Women and hair loss – the facts
Women can lose their hair too
Men lose their hair as they get older, we all know that, and many of them struggle to come to terms with it. But hair loss happens to women too with around 50 per cent of those over the age of 65 having female pattern baldness.
Despite this being a common experience, hair loss can be very distressing for women as they feel there’s a stigma about going bald. Many women’s hair is an important part of what makes them feel feminine and attractive.
We typically lose between 50 and 100 hairs every day as part of the normal process. Losing more hair is known as alopecia.
Hair loss has many causes – some perfectly natural
There are many different reasons for hair loss and many different types. Alopecia can be anything from a gradual thinning to a sudden total loss of hair. The most common, female pattern baldness, is thought to be inherited and affects older women.
Hair loss also widespread among women who have recently given birth with 50 per cent saying they lose more hair than usual in the weeks after having a baby.
But hair loss can affect women of any age and be a result of extreme stress, a medical condition or as the side-effect of a treatment such as chemotherapy.
Hair loss can be permanent
Some types of hair loss are permanent, like male and female pattern baldness. This type of hair loss usually runs in the family.
Other types of hair loss may be temporary. They can be a symptom of:
Some hair loss can be treated
Hair lotion containing minoxidil has been proven to help with female pattern baldness. Most users experience improvements with 25% of women reporting hair regrowth.
Most treatments are not available on the NHS, so you will have to pay for them. However, you could look to cover up your hair loss with wigs, hats of scarves. If you have around 50 per cent hair loss or more, you could be eligible for a wig on the NHS.
The psychological effects can be serious
It’s important to think about the mental impact of hair loss.
Even if your hair loss is temporary, things will be easier if you can accept the way you look and learn to live with it.
Talk to friends and family about your hair loss and the support you need and try to be patient as, in many cases, hair loss is temporary.
Some hair loss needs action
Make an appointment to see your GP if:
You have sudden hair loss
You have bald patches
Your hair is coming out in clumps
Your head itches and burns
Alternatively, if you’re a Benenden Member, you can access GP advice 24/7. Find out more.
Help is available
There are alopecia support groups around the country. Find your nearest at http://www.alopeciaonline.org.uk/support-groups.asp.