Causes of hair loss in women

, medical expert
Last reviewed: 11.04.2020

All iLive content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable media sites, academic research institutions and, whenever possible, medically peer reviewed studies. Note that the numbers in parentheses ([1], [2], etc.) are clickable links to these studies.

If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate, out-of-date, or otherwise questionable, please select it and press Ctrl + Enter.

All processes occurring in the body have a causal relationship. To date, more than 50 causes of hair loss in women. The main ones are heredity and factors not related to genetic predisposition. All causes are divided into internal and external, consider them:


  • The impact of high and low temperatures - this category includes the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation, freezing, weathering and other weather factors.
  • Incorrect care - lack of hygiene measures (washing, combing, drying), as well as exposure to the scalp of chemical and other corrosive substances leads to a breakdown in the structure of the curls and their loss.
  • Unbalanced nutrition - if the body does not receive the full amount of nutrients necessary for its normal growth and functioning, then it begins to ache. This applies to the hair. Rational nutrition, rich in vitamin nutrition, has a positive effect on overall well-being and hair condition.
  • Violation of the regime of the day - the lack of physical activity negatively affects the metabolism and circulation of the whole body, including the layers of the scalp. Regular sports combined with a full rest provide good health and a healthy appearance.
  • Bad habits - cigarette smoke makes the curls brittle and gives them an unpleasant smell, the scalp loses its elasticity. Alcohol destructively affects the functioning of the entire body.


  • Dermatological pathologies - diseases of fungal, bacterial or viral etiology are very often accompanied by increased hair loss. In this case, the more neglected the disease, the worse the condition of the head of hear.
  • Disorders from the musculoskeletal system (upper spine) - with osteochondrosis of the cervical region, there is a disruption of communication between the blood vessels and nerve fibers that keep the head in contact with the rest of the body and transport oxygen and other nutrients to the scalp.
  • Endocrine diseases - hormonal failures of varying intensity disrupt the physiological state of the hair and the whole body. With intensive baldness, patients are recommended to check the condition of the thyroid gland and adrenal glands.
  • Diseases of the gastrointestinal tract - due to violations in the functioning of the stomach and intestines, the body loses useful substances and can not fully absorb them. Failures in the work of the liver and gall bladder are manifested by high fatty curls, baldness in the region of the crown and temples.
  • Kidney diseases - lead to a violation of water-salt balance in the body. Because of this, the strands look fat or vice versa dry and lifeless. And the first and second case leads to the death of hair follicles.
  • Disorders from the central nervous system - stresses, nervous experiences, emotional shocks, depressive states and other factors, adversely affect the condition of the curls and can provoke their profuse loss.

To determine the true cause of baldness in women, you should consult a trichologist and go through a set of doctor-appointed examinations.

Thyroid gland, adrenal glands and hair loss in women

Hormonal changes in the body - this is one of the causes of hair loss in women. Disorders of the endocrine system are most often associated with diseases of the thyroid gland or adrenal glands. Each of the conditions requires careful diagnosis and treatment.

  1. Thyroid

It is the organ of the endocrine system, which is located under the larynx and in front of the trachea. It consists of the left and right lobes, connected by an isthmus. The gland produces thyroid hormones and regulates the basic metabolic functions. Responsible for the normal operation of the central nervous system, the growth of bones, the development of the reproductive system. It also affects the condition of the epidermis, hair and nails.

With a deficiency or excess of hormones thyroid, there is a disturbance in the growth of vegetation. Follicles gradually atrophy, which leads to hair loss. The pathological condition can be caused by such factors:

  • Diffuse goiter.
  • Oncological lesions of the thyroid gland.
  • Reduced function of the organ.
  • Autoimmune thyroiditis.
  • Thyroiditis with increased secretion of thyroxine.

In addition to loss of curls, violations of the thyroid gland are accompanied by such symptoms:

  • Sharp weight gain.
  • Dryness of the skin.
  • Irritability.
  • Increased fatigue.
  • Problems with sleep.
  • Increased sweating.
  • Nail dystrophy.
  • Tremor of fingers.
  • Hyperthermia.

The inadequacy of thyroid hormones slows down all processes in the body, including the growth of hair follicles. Thinning of the hair is most evident on the back of the neck and in the forehead. Treatment consists of hormone replacement therapy, which contributes to the gradual emergence of curls and the elimination of concomitant pathological symptoms.

