Trichotillomania, classified as an “impulse control disorder,” causes people to compulsively pull their hair out. “It’s sort of like a tic, the person is constantly playing and pulling their hair,” says Dr. Glashofer says. Unfortunately, this constant playing and pulling can actually strip your head of its natural protection: hair. Trichotillomania often begins before the age of 17 and is four times as common in women as in men.
Yes. Doctors use the Savin scale. It ranges from normal hair density to a bald crown, which is rare. The scale helps document female pattern baldness, a condition your doctor might call androgenic alopecia. You probably know it as male pattern baldness, but it affects about 30 million American women. Experts think genes and aging play a role, along with the hormonal changes of menopause. Your hair could thin all over, with the greatest loss along the center of the scalp.
Oral Medication: “In cases of androgenetic alopecia, finasteride is still the gold standard,” says Fusco. (Finasteride is the generic version of Propecia, which can be prescribed by your dermatologist and is also available via mail subscriptions.) Fusco says that even younger men can slow or delay hair loss by starting a daily finasteride prescription. “This medication works by inhibiting an enzyme that leads to hair loss,” she notes. “In clinical trials, 90 percent of the patients either gained hair or maintained their hair over a five-year period.”
When your hair thins at an early age it can lead to anxiety, self-esteem issues, and lowered satisfaction when it come to your personal appearance. Initially, many guys try to overcome this by wearing a baseball cap or looking for over-the-counter hair thickening shampoos. Some brave souls will accept their genetic fate and go completely bald – but that look doesn’t always work for everyone.
I explained to Emily that The Iowa Writers’ Workshop wasn’t really in the business of handing out medical degrees, but that since my hair was also thinning, and since I was curious, and since I supposed we weren’t the only two women on the planet who wanted some answers, I’d do some research. This is what I came up with for how to handle hair loss during perimenopause.
Dr Ferrari squarely puts the blame on stress. "While genetics plays a key role in balding, a stressful lifestyle can play havoc. Simple lifestyle changes such as, getting seven hours of sleep, having a glass of water every hour (strands are made up of minerals, which only water can replenish) and eating protein-rich foods at regular intervals can bring about an 80 per cent change."
Common Mistakes to Avoid -- When it comes to hair loss, missing the early signs is one of the first mistakes many women make. A staggering 50 percent loss can occur before it's noticeable to the human eye. The other common mistake women (and men, for that matter) make when trying to treat their hair loss is not giving enough time for therapy to work and not tracking their results properly. Just like hair loss, initial changes in hair regrowth take time and can be subtle before they are noticeable to the naked eye.
Men are not alone. Women are also losing more hair than they did in the past, because a stressful lifestyle is a major reason for hair fall. Stress is driving their bodies to produce more androgens (male hormones), thereby upping the secretion of the hair loss-causing chemical DHT, says Ferrari. With women, excessive styling and colouring is also to blame. "Heat and chemicals weaken the hair, leading to easy breakage," adds Dr Zuli. Dr Shah says the indiscriminate use of oral contraceptives that can cause hormonal imbalance in the long run should be checked.
Clearly, minoxidil is not a miracle drug. While it can produce some new growth of fine hair in some — not all — women, it can't restore the full density of the lost hair. It's not a quick fix, either for hair loss in women . You won't see results until you use the drug for at least two months. The effect often peaks at around four months, but it could take longer, so plan on a trial of six to 12 months. If minoxidil works for you, you'll need to keep using it to maintain those results. If you stop, you'll start to lose hair again.
Here's what I gleaned from my blood tests and research into hair loss at-large. Many various symptoms can causes hair shedding—as any cursory WebMD search can tell you, from stress to chemotherapy–but 90 percent of hair loss is genetic and needs to be treated with medication. It can also be a sign of a thyroid disorder, says endocrinologist, Dr. Emilia Liao, who diagnosed me with mild hypothyroidism.