Understanding Alopecia – Causes and Treatment

You see that you're losing tremendous amount of hair and this worry you too much. You think you're healthy and the hair loss just freaks you out. What gives? At some point of every individual's lives, hair loss is most likely to occur. Hair loss or alopecia occurs to both genders. Alopecia, for those unacquainted with it, is the widely-used medical term to describe hair loss in women. However, alopecia can be further differentiated into two more medical conditions which are alopecia areata and androgenic alopecia.

What do you think are the causes of alopecia? A less commonly-known cause of alopecia is the fluctuations in the female hormone estrogen which is acknowledged to contribute to lush hair growth. Women who are close to their menopausal years may find that their estrogen levels tend to fall at this time, so their hair does not grow out in the same volume as in previous years. Actually, it is quite difficult to make the distinction between alopecia caused by heightened testosterone levels and alopecia triggered by a drop in estrogen levels because they have almost the same symptoms.

There are actually 2 identifying state undering in alopecia and both are worth considering for:

1. Alopecia areata

This is caused by a malfunctioning immune system that tends to target your hair follicles. The main symptom of this type of hair loss is losing hair in patches around the scalp. This type of alopecia is rather unstable because sometimes the hair will grow back again even without medical attention, while in other cases the hair loss is permanent and may even progress further. One source attributes alopecia areata to an under-functioning thyroid gland that has also been targeted by the immune system. The problem is, even when the thyroid has been properly trated that will not bring back your lost hair.

2. Androgenic alopecia

This second sub-condition is caused by malfunctioning hormones and happens to occur quite commonly nowdays – one estimate places incidence at 20% of the entire female population. It is attributed to the overproduction of the androgenic hormone called testosterone which usually is produced in large quantities in male bodies but not to a very significant degree in women under normal conditions. When there is too much testosterone in men, they start to lose hair on their scalp but grow more hair on their bodies, for some strange reason. Women who have too much testosterone may find themselves losing hair on their scalp, growing facial hair and body hair to an alarming degree, and experiencing an outbreak of acne because their skin produces to the heightened testosterone levels.

Regardless of what causes alopecia or hair loss in women or to what degree, it is very traumatizing for women anyway because the hair on a woman's scalp is her crowning glory. A plain-looking woman with healthy hair can seem more beautiful than a pretty woman who is balding. That is why, when women start seeing the symptoms of alopecia on their heads, they will probably try to seek medical help as soon as possible.

If you do seek medical attention, your doctor may ask for a wait and see period to check if you are simply going through a phase where you experience a faster degree of shedding of hair (called telogen effluvium), or are really suffering from alopecia. Your doctor may prescribe certain treatments that aim to increase hair growth in your scalp again. One is to lower testosterone levels by consumption of oral contraceptives. Another is to take medicines that can halt the production of testosterone. Washing your scalp with a hair re-growth solution minoxidil is a third option. But bear in mind that all treatments have their own special effects so you need to be cautious about pursuing any hair re-growth program, particularly if you are pregnant.