  1. Adrenal glands

These are paired endocrine glands that are located above the upper part of the kidneys. They participate in the regulation of metabolism and produce hormones. The adrenal glands produce androgen and progesterone.

If a woman has a high concentration of androgen and a decreased level of estrogen, then this leads to alopecia. When hormones change in the male side, there is an increase in the vegetation on the face and other parts of the body.

There are such main causes of disruption of the adrenal gland:

  • Frequent stress and emotional shocks.
  • Increased cortisone production.
  • Autoimmune diseases.
  • Tumor lesions of the adrenal glands.
  • Secondary adrenal insufficiency.

Hormonal imbalance affects negatively not only the condition of the hairstyle, but also the functioning of the entire body. Treatment is aimed at restoring the normal work of the adrenal glands. Therapy is long and consists of hormonal preparations.

Hormones that affect hair loss in women

Changes in the endocrine system - this is one of the causes of increased hair loss in women. Pathological effects on the skin and vegetation have an imbalance of sex hormones, which are ways to cause alopecia.

The female body contains both female and male sex hormones. Alopecia and excess vegetation are more associated with the work of estrogens, androgens and progesterone.

  1. Estrogens - a violation of the level of this hormone contributes to the appearance of the first signs of aging. Changes affect not only the condition of the head of hear, but also the state of the epidermis, the outlines of the body and overall well-being.
  2. Androgens - male hormones, affect the work of the ovaries, bone and muscle tissue, sweat glands and hair follicles. The increased content of androgens causes hair loss on the head and the appearance of undesirable vegetation on other parts of the body.
  3. Progesterone is a sex hormone that affects pregnancy, menstrual cycle and embryonic development. The concentration of this substance increases during the gestation of the child and is restored after childbirth. Because of a jump in the level of the hormone, there is a temporary loss of curls.
  4. Thyrotropic hormones - are produced by the thyroid gland, affect the growth of tissues and metabolic processes in the body. Increase the survival of hair follicles, regulate the cell cycle of bulbs.

There are many reasons that cause an imbalance of hormones that affect hair loss in women. The main ones are:

  • Hormonal contraceptives - similar preparations contain in their composition estrogens, which suppress male sex hormones. After stopping the medication, the hormonal system is restored. In addition, some contraceptives, in addition to preventing unwanted pregnancies, suppress the growth of hair follicles, thereby causing alopecia.
  • Pregnancy - during this period there is an increased production of progesterone, which blocks dihydrotestosterone (hormone alopecia). The life cycle of the follicles and their intensive growth are increasing.
  • Postpartum period - an imbalance develops due to attempts of the body to normalize the increased level of progesterone. Hair fade, become brittle and dry, drop out. As soon as the level of hormones comes back to normal, the pathological process stops.
  • Dysfunction of the thyroid gland and adrenal glands - due to the inability of the body to produce hormones in the required amount, there is a violation of metabolic processes. The imbalance of vitamins and other nutrients necessary for normal nutrition and bulb growth leads to their dying and baldness.
  • Menopause is a physiological process of extinction of ovarian function. Decreased estrogen leads to baldness in women.
  • Stresses - chronic nervous overstrain and emotional shocks, sleep and rest disturbances, fatigue, lead to an increase in the level of cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that affects the amount of dihydrotestosterone. As a rule, from the moment of a stressful situation to a visible problem with a hairdo, it takes about two months.

The loss of curls caused by a hormonal failure has a characteristic symptomatology:

  • Abundant fallout of strands occurs in the off-season, that is, the autumn-spring period.
  • If the level of male hormones is increased, the curls become fat, and the skin shows acne and acne. Against this background, the appearance of vegetation above the upper lip and on the chin, the violation of the menstrual cycle, weight gain.
  • Many women note increased irritability, sweating, depressive condition, pressure jumps.

The problem of hormonal disorders and loss of hair on this background, the doctor should be engaged. As a rule, treatment takes place at the gynecologist and trichologist at the same time. If the problem is left to chance, it will lead to its aggravation and development of alopecia.

Prolactin and hair loss in women

Lactotropic protein hormone, the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland, stimulating lactation in the postpartum period is prolactin. Violation of its level leads to the development of hyperprolactinaemia. One of the signs of this problem is baldness. Pathology can occur against the backdrop of hirsutism, that is, when the locks on the head thin out, and on other parts of the body become thicker.

