What causes hair loss in the legs

Hair loss in women

Hair loss in women: causes

There are different forms and causes of hair loss in women. Here you will find the most important:

Hereditary hair loss in women

In most cases, hereditary hair loss in women (and men) is the reason for hair thinning. For a long time it was believed that an excessive production of testosterone (the most important male sex hormone) is the reason for the increased hair loss in the affected women. But this is only the case occasionally, for example with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCO syndrome).

In most women with hereditary hair loss, however, no elevated levels of male sex hormones (androgens) can be detected. Rather, they seem to be triggered by a reduced activity of the enzyme aromatase and a genetic hypersensitivity of the hair follicles to androgens:

Aromatase converts male into female sex hormones (estrogens) on the female hair follicles. The reduced enzyme activity in the case of hereditary hair loss in women means, on the one hand, that the concentration of male sex hormones on the hypersensitive hair follicles increases. On the other hand, fewer female hormones (estrogens) are formed locally, which are said to have a beneficial effect on hair growth. Overall, this results in hair loss.

In the affected women, the hair loss manifests itself in a general thinning of the scalp hair, mainly in the crown area. As a result, the scalp shimmers more and more. In some women, hair loss also tends to affect the front of the head, leading to a balding forehead (as in men with this type of hair loss).

Circular hair loss in women

Instead, some women get circular, bald spots on their heads or other hairy parts of the body. Then there is circular hair loss (alopecia areata). It has other causes. If it is severe, all body hair can fall out completely (alopecia areata universalis).

The exact reasons for this type of hair loss in women, men and children are not known. However, various factors play a role in the development of the disease, for example an autoimmune reaction: Antibodies of the immune system mistakenly attack the body's own healthy tissue - in this case cells in the hair roots. This disrupts hair growth and ultimately leads to hair loss. Genetic predisposition and other factors can also contribute to the development of the disease.

The circular hair loss manifests itself particularly in the 2nd and 3rd decade of life. Menopause, or generally the 5th decade of life, is also often accompanied by this form of hair loss.

Diffuse hair loss in women

Diffuse hair loss results in hair loss evenly all over the head. There are many possible causes for this. Here are the main ones:

Often times are certain Medication the trigger for excessive hair loss. These include, for example, cytostatic drugs (anti-cancer drugs), anti-thyroid drugs (anti-thyroid drugs), beta blockers (for heart disease), lipid-lowering drugs (for increased blood lipid levels), anticoagulants (anticoagulants), vitamin A preparations and the gout drug allopurinol. Particularly important for women: Diffuse hair loss is often triggered by the pill (ovulation inhibitor).

In other cases, diffuse hair loss in women (and men) is due to one Metabolic disorder. This can be, for example, a protein or iron deficiency, for example in the context of malnutrition. Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can also be the reason for excessive hair loss.

In some cases, diffuse hair loss is caused by a poisoning caused, for example with thallium or arsenic.

Infections with a chronic course (such as tuberculosis) can also be the reason for diffuse hair loss. Even after an acute, severe infection with a high fever like the flu, your hair can temporarily fall out. The same is true after operations.

Many women complain after giving birth increased hair loss. You can read more about this in the article Hair Loss After Pregnancy.

Mechanically induced hair loss in women

Persistent or frequent pulling on the hair roots can lead to the affected hair falling out prematurely. This can be observed, for example, in women who very often wear a tight ponytail: Here, hair loss mainly affects the area of ​​the forehead and temples. Doctors speak of traction alopecia here.

Scarring hair loss in women

In women (and men) with inflammatory skin diseases or skin damage, hair loss is sometimes caused by damage to the hair roots or scarring on the scalp. This can happen, for example, with lupus erythematosus, lichen planus (lichen planus), scleroderma (a connective tissue disease) or local infections with fungi or bacteria.