How Is Hair Loss In Women Treated What Medicines Or Supplements May Help
Treatment depends on the cause of your hair loss.
- In cases where the loss is due to stress or hormone changes like pregnancy, there might be no treatment needed. The hair loss will stop after a period of time.
- In cases of hair loss being due to hair styling practices, like tight braids or ponytails or certain chemicals, treatment means not doing the things that caused the damage.
- In cases due to nutritional deficiencies, you might be told to take supplements. For instance, you might be told to take a multivitamin and three to five milligrams of biotin daily.
- Minoxidil is approved for treating FPHL. The 2% or 5% solution can be purchased in stores. However, you have to follow directions exactly and use the product indefinitely. Dont use this product if youre pregnant, if you plan to get pregnant, or if youre breastfeeding.
- The HairMax Lasercomb® low light laser is approved by the US FDA to treat FPHL. Another FDA-approved laser product is the Theradome LH80 PRO® helmet and low light laser helmets and caps.
Other medications that have been studied, but not approved, for hair loss in women include:
- Spironolactone and other anti-androgens.
- Other light treatments.
It is important to note that premenopausal women should not take medications for hair loss treatment without using contraception. Many drugs, including minoxidil and finasteride, are not safe for pregnant women or women who want to get pregnant.
Lifestyle And Home Remedies For Thinning Hair
If you feel self-conscious about thinning hair, there are options beyond treatments and procedures that may make hair loss less noticeable, says Bruce.
- Wear a wig, extension, or hairpiece. Some women find this to be a suitable option.
- Style your hair differently. This can make a widening part less noticeable.
- Try hair powders. These contain tiny fibers you sprinkle the powder in your hair and the fibers cling to the hair shaft, giving the appearance of fuller hair and hiding where the scalp is visible.
- Consult a hair stylist. Some stylists specialize in thinning hair.
What Happens At Your Appointment
Your GP should be able to tell you what’s causing your hair loss by looking at your hair.
Tell your GP if your hair loss is affecting your wellbeing and ask what treatments are available.
Most hair loss doesn’t need treatment and is either:
- temporary and it will grow back
- a normal part of getting older
Hair loss caused by a medical condition usually stops or grows back once you’ve recovered.
There are things you can try if your hair loss is causing you distress.
No treatment is 100% effective.
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Childbirth May Be A Trigger
Moms-to-be are often very happy that their hair seems much fuller during pregnancy, but they are then disappointed when they experience hair loss after giving birth. Losing hair after pregnancy is not true hair loss and is normal. That’s because hormones and hair loss in women are linked. Hair falls out after women give birth due to decreasing estrogen levels. Some women notice that they lose a lot of hair in a short period of time after giving birth. The good news is that after this shedding period, hair fullness often returns to normal within 1 to 2 years. Many people wonder what’s the best treatment for hair loss in women? For postpartum moms waiting for their full head of hair to return, using over-the-counter volumizing shampoo and conditioner formulated for fine hair can make hair appear fuller.
When To Seek Help
You should consult your doctor if:
- You are losing hair in an unusual pattern
- You are losing hair rapidly or at an early age
- You have any pain or itching with the hair loss
- The skin on your scalp under the involved area is red, scaly, or otherwise abnormal
- You have acne, facial hair, or an abnormal menstrual cycle
- You have additional symptoms which concern you.
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What Causes Hair To Thin
Any number of lifestyle factors, genetics, recent life events , or medical conditions can cause your hair to thin.
Lifestyle factors could include using certain hair products, wearing your hair up too tightly, experiencing high stress levels, or not getting enough of certain vitamins and minerals in your diet.
People who have immune system deficiencies could also have thinning hair.
Thinning Hair In Women: Why It Happens And What Helps
Many people think of hair loss as a male problem, but it also affects at least a third of women. But unlike men, women typically experience thinning hair without going bald, and there can be a number of different underlying causes for the problem.
Some are associated with inflammation in the body. Some are female-pattern hair loss, says Dr. Deborah Scott, assistant professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School and co-director of the Hair Loss Clinic at Brigham and Womens Hospital. But the good news is that in many cases this hair loss can be stabilized with treatment, and it may be reversible. When its not, there are a number of new cosmetic approaches that can help.
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Phases Of Hair Growth
Hair growth occurs in three stages: Anagen, Catagen, and Telogen.
- The Anagen Stage refers to the growing period of the hair follicle and can remain in this step usually anywhere from three to five years.
- The Catagen Stage, or period of rest where no growth occurs, can last up to two weeks.
- The Telogen Stageis the shedding period of the hair follicle. The final stage can last anywhere from three to four months, with older hair falling out and new growth taking place. Depending on which hair strands have reached the Telogen Stage, a woman can lose anywhere between 50 to 100 strands of hair a day. While this total may sound high, consider that the average person has about 100,000 hairs on their head at one time. This equates to only 0.08% of hair loss on a daily basis.
If more prominent thinning or even bald spots develop, a person may feel alarmed or worry if they are completely losing their hair. Before jumping to conclusions, keep in mind many causes of hair loss are temporary and occur from several different factors.
What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider
- What is the cause of my hair loss?
- How many strands of hair am I losing per day?
- What type of hair loss do I have?
- Will my hair loss be permanent?
- Whats the best treatment for me?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Hair loss may cause you distress whether it happens because of genetics, a disease, or even stress. Know that there are some treatments you can try, and expert dermatologists are there to help you. Your hair loss may be able to be reversed. See your healthcare provider as soon as you notice something wrong because the sooner you start treatment, the better.