In addition to producing milk, the hormone affects such important processes in the body:

  • Reduces pain sensitivity.
  • Takes part in the formation of the embryo.
  • It stops ovulation.
  • Stimulates the immune system.
  • Normalizes metabolic processes.

Hyperprolactinemia is dangerous because of infertility due to a menstrual cycle. Also there are disorders in the genital area: decreased libido, pain during sexual intercourse and other. Frequent fluctuations of the hormone in adolescence - this is the reason for the delay in sexual development.

Prolactin provokes serious metabolic disorders. It disrupts the secretion of enzymes and amino acids. The increased content of the substance does not allow the normal absorption of calcium in the body, causing osteoporosis at a young age. Lack of calcium - this is one of the causes of alopecia, a violation of the structure, increased brittleness and tarnish ringlets. Vision also worsens, frequent headaches, various mental disorders occur.

Normally, the level of prolactin rises during pregnancy, but there are other causes that cause hormone imbalance. The development of hyperprolactinemia is possible in such cases:

  • Strong stress.
  • Increased physical activity.
  • Taking medications.
  • Diseases of the thyroid gland, kidneys, liver and ovaries.

In order to check the level of prolactin and solve the problem of hair loss, you should consult an endocrinologist. The doctor will prescribe tests that confirm or refute the diagnosis. Timely and correct treatment allows you to restore the balance of prolactin and normalize the growth of curls.

Dihydrotestosterone and hair loss in women

Hair loss is a problem that arises from a variety of factors. Very often, alopecia is associated with hormonal disorders in the body, for example, with an increase in the level of dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This hormone refers to the male hormone and is responsible for puberty, the appearance of secondary sexual characteristics. The substance is produced by the adrenal glands and testicles.

Dihydrotestosterone is also present in the female body. It participates in its normal functioning, performing such functions:

  • Regulates the female libido.
  • Participates in fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolism.
  • Promotes development of bone and muscle system.
  • Regulates the work of the sebaceous glands and sweating.
  • Stimulates the growth of vegetation on the head.

In women, dihydrotestosterone is secreted by the adrenal cortex and ovaries. The substance is responsible for the condition of the epidermis, hair and sexual sphere. The main reason for its excessive production is the tumor lesions of the body, which produce a hormone and polycystic ovaries.

An increase in the level of dihydrotestosterone leads to serious disorders:

  • DHT accumulates in the hair follicles, because of which the curls become fat, brittle and gradually begin to fall out.
  • Hormonal imbalance is reflected in the skin condition: acne and acne, high fat content.
  • Violation of the menstrual cycle leads to the development of amenorrhea and threatens infertility. Endometrial hyperplasia can also be diagnosed.

To exclude dihydrotestosterone as the cause of female baldness and other symptoms of hormonal imbalance, the patient is assigned a set of laboratory tests. Treatment consists of taking hormonal drugs and ovulation stimulants, which restore balance. In particularly severe cases, that is, with detected tumors, surgical intervention is indicated.

trusted-source[1], [2], [3], [4], [5], [6], [7], [8]

Progesterone and hair loss in women

Progesterone is a hormone that is produced in the second half of the menstrual cycle. Deficiency of this substance disrupts the maturation of eggs and the process of ovulation. If the body has an elevated level of estrogen, it extends the first half of menstruation and suppresses the secretion of progesterone. Against this background, women have problems with conception, the condition of hair and skin deteriorates.

Progesterone is produced by the hypothalamus and areas of the cerebral cortex. The lack of a hormone can be associated with damage to the brain structures. There are also other causes of hormonal disorder:

  • Failures in the menstrual cycle.
  • Abortions.
  • Malignant tumors.
  • Diseases of the reproductive system.
  • Pathology of the urinary system.
  • Prolonged use of a number of medications.
  • Increased physical activity.
  • Emotional experiences and stresses.
  • Lack of sleep and poor nutrition.
  • Bad habits.

The above factors threaten a violation of the level of progesterone, which in turn leads to pathological changes in the reproductive apparatus. The condition of the hair deteriorates, its structure becomes thinner, dandruff and focal alopecia appear. Also, there are problems with the gastrointestinal tract, edema of the lower extremities, the increase and soreness of the mammary glands, headaches and emotional instability.

