Hair Loss and Aging for Women

Older woman sitting on park bench, thinking and smiling.Concern for one’s health is a natural reaction to hair loss, as losing hair is a symptom of several major and minor health conditions. However, many cases of alopecia (the medical term for hair loss) are simply a result of the natural aging process. Though most alopecia sufferers are male—up to 80% of men display signs of male pattern baldness by the time they reach 70— over half of women will experience hair loss at some point in their lives. By the time they reach age 50, 25% of women develop female pattern hair loss (FPHL), with that number more than doubling over the next three decades of their life.

 

In addition to the differences in the prevalence of alopecia in men and women, the type of hair loss differs based on the sufferer’s sex. While men’s hair loss tends to manifest in the form of receding hairlines and bald patches, women tend to experience an overall thinning of the hair and rarely see their condition progress to a state of total baldness.

 

Although hair loss in women is less likely to result in complete baldness, the condition still causes far greater psychological distress for women than male sufferers. For many women, hair carries significant meaning; more than just a part of their body, it is a symbol of beauty, sexuality, and femininity. Hair is an important part of their overall identity and how they express themselves in the world, and the loss or deterioration of this feature can have significant effects on a female sufferer’s self-esteem, body image, anxiety levels, and overall ability to function socially. This isn’t to say male sufferers aren’t affected emotionally by losing their hair; just under 30% of men suffering from alopecia report feeling “very-to-extremely upset” by their hair loss. However, society’s understanding of male pattern baldness and general acceptance of men with little to no hair often results in a less traumatic experience for the patient.

 

Unfortunately, most cases of hair loss that are related to aging in female patients is permanent if left untreated (the exception to this is hair loss triggered by menopause, which will often reverse itself after 6-24 months). However, there is a silver lining; so long as a physician has confirmed there is no other underlying condition causing the hair loss, FPHL is not dangerous and does not require treatment if the patient is comfortable with their appearance.

 

Because a woman’s hair is often so vital to her self-esteem and psychological well-being, many patients experiencing FPHL do seek out treatment to alleviate their symptoms. There are many options to treat hair loss, and choosing the right one is essential to obtaining the desired results. The internet is littered with ads for a variety of pills and creams that promise miraculous results, but these quick-fixes often end in disappointment for the consumer. The best course of action is to consult with a physician that specializes in hair loss and seek out treatments approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Minoxidil is the only medication approved by the FDA for FPHL and is available as a solution or foam that is applied directly to the scalp. Though not designed specifically for hair loss, other medications such as spironolactone or birth control pills may also be used if minoxidil is not effective.

 

Low-Level Light Therapy Treatment Process

Low-level light therapy (LLLT) is another treatment method that is preferred by many physicians and patients due to its ability to assist in hair regrowth with few or no side effects for the patient. With LLLT, lasers are used to penetrate the scalp and stimulate the follicle beneath, resulting in better cellular respiration and overall function. The use of light as the primary treatment component means this particular method is non-invasive and easy to administer. Traditionally, these treatments have been offered in the offices of hair restoration specialists and have required patients to visit their doctors to receive the treatment. The LaserCap® is a photomedicine device that eliminates the need for in-office LLLT treatments, as it provides the optimal laser light power and coverage for full scalp treatment in the form of a portable, east-to-use cap that can be worn in the comfort of your own home or while on-the-go. If you’d like to discuss the LaserCap® as a treatment option with a physician, find a LaserCap® doctor near you by using our online directory.

 

Though it can be difficult, it’s important to accept that hair loss frequently occurs with age. The prevalence of this issue, however, means there are an abundance of treatment and support options available to sufferers to help them be their most confident, beautiful self.

 


About LaserCap® Company – Transdermal Cap, Inc. was formed in 2006 by co-inventors Michael Rabin, MD and M.I.T.-trained optical physicist David Smith, PhD, in collaboration with Harvard-based photomedicine expert Michael Hamblin, PhD and internationally acclaimed hair restoration physician Robert Haber, MD, to develop innovative light-based devices for the Global Beauty & Health Industries. Its first commercial product is LaserCap® for women and men with thinning hair or at risk for thinning hair, a condition that affects up to 50% of adult women and 80% of adult men.  Patents pending, Copyright 2009 Transdermal Cap, Inc.  

Hair Loss and Thyroid Dysfunction

The thyroid has a surprisingly important role in the body relative to its size. This small, butterfly-shaped gland in the neck produces a hormone (aptly named thyroid hormone, or TH) that regulates your body’s temperature, metabolism, and even your heartbeat. If this little gland starts producing too much or too little TH, however, the symptoms can affect a wide variety of bodily functions.

Many early symptoms of thyroid dysfunction go untreated due to the fact they can reasonably be attributed to other factors. Feeling sluggish and gaining a little weight, for example, are easy to dismiss as a part of getting older. It is often when the illness progresses and symptoms become more prominent and affect other parts of the body that patients begin to realize there is an issue.

