Hair Loss in Women: Causes, Prevention and Treatment
Ever notice strands of hair in your comb or your shower drain? On average, we lose as many as 100 hairs every day! But, about two-thirds of women notice greater hair loss after menopause, so if you’re worried about baldness or thinning hair, you’re not alone.
Difference between male and female pattern baldness
Men usually have a receding hairline in the front, or a bald spot on the top of the head, which sometimes spreads until they have no hair at all. Female pattern baldness is different, in that women usually lose hair all over their heads. But they don’t typically go completely bald—the hair is just thinner, and there’s less of it.
Female pattern baldness tends to run in families, so there does seem to be some kind of genetic link. Other possible causes of hair thinning or hair loss include:
- Hormonal changes
- Some medical conditions
- Certain medications
- Hairstyles and treatments that can damage the hair
It’s really important to see your doctor sooner, rather than later, if you notice thinning hair. One reason is that hair loss can sometimes be a sign of another health problem, so you’ll need to rule that out. The second is that the earlier you treat female pattern baldness, the better the results tend to be. Most women can successfully stop hair loss, and even regrow a significant amount of hair that’s already been lost.
Options for treating hair loss may include:
- Liquids and foams that you apply right to your scalp
- Nutritional supplements like iron, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, antioxidants, biotin and folic acid
- Light therapy, such as laser combs and helmets that use light energy to stimulate hair regrowth
- A hair transplant, where strips of your own hair and follicles are removed and placed in a thinning area to continue growing
You can’t prevent female pattern baldness, but you can take good care of the hair you have to prevent further thinning and breakage. Here are some tips:
- Avoid tight hats and hair accessories, and don’t pull your hair back tightly in cornrows, a ponytail or a bun.
- Don’t use harsh hair treatments like perms, bleach or high-heat styling, and use only gentle hair color.
- If you smoke, quit. Smoking damages your hair follicles.
- Protect your hair from the sun with sunscreen products made for the hair and scalp, or by wearing a hat when you go outdoors.
- Be mindful of any nervous habits that involve twisting, pulling or rubbing your hair.
- Be gentle when washing and combing your hair and use a wide-toothed comb on wet hair.