care businesses including: SEO, social media, websites and video marketing, specialising in copywriting and content marketing.

Over the last five years Cahoot Care Marketing has built an experienced team of writers and editors, with broad and deep expertise on a range of care topics. They provide a responsive, efficient and comprehensive service, ensuring content is on brand and in line with relevant medical guidelines.

Their writers and editors include care sector workers, healthcare copywriting specialists and NHS trainers, who thoroughly research all topics using reputable sources including the NHS, NICE, relevant Royal Colleges and medical associations.

The Spire Content Hub project was managed by:

Lux Fatimathas, Editor and Project Manager

Lux has a BSc(Hons) in Neuroscience from UCL, a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and experience as a postdoctoral researcher in developmental biology. She has a clear and extensive understanding of the biological and medical sciences.Having worked in scientific publishing for BioMed Central and as a writer for the UK’s Medical Research Council and the National University of Singapore, she is able to clearly communicate complex concepts.

Alfie Jones, Director — Cahoot Care Marketing

Alfie has a creative writing degree from UCF and initially worked as a carer before supporting his family’s care training business with copywriting and general marketing.He has worked in content marketing and the care sector for over 10 years and overseen a diverse range of care content projects, building a strong team of specialist writers and marketing creatives after founding Cahoot in 2016.