Male pattern baldness is an expected, if often trivialized, part of aging for many men. Its female counterpart is seldom discussed until it becomes a problem. Women suffering from health issues, excessive stress, or simply going through menopause are waking up to find more hair than usual in their drain. We asked dermatologists we trust to fill us in on the facts about female hair loss.

Sudden shedding is more common in women, due to internal changes caused by things like childbirth or stress.

Multiple factors cause sudden shedding. Are you suffering from excessive stress or a health issue? Maybe you’re not getting enough nutrients right now or you’ve recently given birth. Trace your hair loss back to the cause to help attack shedding at its source, says Michelle Blaisure, Bosley Professional Strength’s Director of Education and Certified Trichologist.

Seeing a doctor is the first step to address hair loss. Even if you think you know why you’re shedding, a doctor can help you start to work through the problem.

Women’s hair typically begins to lose density around age 35. The change may not be enough for us to notice until our mid-forties or fifties.

Genetically-determined hormone sensitivity affects hair loss. Inherited sensitivity to the hormone DHT affects hair growth on the top and at the front of the head.

20-25% of women experience hair thinning due to increased DHT sensitivity. A majority of men owe their receding hairlines to hormone changes as well, says Blaisure.

Hair can also fall out in patches as a result of Alopecia Areata, an auto immune disorder that creates a “bald spot.”

You can have your hair strands tested to see if there are any nutrients lacking from your diet, or if metals or toxins in your system are creating an issue that’s causing a reaction in your scalp.

A silk pillow will prevent breakage by minimizing friction of hair against a tough cotton pillow, according to Dr. Francesa Fusco.

Condition and exfoliate your scalp. The skin on your scalp is the same skin you have all over your body. Treat it with nourishing conditioner (like CLEAR Scalp & Hair) and once a week, add sugar or salt to your shampoo to exfoliate.

Treat your hair right inside and out. Try a supplement like Viviscal Extra Strength, with a combination of Biotin, Vitamin C, and a Marine-based Amino complex to add volume to thinning hair. Bosley Professional Strenth’s anti-aging Healthy Hair Follicle Energizer works around the hairline to strengthen from the follicles and hair shaft.

READ MORE: Why Does Hair Turn Grey?