Most women, who notice hair loss around the time of the menopause, do not have anything medically wrong. Your doctor may ask you if there were any triggers for the hair loss, such as dietary deficiencies, stressful events or illness. You will be asked about your medical history to rule out other causes and might be tested for conditions such as anaemia, low ferritin, thyroid dysfunction, raised testosterone levels or skin disorders. If you show signs of hormonal imbalance, such as irregular periods, facial hair growth or new episodes of acne, this might be tested too.
Thank you, Ellen, for this great post; it is nice to know there are others who are experiencing the same (irritating!) things. I’ve had to deal with hair issues since my 20’s after having my thyroid removed, it is NOT fun having chunks of hair come out in the shower! My thyroid (I replace with desiccated pig thyroid – much better for me than synthetic) levels are fine, but I will look into my iron levels.
Viviscal has Biotin in it — and calcium. And vitamin C. It also contains shark cartilage, oyster extract, and a “marine complex” — which is apparently the secret elixir that gives the ingredient its power. The U.S. National Library of Medicine published an article with a double-blind placebo controlled study that showed the efficacy of this product; “significantly more” women who took Viviscal than the placebo noticed hair growth after 90 days, and even more after 180 days. Now it’s true that the funding for the study was provided by the makers of Viviscal, but double-blind is double-blind. Furthermore, in an entirely separate article, Beauty Editor writer Katrina Persad tried Viviscal for 6 months and documented her results in a quite convincing photo essay and article that showed fairly dramatic results — and Viviscal (as far as I know) did not pay her for her trouble. (Though she does seem to have gotten the product for free, which is quite a perk; the tablets cost about $40 a month.)
If you are losing patches of hair in an apparently random manner you may have alopecia, a condition where a person (male or female) loses patches of hair from parts of their body. In extreme cases this may affect all of the hair on the body. Alopecia is thought to have hereditary and autoimmune factors (where the body mistakenly attacks itself). It is not the same as male pattern baldness.
While warm water opens a hair's cuticle to allow shampoo and conditioner to do their job, cold water helps to close the cuticle and seal in moisture from the conditioner — which helps your hair look shiny and healthy. So, by all means, take a warm shower, but at the end, rinse with cold water. If you really don't like cold showers, stylists recommend pouring one cup apple cider vinegar mixed with two cups water over hair after washing and conditioning. Vinegar is a gentle exfoliator that removes product build-up and dandruff from the scalp.
Minoxidil (Rogaine, generic versions). This drug was initially introduced as a treatment for high blood pressure, but people who took it noticed that they were growing hair in places where they had lost it. Research studies confirmed that minoxidil applied directly to the scalp could stimulate hair growth. As a result of the studies, the FDA originally approved over-the-counter 2% minoxidil to treat hair loss in women. Since then a 5% solution has also become available when a stronger solution is need for a woman's hair loss.
Certain other classes of medication may also promote hair loss. More common among them are certain blood thinners and the blood-pressure drugs known as beta-blockers. Other drugs that might cause hair loss include methotrexate (used to treat rheumatic conditions and some skin conditions), lithium (for bipolar disorder), nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) including ibuprofen, and possibly antidepressants.
It’s good to know that hair loss is a hereditary thing. My husband’s father has hair that is thinning out quickly, so I imagine that my husband will have a similar problem in the future. If that’s the case, then I should probably look into some preventative treatments to help him out. After all, the last thing I want is for my husband to start balding at age 40!