Health And Wellness

15 Unexpected Things That Cause Hair Loss In Women

Photo: Nina Buday / Shutterstock
woman checking hair in the mirror

I remember when I dealt with thinning hair. It was at a time in my life when everything was going crazy. My financial struggles were horrible, my social life died, and anything that could go wrong did go wrong.

One day, I looked in the mirror and noticed that my hair had decided to walk away without me. It was as thin as a sheet! I wondered what causes hair loss in women. And as you could imagine, I was not pleased with my thinning hair.

Having given up all hope of normalcy, I cried. Eventually, things got better and my hair returned to its normal crazy thickness. It was then that I realized that I lose hair when I’m stressed. I’m not alone.

RELATED: The Stress Of My Divorce Is Literally Making Me Lose My Hair

There are many causes of hair loss in women and men alike. Here are some of the more important ones to note.

Here are fifteen unexpected things that cause hair loss in women: 

1. It could be a protein deficiency.

Changed your diet lately? It could be what’s harming your hair. A common complaint among people who are new to veganism is hair loss — and believe it or not, there’s a scientific reason behind it. Protein deficiency is one of the most common dietary causes of hair loss.

2. You might be anemic.

If you have been feeling lethargic and weak while you have been noticing your hair thinning out, it could be that you have anemia. Anemia is a condition that’s known for low red blood cell count, breathing problems, heart problems, and a pale appearance. Should you feel this could be your issue, it’s best to go to a doctor immediately.

3. You could have a low Vitamin B count.

Vitamin B, the same nutrient found in leafy greens, seafood, and eggs, is vital to hair growth. If you are low in B vitamins, it can cause hair loss.

4. It could be a sign of postpartum hormonal adjustments.

Most people who have been pregnant remember how amazing their hair and nails looked while they were carrying their little ones. If you recently gave birth, the very same hormones that gave you that gleaming head of hair just said goodbye. For some ladies, this can cause serious hair loss. Scary as it can be, it’s usually temporary.

5. Another possibility is that it could be a hereditary issue.

Female pattern baldness, though rare, is possible. (Medical professionals call it androgenetic alopecia if you’re curious.) In most cases, it’s hereditary and hits later in life. If your mom had thin hair that worsened with age, it’s quite likely you will, too.

6. You might also have alopecia areata.

Alopecia areata is a rare autoimmune condition that causes your body to attack your hair follicles in random patches of your skin. This disorder doesn’t cause scarring, but it can cause embarrassment. It usually will resolve itself in a year, but in rarer cases, can be permanent.

7. PCOS can cause hair loss in women, too.

If you have been diagnosed with Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome, this is the most likely cause of your hair loss. PCOS’s hormonal fluctuations often can cause temporary hair loss in women. Thankfully, if you can treat PCOS, your hair will be a lot more plentiful too.

RELATED: How To Make Your Hair Grow Faster

8. Your diet worked a little too well.

Did you just get onto a major diet and watch the pounds melt off? Mazeltov! Great as it may be to fit into a size six again, you might have already noticed that your hair has been a little bit thinner than usual.

Don’t worry. Sudden rapid weight loss is one of the causes of hair loss in women and is temporary. Given time, it’ll grow right back.

9. You’ve been pulling your hair out and it’s gotten out of control.

People with the psychological disorder known as trichotillomania have a compulsive need to pull out their hair as a reaction to stress. Some will remove hair from their eyebrows, others from their scalp. If it gets out of control, you can literally pull most of your hair out without realizing it.

10. Your hair bands have been pulling your hair out.

Too-tight ponytails aren’t good for your hair. It’s common (but oft-overlooked) knowledge that excessively tight braiding, ponytail holders, and up-dos can cause hair loss over time. Medically speaking, this is known as traction alopecia. Loosen your braids and your hair will likely stop falling out.

RELATED: Why Is My Hair Falling Out? 9 Triggers Of Hair Loss In Women (And What To Do About It)

11. You fried your hair.

We all have heard rumors about women who dyed their hair one too many times, permed it, bleached it, blow-dried it, or just otherwise did hair-killing bad stuff too often. Believe it or not, there’s truth to the rumors! You can actually stress your hair follicles out to the point that you start shedding more frequently.

12. Speaking of frying your hair, did you know that you can over-wash your hair too?

If you love baths, grab a shower cap. Frequent hair washing, especially without conditioner, can cause hair loss. Water isn’t good for hair, and that’s no joke. In a typical day, you will lose 50 or so hairs. When you shower, that number jumps up to 250. Enough said.

13. You’re a lot more stressed than you want to admit.

As my personal story has shown, hair loss can be stress-related. Doctors call it telogen effluvium, and it’s reversible. This usually happens six weeks to three months after a major stress, or during times of ongoing stress. All you need to do to get your hair back is lose the stress.

14. You have a thyroid issue.

Both overactive and underactive thyroids can cause hair loss. If you’ve been noticing changes in your energy levels or metabolic changes, you might want to consult a doctor to find out if the hair loss is related to a more serious matter.

15. Summer is arriving.

Dogs shed, cats shed, and yes, humans shed too. During seasonal changes, people tend to lose hair as their bodies adjust to the temperature changes. This might be one of the most common and yet surprising reasons for hair loss in women.

RELATED: What It Really Means When You Dream About Your Hair Falling Out

Ossiana Tepfenhart is a Jack-of-all-trades writer based out of Red Bank, New Jersey.