Women experience on particular difficulty that has a demonstrable effect on the quality of their life and mental health: hair loss.
- The number of women in the United States experiencing hair loss is 21 million.
- The percentage of woman who have noticeable hair loss by the age of 60 is 80%.
- 40% of women have visible hair loss by the time they’re 40.
In fact, on average, women dealing with thinning hair are between the ages of 25 and 35.
While it may seem that hair loss is a trifling issue, one that is not worthy of significant cause for concern, many women experience negative mental health symptoms when they start losing their hair. This may be because women consider hair to be part of the femininity.
Sufferers of hair loss may experience feelings of:
- Loss of control
- Reported changes in body image
- A less positive self-image
- Worry that they are less attractive to others
- And more
According to a 2012 study published by the National Institutes of Health, 54% of the 157 women reported having hair loss, while 29% said they had symptoms of depression. It seems even mood can be lowered when experiencing hair loss.
Although the number of sufferers of hair loss total in the millions in the U.S. and worldwide, only around 800,000 sufferers are seeking treatment for hair loss. This may be surprising, as hair loss causes significant distress among different sub-groups, but especially among women.
There are many treatments for those suffering from hair loss. Here are a few.
The therapy for hair loss is determined by the initial diagnosis. There are a few ways in which doctors attempt to understand while the hair loss is occurring. They include the pull test, the pluck test, the scalp biopsy, and daily hair counts.
The pull test involves gently applying force to a part of the head. The number of extracted hairs are analyzed. Generally, if the amount of threads of hair pulled out are over 10, the results are a “positive.”
The pluck test involves plucking a few pieces of hair from a certain area of the head, and then analyzing them under a microscope. The root of the hair is looked at to determine any kind of systemic disease.
The scalp biopsy is used when the diagnosis is unsure, as a biopsy allows for the look at the scarring and non-scarring portions of the scalp to determine possible causes of hair loss.
In the daily hair count diagnosis method, a person collects the amount of hair that falls out when showering or shampooing. If the number is greater than 100 hairs, it is considered an abnormality. This is the case unless the person is shampooing, in which the number would need to be greater than 250 to be considered an abnormality.
After the diagnosis is made, a form of therapy is then prescribed. Oftentimes, a medication is used to treat hair loss. In other cases, topical medication or surgery may be required.
One popular topical solution used to treat hair loss (and the only medication approved by the Federal Drug Administration for the treatment of female hair loss) is Minoxidil, which is under the brand name Rogaine. It is sold for females in a 2% concentration available over the counter. Treatment involves rubbing the topical formula over the head.
In the case of Minoxidil, regrowth should be seen within six months.
Another possible therapy for female hair loss are two drugs by the name of Aldactone and Proscar. They are prescribed to post-menopausal women because the drugs can cause birth abnormalities in pregnant women. About 50% of women experience regrowth.
Another possibility for treatment is the hair transplant method. In a hair transplant procedure, hair it taken from one part of the head and then transplanted to the part where the hair loss has occurred. In a recent study of hair transplant doctors, they said 40% of women were candidates for transplant surgery, while possibly 80% could see benefits.
The truth is, 90% of female hair loss is genetic and must be treated with laser therapy or topical medication. But there is one vitamin particularly associated with womens hair loss:
- Studies show that overdoing Vitamin A supplements can cause hair loss. This is according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Stay within the recommended daily value of 5,000 international units.