Hair Loss in Women

I’m not asking for medical advice, I’m asking if I should be asking for medical advice (from a real live doctor in person).

I’m 46 years old, and I’m losing my hair. Not in patches, but all over my head as far as i can tell…its not obvious yet, careful grooming hides my scalp, but if I’m not careful, yes, you can see my scalp.

I came into this world with a thick head of hair and I had planned to go out that way too.

The question is, since the woman in my family don’t have a history of early hair loss. should I be seeing a doctor to see if this is a symptom of something serious, or should I just head to the drugstore for the Rogaine?

Well, as a proud victim of male pattern baldness I can tell you that there is such a thing as female pattern baldness, which fits your description. My maternal grandmother had it, just a general thinning all over the head to the point where wigs were needed to keep from looking “peculliar”.
Wouldn’t hurt to ask the doc on your next visit, though.

Thanks for the answer Sky King, I knew of its existance, but like I said, no family history of female pattern baldness…male, on the other hand, yeah, we got that covered.

I feel like I say this a lot, but have you had your thyroid levels checked? That was happening to me and getting my thyroid levels fixed up did help.

Though I think it is more in patches rather than all over, various hormones such as in the birth control pill, depo-provera and IIRC, some hormone replacement therapy products can cause hair loss as well. If you are taking any of these things, mention it to your doctor at the same time.

I guess I should have mentioned this in the OP, but I am not taking medication of any kind. Haven’t been to a doctor for years, but since I do have health insurance now, I know I should. I feel fine however, so its been easy to put it off, it took vanity for me to even consider going.

I’m 43, female, and my hair is thinning just a tad around the front. It’s not that noticeable but I am using Nioxin to try to keep the thinning at bay.

My sister who has thyroid issues also has thinning hair. I have thyroid issues but my hair isn’t thinning. I’ve go have a physical.

StG

Hair loss in women can also be related to Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
Definitely worth getting this checked out!

Thanks everyone!

A little know fact is that hair loss in a percentage number of women occurs for the very same reasons as in men. This site discusses some of them:

http://www.aocd.org/skin/dermatologic_diseases/female_pattern_hai.html

Here is a quote from another site ( http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/hair-loss/understanding-hair-loss-basics)

"Androgenic alopecia is another form of hair loss. It’s a genetically predisposed condition that can affect both men and women. Men with this condition can begin suffering hair loss as early as their teens or early 20s, while most women don’t experience noticeable thinning until their 40s or later.

In men, the condition is also called male pattern baldness. It’s characterized by a receding hairline and gradual disappearance of hair from the crown. In women, androgenic alopecia is referred to as female pattern baldness. Women with the condition experience a general thinning over the entire scalp, with the most extensive hair loss at the crown."

Basically the gene for androgenic baldness responds to male hormones. Post puberty, men have high levels of androgens - testosterone is one of these - but women have androgens too; in fact androgens are a necessary component of the female reproductive hormones.

The androgenic hormone’s effects in premenopausal women are lessened by the much higher levels of estrogen, but are present, and with time do cause thinning. With the onset of menopause, estrogen levels drop and the androgenic effects are increased.

Note: the long term effects of androgens can be seen in the increasing nose/ear/beard/body hair with age in males, as the same hormones cause the scalp follicles on the top of the head to decrease hair production.

Treatments can include several drugs (Rogaine as an example) or wigs, or hair transplant surgery.

Hope this helps.

Me, too. Same age exactly. My hair is thinning at the front top. In the nasty light of the office bathroom, I can see a real resemblance to my (bald) brother.

I hate that bathroom light. It just makes me look so… scalpy. I keep meaning to try some of the hair stuff, but haven’t yet bought Rogaine for Gals.

I am near 28, and my hair has been steadily thinning for ten years now. As far as I know, it’s part of the unfortunate pile of side-effects that go along with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, especially considering there aren’t any patterns of baldness in any of my natural family members that I am aware of.

It’s recently gotten to the worry stage for me, because I feel like at this rate in another ten years I will be having the same issues as the OP, with scalp showing through. About the same time I noticed my ponytail was only about an inch across, I felt tiny bristly new hair growing close to my head and realized I was clogging my hairbrush every second time I used it.

GillianBoardman, could this have been a very gradual thing for you, and you’re just now noticing its severity? I second the suggestion that you speak with your doctor about checking your thyroid and hormone levels, as something like this is likely to be a symptom of an underlying cause. Topical treatments aren’t going to work as well to fight the hair loss if they’re competing with an unknown factor, so I’d say it’s better to know for sure.

Thanks for all your responses. I’ve always lost a lot of hair, but it was very thick, and usually long, so I’m sure it looked like more than it really was. I wondered, but as my ponytail was still nice and thick I didn’t worry. I’ve noticed the thinning for some time, but have been in “lalala, if I ignore it it’ll go away” mode, mostly because I didn’t think anything could be done. I do have insurance now, and haven’t had a physical or tests of any kind for years, so even without this its time. My daughter had to have half of her thyroid removed, so perhaps it is thyroid related. Thanks again, time to stop hemming and hawing, and have a look under the hood.