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Male Or Female Pattern Hair Loss
Androgenetic alopecia is a frequent cause of hair loss. It affects an estimated 50 million men and 30 million women in the United States.
According to the Genetics Home Reference, the likelihood of experiencing androgenetic alopecia increases with age. Although it can affect teenagers, over half of males aged 50 and older have some degree of hair loss. It is most likely to affect females following menopause.
Often, people who have androgenetic alopecia have family members with the same condition.
In males, hair thinning tends to occur from the hairline to the back of the head. In females, it tends to affect the crown of the head.
Thinning Hair: Diet And Nutrition
There are some nutrition basics when it comes to hair health says Eve. “Hair is mostly protein, so make sure you get a serving with every meal, using your palm as a measure of the amount you need, which depends on your own body size,” she explained. Omega 3 fats, found in oily fish, organic eggs, flax, chia and walnuts, nourish the follicles.
Vegans should soak pulses, legumes and grains before cooking to gain the maximum protein and iron from them.
Iron too is vital to nourish healthy hair. Runners may need extra iron due to “foot strike haemolysis” where red blood cells are damaged by the impact of running. You may also be low on iron if you have heavy periods.
What you eat is only the first piece of the nutrition/hair puzzle. “You are also what you absorb,” Eve explained. “A poorly functioning digestive system can be a sign that were not getting hair nutrition from our food. Light coloured floating stools can suggest that your gut is not absorbing fats, for example.” Eve often recommends a stool test for a fuller gut health picture and liquid probiotics such as Symprove to support the gut.
If you have hair thinning or shedding and youre also tired with dry skin and gaining weight, Eve recommends a blood test to check your thyroid.
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Chronic Or Acute Illness Or Disease
Any type of acute or chronic disease that causes significant inflammation can contribute to hair loss.
This includes acute infections accompanied by high fever and a variety of autoimmune conditions.
Theres even new evidence that COVID-19 can cause hair loss in some people.
The tricky thing about chronic diseases is we often dont realize we have one!
For example, Hashimotos produces little to no symptoms during the early stages, and there are plenty of people unknowingly living with inflammatory digestive issues, like intestinal permeability or Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which have also been shown to cause hair loss.
The takeaway: if you have mysterious hair loss along with any other symptoms, no matter how mild like fatigue, indigestion, etc., definitely get yourself checked out by a functional medicine physician.
Stress And Your Tresses
We might think our hair is essential, but in evolutionary terms its the first thing that the body deprioritises when were in crisis. Crash diets, illness, divorce or the loss of a loved one can lead to diffuse hair shedding called telogen effluvium. Dr Wade explained: “Stress shocks the hair prematurely out of the growth phase and into the resting phase.” You might notice less hair overall or wonder why your hair just wont grow as long as it did. “If the stress is acute, typically the shedding lasts for three months and then turns itself off,” Dr Wade said.
If stress is ongoing, then its another story. “There is absolute association between chronic telogen effluvium and stress,” confirmed Dr Justine Hextall of the Tarrant Street Clinic in Arundel. “Addressing the causes of your stress is imperative. Often when were stressed we also dont eat well, so looking at diet and supplements as well as whether you might be pulling at your hair due to stress can all help.”
Even the type of exercise you do can add to your stress load. Consider choosing yoga over HIIT.
In the meantime, there are a range of cover-up solutions. Try hair fibres such as Nanogen Hair Thickening Fibres or Toppik Hair Building Fibres, or hair makeup such as the Bumble and Bumble Color Stick.
Shop cover up solutions
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Get A Hormone Boost To Reduce Hair Loss
Hair loss increases after menopause when estrogen levels fall. This also increases the relative influence of the small amount of testosterone hormone that is made in the ovaries and adrenal glands.
Testosterone is converted into a stronger hormone in hair follicles which increases male and female-pattern hair loss which is genetically determined.
If you are willing to take estrogen hormone replacement therapy, this will help to boost hair quality. Once again, this is something that you can discuss with your doctor.
An alternative approach is to consume more plant estrogens, especially isoflavones and lignans. Although these are between 500 and a thousand times less active than human estrogen, they can provide a useful hormone boost. Isoflavones are found in edamame beans, tofu, miso, and other soy products, sweet potato, lentils, nuts, and seeds.
As well as having an oestrogen-like action, lignans provide an additional benefit by inhibiting the enzyme , which converts testosterone to the stronger dihydrotestosterone in hair follicles. Research shows that increasing your intake of lignans are associated with a reduced rate of hair loss and hair regeneration.
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Changing Hormones And Your Hair
As we move towards menopause and oestrogen levels drop, theres less of a buffer against the effect of male hormones on our follicles. As we know from female pattern baldness, a sensitivity to androgens causes the follicles to miniaturise and die over time.
There are products to tackle this topically: Plantur 39 Shampoo and Tonic have a phyto-caffeine complex to fight the effects of testosterone on the hair root, while Tricho 7 Step 2 scalp drops by Philip Kingsley contains zinc sulphate, azelaic acid and vitamin B6 to reduce the conversion of testosterone.
Its important to support the adrenal glands too, says nutritional therapist Eve Kalinik, not only because they are overworked at this often stressful life stage, but because they step in to produce sex hormones as the ovaries retire. “This causes a knock-on effect on hormonal balance, which can manifest as hair loss or thinning,” she explained.
Supporting the adrenal glands with anti-inflammatory healthy fats, B vitamins and anti-oxidant vitamins is vital to make us more stress resilient.