What Causes Sudden Hair Loss in Women?

Autumn Rivers

Sudden hair loss in women can be alarming to those experiencing it, but it can usually be treated once the cause is known. One of the most common causes of this condition is malnutrition, which is often related to crash diets and eating disorders. Many medications can also cause excess shedding of the hair, but fortunately it usually stops once the medication is eliminated from the daily routine. Other medical conditions can also cause sudden hair loss in women, such as Lupus, thyroid issues, and stress.

There are many medications that may cause hair loss in women.
There are many medications that may cause hair loss in women.

Many women take part in crash diets in an effort to lose weight quickly. Unfortunately, this kind of diet usually only leads to temporary weight loss and several medical issues, like a deficiency in certain vitamins, cause hair to fall out over time. It should not be surprising that eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia also lead to these health issues, as a good diet is important when it comes to keeping a healthy head of hair. Some people eat healthily, but still lack the right amount of iron in their bodies, leading to anemia, which can cause hair loss. In such cases, vitamin supplements may keep hair from falling out.

Malnutrition is a common cause of hair loss in women.
Malnutrition is a common cause of hair loss in women.

Some medications can lead to sudden hair loss in women, but the good news is that the hair often comes back gradually when the drugs are discontinued. Medications that thin the blood, alter the mood, lower cholesterol, or prevent seizures are all known to occasionally cause sudden hair loss in women. Treatment for gout, abnormal blood pressure, inflammation, thyroid issues, and cancer all tend to have the same effect of causing hair loss. Illegal drugs, oral contraceptives, diet pills, and even some vitamin supplements, such as vitamin A, can also cause hair to fall out in some women. Females who notice this side effect may be able to request a different drug from their doctor in order to prevent hair loss.

Women may experience hair loss when post-menopausal.
Women may experience hair loss when post-menopausal.

One of the most common causes of sudden hair loss in women is stress or shock, both physical and emotional. For this reason, the post-partum and post-menopausal time periods may be accompanied by hair loss, as can the time after surgery, a death in the family, a period of serious illness, or any other type of shock to the mind or body. Hair loss in any of these cases is referred to as telegen effluvium, which is a change in the usual hair cycle that leads to hair falling out and then growing back months later. Additionally, a serious illness itself may include sudden hair loss in women as a main side effect. For example, lupus, thyroid problems, and diabetes are all known for having hair loss as a side effect in some patients.

Thyroid issues can cause sudden hair loss in women.
Thyroid issues can cause sudden hair loss in women.
Women with cancer might lose their hair when going through chemotherapy treatments.
Women with cancer might lose their hair when going through chemotherapy treatments.
Oral contraceptive pills can sometimes cause hair loss in women.
Oral contraceptive pills can sometimes cause hair loss in women.

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