Treatment of pathologies in the development of progesterone is handled by a gynecologist and endocrinologist. After the normalization of the hormonal background, to restore the curls should consult the trichologist. Therapy is long and consists of a vitamin-rich diet, proper hair care and a course of physiotherapy.

Alcohol and hair loss in women

Alcohol-containing beverages impose a negative imprint on the functioning of many organs and systems. Alcohol affects not only the internal state, but also the appearance. Abuse of alcohol leads to the weakening of the hair, contributes to premature aging of the skin.

Daily use of alcoholic drinks causes changes in the nervous system, which in turn leads to such complications:

  • Hair loss.
  • Deterioration of skin condition.
  • Depressive state.
  • Nervousness and irritability.
  • Diseases of internal organs.
  • Violation of the reproductive system.
  • Deterioration of memory and mental abilities.

Alopecia in this case is associated with increased strain on the liver. The body is not able to cope with the processing of large amounts of alcohol and begins to malfunction.

Long-term use of alcohol provokes dehydration and causes a hangover syndrome. Against this background, the amount of water and oxygen in the body is significantly reduced. Because of oxygen starvation cells begin to die, including hair bulbs. The more alcoholic experience, the more pronounced and heavier the consequences.

trusted-source[9], [10], [11], [12], [13]

Smoking and hair loss in women

Nicotine, like other bad habits, negatively affects the functioning of the body. Smoking leads to destruction of the respiratory tract, problems with the cardiovascular system, rapid aging of the skin, yellowing of the enamel of the teeth and deterioration of the hair condition.

Mechanism of exposure to nicotine:

  • Cigarette smoke consists of many chemical components, some of which are toxic.
  • Smoke adversely affects blood circulation in the body and causes vasospasm, disrupting blood circulation in the hair follicles. This entails a failure of the normal growth cycle and loss of strands.
  • Roots do not receive enough oxygen and useful substances, so the hairs become dry, brittle and gradually die.
  • Smoking significantly slows down the growth of the curls due to the hard work of the endocrine glands.
  • A bad habit affects the functioning of the thyroid gland, the immune system and other body structures, a violation in the work of which can lead to alopecia.

To restore the beauty and density of hair, you should stop smoking. This is the only condition for eliminating the problem of alopecia. To activate hair growth, you need to regularly take vitamins and minerals, especially calcium. Head massage, nutritious and firming masks accelerate the growth of curls and their density. A healthy lifestyle and physical activity improves the condition of not only the hair, but the whole body.

Psychological causes of hair loss in women

A fairly common cause of deterioration in overall well-being and loss of locks in women is a psychological problem. In some cases, they are covered by signs of hormonal disorders and more serious diseases.

Consider the main psychological factors that negatively affect the state of hair and health in general:

  1. Emotional fatigue - arises because of the emotions that overflow the life, most often negative. It leads to poor growth and accelerated loss of strands, their increased fragility and dryness. In especially severe cases, dandruff and other dermatological problems occur with the scalp.
  2. Chronic fatigue is the second most popular cause of alopecia. The body is in a state of constant stress, trying to protect itself from the effects of negative environmental factors. Attempts to sleep do not improve the morbid condition. Only adherence to the working and rest regime is able to restore good health.
  3. Reduced stress resistance - affects the normal growth of follicles and their strength. Most often, this problem occurs against the backdrop of internal conflict, self-doubt, shyness, and squeeze. Women suffer from the characteristics of their emotional background. If you let the morbid condition into its own right, it threatens the development of depression, apathy, emotional lability, and other disorders.
  4. Depressive state - arises from a variety of causes and factors, can last for years. Promotes changes in the density and structure of the curls, leads to their loss. During the period of depression due to changes in the hormonal background, a woman begins to consume a lot of carbohydrate-rich foods or, on the contrary, reduces food to a minimum. Deficiency of nutrients adversely affects the condition of the whole organism.

In addition to the above, there are many other psychological causes of baldness. Timely response to signs of a painful condition and changing habits can avoid complications. In especially difficult cases, the help of a psychologist and treatment with a trichologist are required to restore the beauty and health of the head of hear.

Translation Disclaimer: For the convenience of users of the iLive portal this article has been translated into the current language, but has not yet been verified by a native speaker who has the necessary qualifications for this. In this regard, we warn you that the translation of this article may be incorrect, may contain lexical, syntactic and grammatical errors.

You are reporting a typo in the following text:
Simply click the "Send typo report" button to complete the report. You can also include a comment.