A fistful of hair in the shower would alarm most women since female hair loss is generally rare. If your girlfriend has noticed an increase in hairs shed in her brush, on her shirt or in the shower drain, she likely feels worried and stressed. Stay supportive and encouraging as you work together to find the cause of it.
The most common form of hair loss in both men and women is called androgenetic alopecia, or pattern baldness. Age, heredity and testosterone factor into pattern baldness. Women over 30 may begin to see thinning hair all over the scalp, but their hairline usually doesn’t recede. Postmenopausal women generally produce more testosterone than before menopause, which may result in increased hair loss. Although pattern baldness is permanent, your girlfriend’s doctor may recommend some possible treatments after making the diagnosis, encourages Columbia University Health Services.
Another common form of hair loss, telogen effluvium, results from severe or sudden stress or physical trauma. If your girlfriend has recently given birth, had a major surgery, recovered from a serious illness or lost a job, her body may respond by shedding handfuls of hair. The University of Maryland reports that telogen effluvium may cause up to 75 percent of the hair on the scalp to fall out, and it may occur several weeks or months after the stressful event. Fortunately, this cause of hair loss is temporary and the shedding should decrease within six to eight months.
Not all hair loss indicates a cause for concern. Hair grows in a cycle in which about 90 percent of the individual hairs on the scalp grow while the other 10 percent rest and fall out. Losing approximately 50 to 100 hairs a day is normal, assures the Ohio State University Medical Center.
Many temporary forms of hair loss are avoidable. If your girlfriend washes her hair excessively, uses a lot of heat when styling it or pulls it back in tight hairstyles, she may cause damage that will lead to hair breaking mid-strand. If she often touches, rubs or twirls her hair absent-mindedly, those habits can cause damage to her hair. Also, she can avoid or offset many of the forms of stress that can trigger telogen effluvium. Encourage your girlfriend to wear her hair down and natural, and help her to find ways to relax.
Myths about hair loss abound. However, poor scalp circulation, dandruff and vitamin deficiencies do not cause hair loss, according to the Ohio State University Medical Center. If your girlfriend likes to wear hats, let her--that doesn’t cause hair loss either.
If your girlfriend is losing excessive amounts of hair, she should see her doctor to discuss the cause of it. Certain autoimmune deficiencies, such as lupus, and other medical conditions, including diabetes and thyroid disease, may cause hair loss among other symptoms, warns Columbia University Health Services.