The causes of baldness in women are generally attributed to hormonal changes, genetic reasons and aging. Other situations and conditions that can cause female baldness include skin diseases, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and the use of medications such as chemotherapy drugs. Hair loss can also occur after pregnancy, a serious illness or during extreme stress, but these instances of female hair loss are usually temporary.
Female baldness can occur when a woman undergoes hormonal changes. This is more common as a woman reaches menopause and experiences an increase in male hormones. As a result, she might experience thinning hair on her head, also referred to as alopecia, and thicker hair on her face. An increase or decrease in thyroid hormone can also cause changes in hair growth in women.
Female baldness has also been observed in individuals with a history of baldness in the family. The family members may be on one or both sides of the family. If genetic reasons are behind the hair loss, the age in which the problem occurs, the speed in which it progresses and the extent of the hair loss may all be impacted by heredity. It is also believed that a genetic predisposition to hair loss makes it more likely for the individual to experience the problem when triggered by viruses or toxins in the environment.
Hair loss may also occur with certain autoimmune disorders or skin conditions. Diseases that cause inflammation and hair follicle scarring can lead to hair loss. Lichen planus, for example, is a chronic disease affecting the skin, tongue and inside of the mouth. It can result in lesions and rashes that lead to inflammation and scarring of the hair follicles.
Some medications also lead to female baldness. A breast cancer patient, for example, depending on the type of chemotherapy administered, will very likely experience hair loss. Chemotherapy attacks rapidly growing cells in the body and some of those cells are in the hair roots. In most cases, however, the hair grows back as the body regenerates new cells.
Female hair loss can also result from major physical and emotional changes. Pregnancy, surgery, sudden weight gain or loss and extreme illnesses can cause the hair growing process to remain in a resting phase. Similarly, emotional stress resulting from a sudden loss in the family or financial difficulties can cause the hair to stop growing. Extreme deficiencies in biotin and iron may also lead to hair loss. Hair loss caused by these reasons is usually temporary and, in many cases, normal hair growth resumes within a few months after the condition is no longer present.
Some female baldness is caused by excessive hair manipulation and coloring. Too much pulling and brushing of the hair can lead to hair loss, for example, and some chemicals in hair coloring and styling products can cause the hair to fall out. These effects only become permanent if the scalp and hair roots have been permanently damaged. In many cases, eliminating excessive pulling and hair processing allows the hair to grow back.