Hair loss is one of the most common complaints that we hear from women who are peri-menopausal or post-menopausal. As women, our hair health affects our self-esteem. It is very distressing to find clumps of hair falling out, to notice that the part is getting wider, or even worse, to see bald spots emerging.
Many things can cause hair loss for women. Severe stress can be one of the biggest culprits, though there is usually a delay of three to six months before the hair actually begins to fall out. However, the most common cause of hair loss for middle-aged women is hormone deficiencies.
Female hormones help keep hair in place and when those levels begin to wane, hair loss can occur. Estrogen, testosterone, and thyroid deficiencies can not only cause hair to fall out but can also cause changes in the hair, such as dryness and brittleness, which causes it to break off. It may also become finer and lose body. In addition, the scalp may become dry and itchy.
Other hair loss causes include:
- Sudden stress such as divorce or a death in the family
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Overall diet (eating too much sugar and processed foods)
- Iron deficiency/Anemia
- Vitamin B12 Deficiency
- Dramatic weight loss
- Some autoimmune disorders
- Some blood pressure medications
Hair Loss Treatment
We see the most significant hair loss and/or changes in the hair in women who are testosterone deficient. However, since estrogen and thyroid also play a role in hair loss, it’s important to have all hormone levels checked and balanced. When hormones become balanced, the skin and scalp become healthier within days to weeks and new hair growth is noticeable within a month!
There are supplements which also promote healthy hair and scalp which include:
- Biotin – 5-8 mg per day (included in b-complex, but check to see how much)
- Zinc – 30 mg per day
- B-vitamin complex (B6, Riboflavin, Folic acid)
- Magnesium – 500 mg per day
- Essential fatty acids (Omega Pure Fish Oil capsules, Flax seed)
- Iron, if iron deficient
- Vitamin D-3 – 10,000 IU per day
- Iodine – RX Lugol’s Iodine Solution – 1-2 drops per day (critical for hair health and thyroid function)
It’s also important to incorporate lifestyle changes which include eating a diet of whole foods (fat and protein) along with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Cutting way back on processed foods, simple carbohydrates and sugars helps tremendously as well. Adding a regular exercise routine and practicing stress reduction techniques also improved not just hair health, but overall health too.
Topical Minoxidial (Rogaine) is FDA approved for hair growth treatment, available over the counter at many drug stores, Walmart, and Target. Avoiding harsh chemicals and hard water also helps keep hair healthy.
At the office of Leigh Ann Scott, M.D., our comprehensive lab testing includes a full thyroid panel along with checking all levels of hormones so we can help to determine the root cause of your hair loss and treat accordingly.