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What causes women to lose hair?

I'm a fairly young woman and about a month ago I started noticing more hair than usual in the shower drain. Now it seems like my hair is thinning, and I don't think it's my imagination. What could cause this? How can I make it stop?
The hair follicle contains blood vessels that nurture new hair growth. All hair follicles are present at time of birth and throughout the lifetime of a hair follicle, a repetitive cycle of growth, rest, and shed occurs. On a normal scalp, nearly 80 to 90 percent of hair follicles are in the growth phase and while a certain number of follicles are in the shed phase, an equivalent amount can also be found in the growth phase. The noticeable quality of hair shafts, such as hair shafts that appear short or thin are called miniaturized and are affected by hormonal changes occurring in the hair follicle. Thus, hormonal changes in the body can also affect the quality of hair. Hair loss occurs in both men and women, with the incidence increasing in women around the age of menopause. Common triggers of hair loss in women below the age of menopause include pregnancy, severe weight loss, and traumatic psychological events. Certain blood tests such as iron levels and hemoglobin level to assess for anemia or thyroid function tests can reveal and underlying health condition that may possibly be contributing to hair loss or changes in quality of hair. There are various products that are FDA approved for hair loss treatment. However, evaluating for other causes of hair loss such as thyroid disease or anemia should be evaluated initially.
This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.

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