Hair loss or hair thinning is a commonly happens to women during menopause. Although hair loss or thinning can affect a woman's confidence and self-esteem, and can also be a symptom of some underlying medical conditions. Although there is no one easy cure that works for everyone, there are some ways to prevent hair loss from continuing or minimize the impact hair loss has.
What Is Hair Loss or Hair Thinning?
Hair loss is scientifically called alopecia, and two-thirds of women will experience hair thinning or a bald spot by the time they are postmenopausal. Hair loss or thinning occurs when the amount of hair that falls out is greater than the amount being produced.
Hair loss and hair thinning tends to have a greater impact on a woman's confidence and overall well-being than on men, because hair loss more commonly is associated with men. Society also puts a high premium on the youth and beauty of women, and this can make hair loss even more devastating. It is important to remember that while others may see you differently, this is their problem. Hair loss or thinning does not make you a less valuable person.
What Causes Hair Loss or Hair Thinning in Women?
The main type of hair loss both women and men experience is androgenetic alopecia, which usually happens gradually and begins over the temples. However, hair loss can be caused by many things, including underlying medical conditions, some medications, some nutrient deficiencies, and some psychological conditions.
Psychological conditions that cause hair loss or thinning include anxiety, emotional stress, grief, and fatigue. Usually, these types of hair loss are temporary, and hair will grow back when the psychological condition is overcome.
The main vitamin deficiency that causes hair loss is iron deficiency. You may have iron deficiency if you have had anemia before, you are a vegetarian or vegan, or you have heavy periods. Your doctor can also perform tests to see if you are iron-deficient. If you are, you will probably be prescribed iron supplements and be recommended to eat more iron-rich foods. Iron-rich foods include:
- Red meat, pork, and poultry
- Shellfish (e.g.,clams and oysters)
- Dark leafy greens (e.g., spinach and kale)
- Dried fruit (e.g., raisins)
- Iron-fortified food (e.g., breakfast cereal)
However, hair loss can have a wide range of causes, so if your hair loss is concerning you, it is important to see a doctor. It is especially important to see a doctor if your hair fell out suddenly, because this could be a sign of an underlying medical condition.
It can be difficult to find a treatment for hair loss that works. Many women join support groups, which can be found both in-person and online. These groups can help you find women who have similar experiences to you so that you can share your stories, tips, and feelings. Click on the following link in order to learn more about perimenopause hair loss.
- Harvard Women's Health Watch. (2009). Treating female pattern hair loss. Retrieved from http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/treating-female-pattern-hair-loss
- Mayo Clinic Staff. (2014). Iron deficiency anemia. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/iron-deficiency-anemia/basics/prevention/con-20019327