Many women feel that their hair is important to their overall image, so hair loss can be frustrating and upsetting. This is often a natural part of aging that occurs in both men and women. However, during perimenopause, hormonal changes can cause more intense hair loss in women over 40 than that associated with normal aging. Having thick, healthy hair is often associated with femininity, so when menopausal hair loss occurs, it can make women feel less attractive. Many women can struggle with their self-image when they notice their hair becoming thinner or patchy.
Causes of Hair Loss in Women Over 40
The hormones estrogen, progesterone, and androgen are known to influence healthy hair growth though the exact role they play is not fully understood. During perimenopause, when a woman is in her forties, fluctuations in the levels of these hormones cause internal imbalances that exacerbate the natural hair loss that occurs as a symptom of aging.
Other conditions and symptoms that are commonly associated with menopause, such as stress, tiredness, and thyroid disorders, can also trigger hair loss.
Treatments for Hair Loss
While there are no cures for hair loss in women, there are natural ways of stimulating the regrowth of healthy hair. Increasing your intake of iron is the first advisable step; iron functions primarily as a carrier of oxygen in the bloodstream, so incorporating more of the mineral into your diet by eating red meats, poultry, fish, nuts, and legumes could improve blood circulation to the hair follicles and stimulate regrowth. Consuming more biotin - found in chard, lettuce, and tomatoes - may also enhance hair growth.
Stress can also exacerbate hair loss, so looking for ways to relax may be useful in minimizing the symptom. Consider arranging regular aromatherapy head massages; these are not only an excellent way to relieve stress, but using specific hair-nurturing essential oils, such as lavender, cedarwood, and rosemary, may also help stimulate hair regrowth.
If hair loss is causing issues with confidence and self-image, you may wish to disguise hair loss with wigs or headscarves. However, this can be expensive and inconvenient, so it is also a good idea to spend time boosting the hair you do have. Be gentle with your hair. Avoid dying it, pulling it into tight styles, or using heat products to style it. Nourish the roots by applying a hydrating oil, such as argan or coconut, to hydrate the follicles with vitamin E for strength and shininess.
There is no denying that hair loss is stressful and upsetting for women, but dwelling on this in a negative way is only likely to cause further distress and thereby exacerbate the symptom. Look for other ways to maximize your confidence and help regain your spark, like treating yourself to a flattering new outfit or a spa treatment. Remember that it is not your hair that defines your beauty or femininity, but your attitude, spirit, and confidence.
For further information on how to deal with hair loss, follow the link below.
- National Institutes of Health.(2012).Female pattern baldness. Retrieved April 23, 2014, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001173.htm
- Dinh, Q.Q. & Sinclair, R. (2007). Female pattern hair loss: Current treatment concepts. Clinical Interventions in Aging, 2(2), 189-199. Retrieved April 23, 2014, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2684510/
- McKinley Health Center. (2010). Dietary sources of iron. Retrieved April 23, 2014, from http://www.mckinley.illinois.edu/handouts/dietary_sources_iron.html
- Monfalouti, H.E. (2010). Theraputic potential of argan oil: A review. The Journal of pharmacy and pharmacology, 62(12), 1669-1675. doi: 10.1111/j.2042-7158.2010.01190.x
- National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. (2012). Lavender. Retrieved April 23, 2014, from http://nccam.nih.gov/health/lavender/ataglance.htm
- National Health Service UK. (2012). Hair loss - causes. Retrieved April 23, 2014, from http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Hair-loss/Pages/Causes.aspx
- National Health Service UK. (2012). Hair loss - treatment. Retrieved April 23, 2014, from http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Hair-loss/Pages/Treatment.aspx