Hair Loss: A Common Female Health Concern

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Did you know that hair loss is a common female health concern.  This is something that I find many women that seek my help for the first time are struggling with.

Normally we should lose about 100-150 strands of hair a day.  Some women notice that the number of hairs they are shedding gradually increases to an amount that is not typical for them.  Other women notice their hair volume feels less, or thinner, than in the past.

The clinical term for an alteration in the hair cycle, leading to excess shedding is known as Telogen effluvium.  The causes of this state include excess emotional or physical stress, hypothyroidism, dieting or malnutrition, anemia, adverse effect from some pharmaceutical drugs and chronic illness.  Having a diagnosis of telogen effluvium does not necessarily lead to an effective hair loss prevention pill.

Many women wonder if taking vitamins will help slow the progression or prevent hair loss.  However, most women need an individualized approach to find an effective solution.

Here’s a review of why digging deep and getting to the fundamentals of health is the best way to cure, reverse and address this concern.

  1. Emotional or Physical Stress 
    • Hi, I’m a North American Woman.  I’m certain we’ve met.  You, know… I’m the multi-tasking juggernaut.  I got 99 daily duties and a bubble bath ain’t one.
    • The daily demands that women face are at an all time high.  The emotional and physical stress this puts on our bodies can alter our body chemistry, the way we absorb nutrients and the balance of our physiology.  This has many inward implications with regard to health, and an outward expression of that can be hair loss.
  2. Hypothyroidism
    • An underactive thyroid can result in increased hair loss.  However, women who have not been diagnosed with a thyroid condition, or who have normal thyroid tests, can also experience hair loss related to thyroid health and function.  There are many effective non-prescription options for thyroid support.
  3. Dieting, Malnutrition, Anemia
    • A deficiency in the amount of nutrients taken up by the body can cause structural components, like hair and nails, to become weak.  When calories are restricted, this can lead to a reduction of the supply of the essential building blocks required for hair structure.
    • Anemia can be a symptom of poor nutrient absorption due to poor digestive function.  Women with poor nutrient uptake can also lack the essential building blocks for hair structure.
  4. Pharmaceutical Drugs
    • Certain prescribed and over the counter (OTC) medications can cause hair loss as a side effect.  If you are required to take a prescription medication due to a health concern, there are often natural options that can be safely done alongside a prescribed medication to lessen their side effects.  When it comes to OTC medication, consider consulting a Naturopathic Doctor to discuss natural alternatives that can reduce the need for OTCs.
  5. Chronic Illness
    • Many women suffer with chronic health concerns such as arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, migraine headaches, skin conditions and/or allergies.  Did you know that the root cause of these illnesses can also be the cause of hair loss.  Tackling a chronic health concern may seem daunting, but there are ways to help optimize health.  Improved hair quality is just one reflection of balanced health.

If you are seeking a non-prescription approach to improving the quality of your hair, or if you have any questions or would like more information about this topic, feel free to email me at drlaura@winhealth.ca.

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