Hair loss is a common symptom associated with the post-menopausal years. It comes in various forms:
- hair becomes thinner and lighter coupled with difficulty in styling,
- alopecia where the hair actually comes out from the roots leaving bald patches and
- male pattern baldness where hair is lost at the temples and the crown of the head.
The low estrogen levels associated with menopause cause weakening of the connective tissues from breakdown of the collagen, protein and elastic fibers in it. These are what gives your skin, hair and nails their strength and suppleness.
Can progesterone cause hair loss if used to treat menopause symptoms? On the contrary, progesterone helps to your body’s normal hair pattern. It helps to normalize zinc and copper levels which are essential for healthy hair.
The average woman loses 50 to 100 strands of hair per day naturally. On days that you wash your hair, you lose on average 250 hairs per day. These hairs are replaced and you never notice a change in your hair. However, if you have abnormal hair loss, you are losing way more strands of hair per day and this is evident by the stray hairs you find on your pillow when you wake up, hair left in your comb, and what you see going down the drain in your bathtub. Not only that, but you can see the hair loss on your scalp when you look in the mirror. There is a variety of reasons for hair loss in women. These reasons vary from hereditary causes, medical and emotional problems, and self-inflicted damage to your hair.
Female Pattern Baldness
One of the main causes for hair loss is female pattern baldness. This hereditary condition affects nearly 20 million women in the US alone. Typically, hair loss caused by this does not start until you are in your fifties or sixties; however, it can occur at anytime. Hair loss in women is often different from hair loss in men. Generally, men notice receding hair lines, whereas women often notice the top third or half of their scalp is thinning or completely balding.
When hair is shed naturally, a hair of the equal size replaces it. In female patter hair loss, if the hair is replaced, it will be with a thinner and finer strand of hair. Your doctor can diagnose this type of hair loss by examining the scalp with a magnifier. If you have female pattern baldness, the doctor will see that your hair follicles vary in size from small to large. If you have a family history of this and are starting to notice thinning spots on your scalp and an excess of stray hairs, talk to your doctor. Early detection of this can help you slow down or stop continued loss of hair.
Medical Conditions that Cause Hair Loss in Women
The top three health conditions that could be causing your hair loss include pregnancy, thyroid disorder, and anemia. Autoimmune diseases, PCOS, and psoriasis could also be the cause of your thinning hair. If you are under a great deal of stress, you may notice you are losing more hair than you should as well. People who have drastically lost weight over a short period may also notice hair loss.
It has also been reported that if you take too much Vitamin A you are also susceptible to abnormal hair loss. In some situations, treating these problems can help to stop the loss of hair and potentially allow hair to grow back in the thinning or bald areas. However, this is not always the case. In some instances, treatment of the medical conditions may only slow down or stop the loss of hair.
Things you are Doing May Cause Hair Loss
As a woman, you are probably doing one or several things to your hair that could be causing damage and breakage of the hair. Having a hairstyle that pulls on your hair, such as cornrows or tight braids, could lead to breakage and thinning hair. Aggressively towel drying your hair can also cause your hair to break, as can blow drying it. The types of chemicals you put on your hair can also lead to hair loss. By reducing these bad habits, you may quickly see a regrowth of the lost hair over a short period.
Hair loss in women can be very embarrassing. In many cases there are interventions you can put into place to stop the loss of hair completely and your hair will grow back. In other cases there is nothing you can do, short of hair transplants, to have a full head of natural hair. One of the best ways to reduce the severity of hair loss and possibly regrow hair that has already been lost is to speak with your doctor if you feel you are losing an abnormal amount of hair. Simple blood tests and health screenings are generally all that your doctor needs in order to diagnose the reasons for your hair loss. Early detection is vital.