Diagnosing Hair Loss In Women

Although hair loss is usually associated with men, it is a very real problem for millions of women.  The causes can be anything from heredity to medical conditions.  It can start early, in the teens but usually presents itself when a woman is in her 50s and 60s.  What causes hair loss and what are the early symptoms of hair loss in women?

Stages of Hair Growth

Hair grows in cycles where it is actively growing, it is transitioning or it is resting.  The three cycles are:

  • Anagen – this is the cycle where hair is actively growing.  It is the growth phase.  90% of the hair is usually in this stage.
  • Catagen – this is the transitioning phase it will last approximately two weeks.  The hair follicles shrink during this phase.
  • Telogen – also called the resting phase.  The hair doesn’t grow in this phase. 10% of the hair is in the cartagen and telogen cycles at a time.

Signs of Hair Loss in Women

It is common to lose hair from the head every day.  Usually about 150 hairs are lost in one day.  When you shower you could lose 250 strands of hair.  It is when you begin to notice more hair loss that you should consider seeing a professional.  You aren’t expected to count the strands you lose each day.  If you begin to notice more than normal hair loss during combing or brushing when you aren’t actively pulling the hair or if you notice hair on your pillow in the morning, you could be suffering from abnormal hair loss.

Diagnosing Hair Loss in Women

When you see a professional because you feel there is a problem with hair loss, the doctor will take blood tests to rule out certain causes such as autoimmune disease or thyroid disease.  Both of these diseases will cause hair loss in women.

Another way the medical professional will diagnose hair loss is by looking and listening to the patient.  30 million women suffer from hair loss that is hereditary.  They probably inherited it from their mother, grandmother or even an aunt.  Nearly 50% of women will experience hereditary causes of hair loss.  As old hair is replaced by new hair, the new hair will be finer than the normal hair.  This will result in the hair not growing as time goes by.

Medical Conditions that Are Known to Cause Hair Loss

Thyroid disorders, anemia and even pregnancy can result in hair loss in women.  There are several other causes as well.   Such things as autoimmune diseases and skin conditions like psoriasis and dermatitis have also been known to cause hair loss.  Even such things as severe stress can be at fault.  It is not uncommon for a woman who has suffered because of a death in the family from losing strands of hair to the point of it being a problem.  Even weight loss that occurs too rapidly has been blamed for hair loss.


There really are no cures for hair loss.  In some cases there are treatments which will sometimes help with hair loss.  There are even cases of the hair growing back on its own.  One of the best medications is Minoxidil.