For many women, just turning 50 can be a hard enough reality. Add to that any thinning hair issues and the emotional stress can go off the charts. Before we go into the role that menopause and aging itself has on hair loss, let’s take a look at alopecia. It’s something that can happen to anyone, at anytime after puberty. It is also a common form of hair loss for those over the age of 50.
Two Types of Alopecia
Over 5 million people are affected by Alopecia areata in the United States. This disease is considered an autoimmune disease. What this means is the human body’s own immune system attacks the hair follicles, stopping them from growing new hair. The onset of alopecia can include a person’s genetic makeup, pregnancy and stress, or other illnesses.
The first sign of alopecia areata is typically a small, round, and/or smooth patches of baldness on the scalp. There are some that experience complete baldness, also known as alopecia totalis. Some may lose hair over their entire body, this is called alopecia universalis. The course of Alopecia is an unpredictable one. Hair may grow back, only to fall out again.
Androgenic alopecia refers a woman’s version of male pattern baldness. It’s been linked to an inherited sensitivity to the male hormone androgen. Women experience a diffuse hair thinning over their entire scalp instead of the actual baldness that men face.
Menopause and After
During menopause, women’s estrogen and progesterone levels drop. This is responsible for, at least partially, for thinning hair. Some other factors of thinning hair can be contributed to stress, illness, hormonal imbalances, harsh hair products, or a genetic disposition. If your hair loss is sudden, a test for androgen in your system may be done by your doctor.
Lifestyle Change Ideas
Sometimes making life style adjustment like a healthy diet, getting plenty of vitamin B, enjoying a cup of green tea every day, losing weight, and trying shampoos that contain hyaluronic acid in them are helpful. These changes can help your body and therefore, help you to restore hair growth. It can take up to 3 to 4 months to see results. These lifestyle changes are no guarantee it will result in hair growth, it may not regrow your hair, but they are good habits just the same.
It’s a good idea to choose stress-reducing activities you enjoy doing. Walking, meditation, yoga, shooting hoops, caring for a pet, swimming, and many other activities are great for reducing stress levels.
There are medication that can help with menopause and post-menopause hair loss, like Minoxidil or steroids. These medications do have some possible side effects.
You can even under-go low level laser hair therapy. This is a non-invasive procedure that uses cool therapeutic lasers to cosmetically treat the appearance of thinning hair and slow down the progression of further hair loss.