Research shows that hair loss in women is common and associated with low self-esteem. The most common form of hair loss in women is called androgenetic alopecia, or female pattern baldness.
A recent study dispels the misconception that midlife hair loss is something only men need to worry about. The researchers found that more than half of the healthy postmenopausal women they studied had hair loss that negatively impacted their self-image, according to findings published in the Menopause Journal.
We all know that men can experience hair loss or balding in midlife. But we don’t talk about it that much for women. This usually has a different effect on women, especially on their self-confidence. Someone like Bruce Willis can shave his head and look good, but for women it tends to be more serious.
What is female pattern baldness?
The most common form of hair loss in women is androgenetic alopecia, or female pattern baldness. The hair follicles shrink, causing the hair to become thinner and thinner, with the overall hair count decreasing. The hair growth phase also becomes shorter and there are fewer hairs in the active growth phase. In general, with female pattern baldness, the front hairline stays roughly the same, but there may be widening in the middle part and thinning of the hair.
Age, family history and body mass index (BMI) are associated with hair loss in women To study the prevalence of hair loss in women, researchers recruited 178 postmenopausal women among healthy women who were patients at a menopause clinic in Bangkok, Thailand , were. The mean age of the participants was 58 years and they had transitioned from menopause an average of 9 years earlier.
The medical definition of menopause is a year’s absence of a period, and the median age for menopause is 51 years. Researchers assessed hair density in the center of the scalp (where hair loss typically begins in women), measured hormone levels, and collected information about other health issues that may impact hair loss, and the participants’ family history of hair loss.
A total of 93 women (52.2%) had female pattern hair loss. Using a standardized tool called the Ludwig classification to assess the extent of hair loss in these women, the researchers found that 73.2% of them had mild hair loss, 22.6% had moderate hair loss, and 4.3% had severe hair loss. Age, family history of hair loss, and a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or more were significantly associated with hair loss.
What are the causes of hair loss in women?
A better understanding of the mechanisms responsible for this common type of hair loss in women could lead to preventive strategies and more effective treatment options. Although it’s not known exactly what causes hair loss, experts have identified a few possible causes.
Genetics influence whether a woman loses her hair or not. There are many different genes that are linked to hair loss and it is a very complex interaction between many genes. You shouldn’t assume that you did something to cause your hair loss, especially if you’re otherwise healthy.
anemia or vitamin deficiency
Both conditions are associated with hair loss. A blood test can check for anemia, and a dietary assessment can show if hair loss is related to a poor diet.
A lot of stress
Extreme stress can be a problem and cause hair loss. This condition is called telogen effluvium and luckily the hair loss it causes is temporary.
An abnormal thyroid can contribute to hair loss.
inflammation of the scalp
Certain conditions, including some autoimmune diseases, can be linked to scalp inflammation and cause hair loss.
Hair loss can also be linked to a change in hormones. Androgens, a group of hormones that includes testosterone and androstenedione, do not increase during the transition to menopause, but the ratio of estrogens to androgens does change.
Are you worried about your hair loss? Talk to your doctor
Your doctor or dermatologist can tell you about medications, supplements, and procedures that may help you fight hair loss.
Not ready to talk to your doctor? There are also barbers who specialize in cutting and styling thinning hair.
Prevalence of female pattern baldness in postmenopausal women: a cross-sectional study
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