Around 40 percent of women will experience some form of hair loss by the age of 50 due to hormonal changes.
Temporary hair loss can also be triggered by stress, poor diet and weight loss.
For many women, hair loss problems will resolve themselves within six months, while for others it can be the start of an incredibly distressing ongoing battle.
Thinning hair in women is actually a surprisingly common problem. In many patients with female alopecia, there does not seem to be any obvious underlying cause, and often the hair loss improves with the addition of a good quality beauty supplement.
Sometimes the cause of hair loss in women is the result of a diet which is nutritionally deficient, particularly in the case of iron store levels, which are essential for healthy levels of hair growth. Commonly, women’s hair loss problems can also be triggered by thyroid issues, fungal scalp infections or low oestrogen levels after pregnancy. Hair loss can also be triggered by stress, which can cause the adrenal or stress glands to secrete follicle damaging male hormones into the body.
Genetic hair loss in women
There is another type of hair loss that affects women, which, despite being less dramatic and less visible, can be equally distressing. Genetic hair loss is the only type of hair loss where the hair follicle gradually gets smaller, producing ever finer hairs until the follicle dies altogether.
This type of hair loss, called androgenetic alopecia, is related to the male hormone in the body. This condition is not caused by too much testosterone, but is instead the result of a genetic disposition which makes the hair follicles sensitive to the normal levels of male hormones in a woman’s body. However, 72 percent of women with male hormone-related hair loss are also iron deficient.
Age-related hair loss
Hair often tends to thin with age as a result of hormonal changes, and most commonly with menopause. One study of 1,008 participants found that almost one in five women aged 30-49, a quarter of women aged 50-69, and 28 percent of those aged 70-79 suffered from hair loss.
The cause of age-related hair loss is the falling levels of the female hormones oestrogen and progesterone. The reduced level of female hormones allows the testosterone in women’s bodies to have more impact; this in turn damages the hair follicles, causing the hair to thin.
Female hair loss can be an incredibly difficult condition to live with. For men, hair loss is actually the norm, with approximately 85 percent of men having significantly thinning hair by the age of 50, and 40 percent experiencing some level of hair loss by the age 35. However, for women, hair loss can be far more emotionally damaging.
Hair loss can impact every aspect of a woman’s life, affecting interpersonal relationships and even their professional lives. A recent study into the emotional impact of a particular form of hair loss called scarring, found the female participants had higher levels of anxiety and depression.
Potential hair loss treatments
The key to women’s hair loss is to catch it early, both for the sake of the treatment and for the sanity and self-esteem of the sufferer. Some women can lose up to half of their hair before they even notice the hair is thinning.
The treatments for female hair loss depend entirely on the cause. If the hair loss has been triggered by stress, things should go back to normal within 6 months. The regrowth can be helped along by a good quality beauty supplement.
Hair loss caused by a nutritional deficiency can also be treated with a quality skin, hair and nails supplement, as well as making changes to your diet. Foods that are good for hair health include eggs, spinach, bell peppers, sweet potatoes and lentils to name but a few.
However, the first port of call, as with any health complaint, is to book an appointment to see your doctor. If they are unable to help, a trichologist should be able to offer expert advice and assistance.