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How to Treat Post-Menopausal Hair Loss

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
9/26/2012 10:00 AM   :  13 comments   :  27,187 Views

If you're a post-menopausal woman, you might have noticed that your forehead has grown higher all of a sudden. Or maybe the part in your hair has gotten wider, and you can see your scalp when the light hits it just right. But don't worry; you're not alone. Up to 10% of pre-menopausal women experience some androgenetic alopecia (decreased hair diameter with a normal growth pattern), and the rate jumps considerably to 50-75% of women 65 and older. 

The cause of this type of hair loss isn't fully understood, but some studies point to factors such as hormonal imbalances, iron deficiency, rapid weight loss, medication side-effects and some disease states.  For any woman who is experiencing hair loss, the first step is to consult with a healthcare professional who can rule out any physical conditions that may be contributing to the hair loss, followed by a proper treatment plan.

There are several treatments that have shown some promise in reversing or slowing androgenetic hair loss.  Some treatments affect the hormones that play a role in hair growth, while others treat conditions that can cause hair loss.  Rogaine is the only FDA-approved topical treatment for female hair loss.  Some studies have suggested that it may be effective for some women by prolonging the hair's growth phase; however, it can take up to a year to see any results.  There are also prescription oral medications available, such as Propecia, but there are significant risks and side-effects with these drugs, and they only treat specific hair loss conditions.

Laser combs are advertised to increase hair growth, and the FDA has approved the HairMax Laser Comb for this use. However, it costs $495 and requires 15 minutes of use three times a week, with minimal evidence of how well it actually works.  A hair transplant is another costly, but effective, method for treating extensive hair loss. With this treatment, hair follicles are removed from dense areas of growth and implanted to the thinning areas.  The problem with this type of treatment is that most women experience thinning throughout the scalp, so they aren't usually good candidates for hair transplant. 

Before exploring the more costly medical treatments it's a good idea to take a look at common reasons for increased hair loss.  Your diet can play a strong role in hair health, and some women who skimp on protein may see a decrease in hair thickness.  Increasing your dietary intake of B vitamins (or adding a supplement) can help with hair health.  Low iron levels may also contribute to hair loss, but consult with your healthcare provider first to determine if you are in need of an iron supplement. 

Stress is another major cause of hair loss that's easily treatable.  Exercise, meditation, breathing techniques and improved sleeping habits can all play a big role in reducing the stress hormones that can increase hair loss. 

Additionally, certain hairstyles can contribute to hair loss, such as wearing tight braids, extensions or using hair bands that can cause breakage.  Look for bands that are soft elastic with a fabric cover, and avoid styles that pull or put excessive tension on your hair.  Adding some bangs and layers can also create the look of fuller hair and help hide thinning at the front of your scalp. 

Coloring your hair can add thickness, and covering the gray will make thinning areas less noticeable.  There are even products available that can be applied to the part and crown to help create the look of more hair.  You can achieve similar results with an eyebrow powder that is close to your hair color.

Finally, there are a wide variety of hair sprays, shampoos, and other hair products on the market that can be very effective in making your hair look thicker. I ask for samples at stores so I can try before I buy, or save the receipt if the store allows returns on products. This way, I don't end of spending lots of money on products that don't work for my hair.  It can take some experimenting with different products to find the ones that are compatible with your hair, so don't give up if the first thing you try doesn't give you results.

Do you have any solutions of your own for combating female hair loss? Share them!


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Comments

  • SHALL1432
    13
    These are common side effects which can be treated but not prevented. For more on the subject please visit naturalhealthproductsforall.blogspo
    t.com/ - 8/11/2013   1:13:03 PM
  • NAMEZDILIP
    12
    Its my pleasure to share my experience which is so interesting & which I used with my grandmother. I was having hair loss just at the age of 17-18. My father had so many treatment for me but all were in vain. I was just searching a product on internet and found minoxidil. I bought it and started using it, just in 4-5 days I saw a great change and after 6 months the Hair Loss problem was completely away from me. The story of my grandma is so interesting, I just exchanged the Minoxidil with my grandma's hair oil bottle, she was using it without knowing it and just after two month she was surprised to see that new hair were growing on her head, then I keep the secret out that it was me who changed her hair oil and she was so happy looking her in mirror. For other's people help I can suggest that it was www.polarisminoxidil.com from where I got that product. I want to advise this site because as I bought the minoxidil from here. - 6/12/2013   1:25:37 AM
  • 11
    I have been a hairdresser for 20 years & if I notice a sudden change in a clients hair thickness or texture I tell them to see their doctor immediately. Shortly after I finished cosmetology school I was cutting my fathers hair when I noticed it felt different. I asked him of he was using something new & he said no. A few months later his doctor was running routine blood work & he turned out to be anemic. After some more testing my father was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. My mothers hair went through a similar chance - 10/11/2012   7:59:34 AM
  • 10
    Thanks for all the great advice.

