It’s not just men who can experience age-related hair loss, as it is also a common symptom of the menopause faced by women in their fifties. Aside from hot flushes and mood swings, women can also find themselves suffering thinning of the hair around this time and around 40% of post-menopausal women will notice hair loss, which is almost the same rate as men.
Female hair loss is however completely different to male pattern baldness as it is much more subtle and gradual, however this does mean that early warning signs are often missed. In fact, a surprising 50% loss of hair could occur in women before it is actually visible. The first major sign of female hair loss is a general thinning over a wide area of the scalp, but some women will also notice a wider parting line or a noticeable amount of shedding while brushing or showering.
Hair loss & hormones:
Another way that female differs from male hair loss, is the influence of hormones. The most common times where women will experience hair loss is during the menopause or after childbirth – both times of significant hormonal changes. While high levels of female hormones during pregnancy can leave women fuller and healthier hair, declining levels of these hormones after pregnancy and throughout the menopause can obviously have the opposite effect. With a fall in female hormones, the effect of male hormones (androgens) can increase, which can result in the failure of certain hair follicles. These hair follicles may produce progressively weaker hair and eventually none at all and the rate at which these follicles produce weaker hair, depends mostly on your genetic risk.
Hair loss & other factors:
When considering post-menopausal hair loss, a reduction in female hormones may be the main factor; however there are other elements that are associated with age-related hair thinning and loss. Genetic predisposition is a large contributing factor to female hair loss, so if it is something that runs in the family and has occurred at a certain age for your mother or grandmother, it is highly likely to occur for you around the same age. Other factors include unusual levels of stress, other hormonal imbalances, nutritional or iron deficiencies, crash diets, illness, medications or surgical history. Detailed medical histories and diagnostics tests are often an important part of medical hair loss evaluations to identify your risks.