In other words, no one’s truly safe from the condition. But even in the face of these seemingly insurmountable odds, not all hope is lost for your precious locks. To show your hair some TLC (and prevent further thinning), look out for these surprising culprits—and combat them accordingly. And if you need a quick way to mask any thinning hair, just check out the 15 Best Haircuts for Looking Instantly Younger.
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Hair has deep psychological and sexual meaning. Both menopause and loss of hair are often associated with loss of femininity and sexuality. These thoughts and changes can all feed into each other, and it becomes a vicious and demoralising cycle. Rest assured, though, it is very rare for a woman to go bald. And things can be done to get the best out of your hair during this stressful time.
Although it’s generally only prescribed as a last resort for menopausal symptoms, hormone replacement therapy is a common and very effective hair loss treatment for some women — as long as they are menopausal or post-menopausal and are not at higher risk for adverse effects from HRT. It's most often prescribed for women who have androgenetic alopecia, also called pattern baldness. Hormone replacement therapy has a number of benefits for both general health and symptom management, but also a number of side effects — which range from unpleasant to dangerous.
And once a lustrous dark curtain, my hair had taken on an alarming transparent quality. I spent hours staring at my scalp in the mirror, parting and re-parting my hair to see which side looked fuller. I drenched my head with volumizing sprays, detoxifying tonics, and shampoos for "weakened hair." Remedies were thick on the ground—but my hair kept getting thinner. I was molting. And I was scared.
The data is inconclusive as to whether or not cortisone shots actually work at re-growing hair, but I do know one woman who gets them frequently and says they have really helped her. Cortisone shots are given at the scalp, and the Mayo Clinic suggests they should not be given more often than every six weeks. While I know of some women who have had luck with acupuncture for hair loss, the British Acupuncture Society states that there is no evidence that acupuncture can treat hair loss as a specific symptom; however, it might help with the underlying problem. (For example, acupuncture can help treat lupus, which can cause hair loss.)
Daily hair counts are normally done when the pull test is negative. It is done by counting the number of hairs lost. The hair from the first morning combing or during washing should be counted. The hair is collected in a clear plastic bag for 14 days. The strands are recorded. If the hair count is >100/day, it is considered abnormal except after shampooing, where hair counts will be up to 250 and be normal.
Symptoms of hair loss include hair loss in patches usually in circular patterns, dandruff, skin lesions, and scarring. Alopecia areata (mild – medium level) usually shows in unusual hair loss areas, e.g., eyebrows, backside of the head or above the ears, areas the male pattern baldness usually does not affect. In male-pattern hair loss, loss and thinning begin at the temples and the crown and hair either thins out or falls out. Female-pattern hair loss occurs at the frontal and parietal.
There’s no single cause. Triggers range from medical conditions -- as many as 30 -- to stress and lifestyle factors, like what you eat. Your genes play a role, too. Sometimes doctors can’t find a specific reason. As a starting point, hair loss experts suggest you get tested for thyroid problems and hormone imbalances. Hair often grows back once the cause is addressed.
If we are experiencing hair loss or thinning hair because our female hormones are in decline, then it only makes sense that replacing estrogen and progesterone through pills and creams might help. Another treatment option might be low-androgen index birth control pills. (High-androgen birth control pills can create more hair loss. Great! Just what we need — more hair loss!)
If a pregnant woman comes in contact with crushed or broken Finasteride tablets, wash the contact area right away with soap and water. If a woman who is pregnant comes into contact with the active ingredient in Finasteride, a healthcare provider should be consulted. If a woman who is pregnant with a male baby swallows or comes in contact with the medicine in Finasteride, the male baby may be born with sex organs that are not normal.
Known as alopecia, hair loss occurs when hair follicles, or pores, either die or become slow in their ability to produce and push a protein called keratin through the follicle and, eventually, outside the skin. This often occurs naturally with age, although certain factors such as genetics, thyroid or hormonal conditions, side effects of medications, or other illnesses can affect hair cell production and growth. This often begins to appear as overall thinning or patchiness of the hair, or a recession of the hairline, usually starting at or around the temples.
Traction Alopecia causes hair loss by placing constant, excessive tension on the hair shafts, often due to overuse of hair extensions, tight braids or weaves. The hair follicles become damaged, leading to hair loss generally centred around the hairline and temples, with only fine or ‘fluffy’ hairs left behind. If the cause of the Traction Alopecia is concentrated in one specific location, for example a heavy hairpiece or ponytail extension, the condition can also cause patchy hair loss in those specific areas. Due to the nature of this condition being related to damage caused by hair styling, Traction Alopecia mainly affects women, although it is also common in men who wear their hair in cornrows.