    Now, what can I do about facial hair? The hair on my head is thinning and on my face thickening. I can't win for losing. I can't use facial wax because of allergies to ingredients. - 10/2/2012   11:40:43 AM
  • EJAY289
    9
    Aveda and Redken both have a 3 part shampoo system that is developed for this and they both help by stimulating the scalp. They do not contain rogaine. - 10/1/2012   3:55:55 PM
  • 8
    Losing your hair can be so demoralizing. My hair started to thin in my early 50s basically due to hormones and several medications I have to take. I've tried a slew of remedies (shampoos, powders, treatments) and nothing seemed to make a difference. In August, I was voicing my frustration over my shiny pate to my sister and she suggested a wig. A wig? No way! She went on to say that a couple of her friends undergoing chemo wear wigs and they are so natural looking that you can't really tell they are wigs. Anyway, I decided to look into various styles and types of wigs. A good synthetic wig with a monofilament top
    and lace front, looks and feels like real hair. Most are extremely comfortable and also very lightweight. I ended up purchasing one and since have purchased
    a couple more......love them! I wear one all the time now. The boost to one's
    confidence knowing that your hair looks like it once did, is amazing. I blogged about it and if you are interested in a before and after pic, read my "and this is why" blog from Aug. 22. (I can't add a link to this comment)

    If all else fails, do look into a wig. They have come a long, long way from several years ago. - 9/28/2012   8:12:29 AM
  • 7
    I have been blessed with very thick hair all my life; however, for the past couple of months I have been losing lots of hair in the shower (to the point where it winds itself around my fingers when I shampoo and condition - yuck!) and I've had to tie my hair back when cooking to make sure I don't lose any in the food. (Yuck again!) So far my hair still looks full, but I can tell the difference. I will mention it to my doctor at my yearly exam....hope I'm not headed toward the "scalpy" look. My 94-year-old mom has that, but then, she never did have the thick head of hair I've always had. - 9/27/2012   12:39:55 PM
  • 6
    I had/have this problem.

    My hormone level was tested and I was found to have an excess of testosterone; I take daily meds to manage that.

    As well, my doctor suggested the supplement biotin (it's a b vitamin) twice a day. The biotin has an added benefit of strengthening my nails. Took about a year to work, though... - 9/27/2012   6:58:03 AM
  • PRUSSIANETTE
    5
    The article makes good points about getting enough protein and enough iron. If you have this problem with hair, seriously consider tracking your consumed food in SparkPeople to identify any nutrition shortfalls. Magnesium is also one which can affect hair. - 9/26/2012   2:26:12 PM
  • WAVAIRENE
    4
    I was blessed with some major hair so, although I've noticed some thinning (and changes in texture) it's still pretty full. - 9/26/2012   12:33:10 PM
  • 3
    Very good article. My mom has noticed for many years her hair was getting thinner and was falling out more. Finally the lady who cuts her hair told her about a shampoo from Mexico that is made from chile extract. My mom bought it and noticed a very small difference after 3 months. My mom was a little disappointed but happy that at least it was starting to grow...although too slowly. Then her sister started going thru chemo and told her that she was using a different shampoo that the other people in chemo were telling her about. She has been going thru chemo off and on for the past 3 1/2 years. But she still has her hair! The shampoo is called Cre-C. Green bottle. I've recently noticed my hairline looking thinner and I'm only 35. I just bought the Cre-C for my mom and I. It's on Amazon for $35 for a 3 pak. You need a great conditioner cause it really makes your hair feel awfully dry. But my mom has been using it for a long time now and I have to color her hair more often cause it keeps growing. Their is hope! - 9/26/2012   11:38:45 AM
  • 2
    I faced this awful problem, but found a wonderful product called WEN cleansing condition. It's a shampoo and conditioner in one. It really conditions your hair, leaves it shinyy, but best of all, it gives hair bounce. I dreaded washing my hair because I would go through the "limp" stage for a few days. Not any more, as soon as my hair dries, I find it abundant, and just great. I purchased it online at QVC, but there are other places that sell this product online. Hope you enjoy this product as much as I. - 9/26/2012   11:01:40 AM
  • 1
    This is a great article! I am in the highest risk age group, and sadly my mother and grandmother had significant hair loss in their later years. When my mother was my age, I remember her saying in wonder that she no longer has to shave her legs because nothing is growing. Same has happened to me; and years after that her hair thinned to look like my grandmother's. Lots of scalp showed through. I better start planning for what to do as I increasingly lose my precious locks! - 9/26/2012   10:24:12 AM

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