Thinning hair is a common symptom for people whose thyroid is producing both too much (hyperthyroidism) or too little (hypothyroidism) TH. With hypothyroidism, hair becomes dry and brittle and can easily break or fall out, giving the appearance of thinning hair. In addition to the hair loss on their head, sufferers of hypothyroidism can experience hair loss or thinning on their arms, legs, or even eyebrows, while hyperthyroid patients generally only experience issues with the hair on their heads. The changes in and ultimate loss of hair is caused by the unnatural levels of TH interrupting the growth cycle of your hair. The hair growth cycle is broken down into three phases: growth (anagen), resting (catagen), and expulsion (telogen). TH imbalances rush follicles into the resting phase, where the hair stops growing and begins its journey to the surface of your scalp where it will ultimately fall out. When this happens to too many follicles, hair becomes thin and hair loss occurs.

The good news is hair loss that is caused by thyroid problems is often treatable with the help of a medical professional. The first step is visiting your physician and talking about your symptoms. They will likely order a blood test to determine the amount of TH in your body. In addition to medication that will bring the amount of TH in your system back to an appropriate level, some patients will seek out other treatments to reduce the symptoms they experience. For patients with thinning hair, low-level light therapy with the LaserCap® may be an effective way to slow, stop, or reverse hair loss.

 

Below is a list of common symptoms related to thyroid imbalances…if you’ve been experiencing any of these symptoms and suspect your thyroid may be to blame, schedule an appointment to talk to your doctor.­

  • Fatigue
  • Emotional irregularities such as depression or increased anxiety
  • Lack of concentration or “brain fog”
  • Changes in taste and appetite
  • Unexplained weight gain or loss
  • Low libido
  • Hair thinning and hair loss
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dry skin or changes in skin texture
  • Digestive issues, especially constipation or diarrhea
  • Menstrual changes
  • Pain in muscles or joints
  • High blood pressure or high cholesterol
  • Inability to regulate temperature
  • Difficulty falling asleep or difficulty waking up, even after a full night’s sleep
  • Feeling hoarse or as if there’s a lump in your throat

 


About LaserCap® Company – Transdermal Cap, Inc. was formed in 2006 by co-inventors Michael Rabin, MD and M.I.T.-trained optical physicist David Smith, PhD, in collaboration with Harvard-based photomedicine expert Michael Hamblin, PhD and internationally acclaimed hair restoration physician Robert Haber, MD, to develop innovative light-based devices for the Global Beauty & Health Industries. Its first commercial product is LaserCap® for women and men with thinning hair or at risk for thinning hair, a condition that affects up to 50% of adult women and 80% of adult men.  Patents pending, Copyright 2009 Transdermal Cap, Inc.

What are the different types of Hair Loss?

Is hair loss hereditary?  Does it come from stress and trauma?  In today’s blog post, we discuss the different types of hair loss along with newer, effective treatments available today for managing hair regrowth.

Hair loss can occur from a variety of ways, typically categorized by the hair growth cycle.  These three cycles are called anagen, catagen and telogen.

Most of the hair on your scalp is in a growing phase for 2-6 years.  This is called the anagen phase which occurs while your hair is growing.  The hair follicle forms a new hair on the shaft at this point.  The catagen phase comes next and only lasts 1-2 weeks, however only 1% of the hair on your head is going through this transition phase.  In the telogen phase, the hair is at a resting state.  Some hair will fall out as this stage which lasts 3-4 months.  It is normal to lose about 100 hairs a day.

Androgenetic Alopecia, hair loss that is inherited, starts in the anagen phase causing the growth cycle to become shorter and shorter.  The hair follicles also start producing thinner hairs, until the follicles disappear.  Alopecia Areata is caused by the immune system mistakenly attacking the hair follicles, and becomes worse at the telogen phase, throwing the hair into the rest period too soon.  Another type of hair loss occurring in the telogen phase, telogen effluvium, can be caused by many different things.  This occurs when large amounts of hair enter the resting phase which causes shedding and thinning.  This can be caused by physical stress, recent traumatic experiences, poor nutrition, changes in hormone levels such as those occurring after child birth, or even as a side effect from a medicine.

There are some types of hair loss that are not affected by the growth cycle, the common ones being traction alopecia and trichotillomania.  Trichotillomania is a psychological disorder which consists of obsessive compulsive behavior where the patient is pulling hair out of their scalp, eyelashes or eyebrows.  The patient does this in order to feel a tension release afterward.  Tractor alopecia occurs directly around the hairline and is caused by physical trauma to the scalp, such as tight braids or ponytails.

Treatment for hair loss has come a long way in recent years.  The LaserCap and LCPRO are wireless devices that have changed the way we look at treating hair loss.  Whether it’s hair thinning or hair loss, these devices can help change the way you look and feel.  Laser hair therapy is an effective treatment to aid either in pre or post op hair transplant patients.  One of the great benefits of using these products is the fact that patients do not need to change their normal routine in order to do treatment; patients may go about their day and treat on their own time, whether they’re at home, work or on the go.  Effective in treating many different types of hair loss, the LaserCap and LCPRO make the process of treating the patient more effective and convenient.

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