Hair loss is a pretty tricky topic and most experts and doctors are never really able to pinpoint the cause. However, if you are looking to reduce your chance of hair loss or slow hair loss that is already progressing, you should consider the factors listed above. Your doctor may help you determine if a hormone imbalance or other medical condition may be the cause of your premature hair loss. If so, they may suggest hormone therapy, diet changes or other medications and treatments to help manage to condition or balance your hormones, which may naturally solve your hair loss problem.
Some things are harder to let go of than others. However, wisdom helps us nurture deeper feelings of self-esteem and a positive spirit. If you find that you are experiencing sudden hair loss, be sure to see your physician. In the meantime, get creative with a new fun style that can make your hair loss less noticeable. It is not exactly “modern medicine”, but today we have access to hair extensions, clip-ons, scalp camouflages, and oodles of accessories that can add the appearance of length and fullness without anyone knowing.
The important distinction between male pattern baldness and female pattern hair loss is that, whilst men may develop absolute baldness – when the damaged follicles can no longer function so hair growth stops, and the skin takes on a smooth, shiny appearance – this is rare in women. Women’s hair loss may become advanced, but true baldness – as men experience it – is highly unlikely.
Fifty is the average age for menopause, but changes to your hair can begin long before, and is one reason why hair thinning during menopause is difficult to counteract. Nobody over 40 has the same volume of hair they had in their twenties, but menopause is an accelerating cause. The pattern of menopausal hair thinning is similar to the early stages of male pattern hair loss.
This ‘diffuse generalized hair loss’ is present in 26% of post-menopausal women over the age of 45, according to the British Association of Dermatologists’ study. That includes hair not just on the top of your head, but also near what they term ‘androgen-sensitive sites,’ or the hair ‘down there.’ It thins out, too, even as facial hair gain takes root in most women: 40% attested to that in this particular study. So, in essence, thick hair where you don’t want it and thinning where you want the hair to stay put and grow.
Another way to stimulate new follicle hair growth may be to work from within. If you're looking for a systemic solution to improve the health and happiness of your hair follicles and the skin around them, adding certain vitamin- and mineral-rich foods to your diet is a great place to start. Vitamins and minerals can keep keratin levels healthy, as do proteins, fatty acids and omega-3s. Look to nuts, avocados, biotin-rich whole grains, citrus, orange vegetables such as carrots and leafy greens like spinach to keep your locks looking full and healthy.
Topical Medication: There are a few alternatives to finasteride, should it prove to be ineffective or if it starts causing side effects (some patients report losing their sex drive on the drug). One of these options is minoxidil (aka Rogaine). It’s a topical product, available over the counter, that stimulates hair growth “by activating potassium channels in the follicle—this results in growth factors and prostaglandins that promote hair growth,” Fusco says. “This keeps the hairs in the growth cycle for a longer period of time.” Your dermatologist may be able to prescribe minoxidil formulations of higher percentages, she adds. So, see your doctor to decide which route is best.
Reducing caffeine and alcohol consumption, exercising regularly, and practicing stress reduction techniques such as yoga or meditation can also help promote regenerative hair growth. Taking care to not pull or twist hair in destructive ways and avoiding other physical traumas such as harsh processing techniques or excessive heat in styling will also help to protect hair.
If hair loss is genetic or an autoimmune condition, available treatments night not be effective for regrowth, but there are hair systems that look like your own hair that can help. The hair is attached using surgical glue and the hair can be blow dried, dyed, straightened. You can swim, shower etc with it. While not your own hair, they can be truly wonderful. I met several young women who wore them and you couldn’t tell. Are they difficult to deal with? Yes. But at the very least they help. I interviewed several women who were fine with not covering their bald heads, but who felt compelled to do so for work and society in general. One woman, a teacher, told me she covered up because her student’s parents complained to the administration, concerned that she was ill.
The main type of hair loss in women is the same as it is men. It's called androgenetic alopecia, or female (or male) pattern hair loss. In men, hair loss usually begins above the temples, and the receding hairline eventually forms a characteristic "M" shape; hair at the top of the head also thins, often progressing to baldness. In women, androgenetic alopecia begins with gradual thinning at the part line, followed by increasing diffuse hair loss radiating from the top of the head. A woman's hairline rarely recedes, and women rarely become bald.
One of the most common yet least talked about symptoms of menopause, hair loss can be devastating for the millions of women who suffer from it. Americans spend upwards of a billion dollars per year on hair loss treatments. According to the American Hair Loss Society, 99% of these treatments are unfortunately ineffective. Most women do not want to sit back and let their hair fall out slowly without taking action. Luckily, there are alternative solutions that are safe and effective for the multitudes of women experiencing hair loss.
In my youth, stylists would always tell me, "Wow, you've got a lot of hair." So much so that I took my lush mane for granted—perming, straightening, and bleaching my way through my teens. But everything changed during my sophomore year of college, as I found myself pulling more and more tangles out of my brush and strands from the shower drain. The compliments stopped and the worry began. I jealously examined the girl next to me on the subway. Why couldn't I see through to the roots on her scalp, too?