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The causes of female hair loss are legion. It's somewhat rare, but autoimmune diseases can cause patchy hair loss and even the loss of every single hair on the body. Severe fungal infections can cause localized scalp problems, but they are usually easy to spot and treat.
The two most commonly overlooked causes of female hair loss are iron deficiency and thyroid problems. Both of these issues can be confirmed by blood tests and are easy to correct. Hair loss in women often tends to accelerate after menopause and may be slowed with hormone replacement treatment. Another cause is traction alopecia (common in teenagers and young women who use hair straighteners and/or wear their hair in tight ponytails).