Unlike male balding which is usually caused by genetics and age, female hair loss commonly occurs at any age. Women also lose hair differently than men. Most women with hair loss retain their original hair line and experience an overall thinning of the hair. This is known as female pattern baldness. There are actually three main types of female hair loss distinguished by the cause of hair loss and how the hair loss occurs.

Female Androgenetic Alopecia

The most common type of female hair loss is called Female Androgenetic Alopecia. This type of female hair loss is caused by changes in hormonal levels. Menopause is a time of significant hormonal changes in the female body that can have many effects including hair loss. Female Androgenetic Alopecia can also occur after child birth and after starting or stopping birth control.

Female Androgenetic Alopecia is generally characterized by an overall thinning of the hair. When hairs fall out, as a natural part of the hair growth cycle, they start to be replaced by increasingly thinner, shorter hairs. As more and more healthy hairs are replaced by thinner, shorter hairs an overall thinning starts to become noticeable.

Female Telogen Effluvium

Telogen Effluvium is the second most common type of female hair loss. This type of hair loss usually occurs after some kind of stressful event on the body. Three to six months after child birth some women notice excess shedding and decreased hair growth. Hormonal imbalances such as hypothyroidism can often cause hair loss in women due to the stress it puts on the body. There are also nutritional factors that can lead to hair loss. Women who go on crash diets can sometimes see excess shedding. Certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies also lead to hair loss. Acute and infectious illness can put a strain on the body and send hair into a resting phase causing hair loss.

Factors like child birth can cause sudden hormonal changes and be an enormous shock to the female body. When the female body undergoes this sort of trauma hair can go into a resting phase. A larger number of hairs will begin to shed than normal and patches of thinning will begin to become visible.

Alopecia Areata

The third most common type of female hair loss is Alopecia Areata. The cause is not completely understood but it is often thought to be an autoimmune response from the body. For some reason the body starts to perceive hair follicles as foreign objects and tries to purged them from the system. Thyroid disease can also trigger this type of hair loss in women.

Women with Alopecia Areata notice a sudden onset of shedding that usually occurs first in small spots. These spots can have short, broken off hairs or can be completely bald. Alopecia Areata can range from small spots to severe baldness covering the entire head.