AFTER 50 HAIR WOES
Wednesday, November 6th, 2013
Hair seems to grow upside down as we age, with more on our chin and less on our head! By the time they are 50, at least one-half of all women in the United States, have some problem with hair thinning. Just take a look at the dwindling scalps around the supermarket.
Hair problems break down into two categories: Shedding and Female Pattern Hair Loss.
SHEDDING is when hair loss is happening from the entire scalp. You see hair coming out when you brush, comb or wash your locks. You notice the drain is clogging like never before. Causes of shedding are:
1. Thyroid problems: too much or too little
2. Medications: Many drugs can cause hair loss including commonly used Ibuprofen, Aspirin, Cimetidine, (Tagamet), blood pressure medications and antidepressants.
3. Excess Vitamin A
4. Poor diet, or excessive dieting
5. Chronic sleep loss
6. Chronic Yeast imbalance.
7. Emotional and physical stress: Typically hair loss occurs 2 to 3 months after a major stress such as divorce, death, surgery, or illness.
FEMALE PATTERN BALDNESS is due to an imbalance of sex hormones. There is hair loss from the top of the head, not all around. The hair is usually thinner, causing wimpy ponytails or a wider midline hair part. Many women also develop pimples, acne, or facial hair. The problem here is too much male hormone compared with female hormones. Some women’s bodies make too much testosterone known as DHT, (Dihydrotestosterone). DHT is good and bad- good because it gives us a strong sex drive, bad because too much can thin our hair and give us a moustache.
If you are using testosterone without enough estrogen you can also develop this problem.
Finally, the problem can be inherited. Check out your Mom’s scalp, consider your grandmother’s locks, any similarities? If so, consider hormone testing and bioidentical hormone support.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Have your doctor take some blood tests. Exclude mineral deficiency by measuring iron stores with a CBC, ferritin, and also check magnesium levels with a red blood cell magnesium. More minerals can be measured by specialty labs, but insurance may not cover these. Exclude thyroid problems with a TSH, free T3 and free T4, and a reverse T3. Check your DHT and androstenedione level. Take this article to your doctor.
MY NUMBER ONE HAIR LOSS SUPPLEMENT is Biotin, 15-30 mg/day. Unfortunately you’ll have to wait 2 to 3 months for the hair to grow up the hair shaft to see results. If you have an inherited female pattern loss you may need Zinc 25-50 mg/day and Saw Palmetto 320 mg/day. Be aware that too much zinc can lower your copper- so I recommend working with a knowledgeable integrative health practitioner.
So ladies don’t put up with dwindling scalps- eat well, sleep soundly, and make sure your hormones are balanced.