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What causes spontaneous hair loss in women?

Several months ago, I started noticing really large amount of my hair (I am a woman, age 41) in the shower drain and in my hairbrush. As far as I can remember, I didn't do anything to cause this spontaneous hair loss... so what is happening?
Hair loss in middle-aged women is generally a benign condition which, although distressing, does not represent a serious underlying medical condition. Physicians who will be qualified to discuss this issue with you include your primary care doctor, your dermatologist, or your OB / GYN doctor. Generally, female pattern baldness in women is not concerning for an underlying disorder. Unlikely male pattern baldness, the hair loss is more diffuse in women. Iff there are other signs of high levels of male hormones, such as increased body hair in a male pattern or infertility, your doctor may wish to do some blood tests to rule out problems resulting in high levels of these hormones. A second cause of hair loss, known as telogen effluvium, is rapid hair loss that is usually provoked by some severe stressor, such as a personal loss, a pregnancy, or a crash diet. Generally this type of hair loss is distinguished by its rapid onset, its association with a particular event, and by something called the 'hair pull test' which your doctor can perform simply in an office setting. As always, the diagnosis and management of your specific condition will require a physical examination by your personal physician. Scheduling an appointment with your primary care doctor, dermatologist, or OB / GYN is recommended.
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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