A new study has revealed that female pattern hair loss affects many post-menopausal women, 70% of which were found to have abnormal hormonal levels in addition to their hair loss. Although medical treatment is available for this condition, researchers urge doctors and pharmacists to promote preventative measures with post-menopausal women at risk before irreversible changes in hair thickness occur.
This study was published online on October 16, 2014 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
Currently, post-menopausal women are known to have higher instances of female pattern hair loss than men. An estimated 70% of post-menopausal women have abnormal levels of estrogen and testosterone, which lead to changes in the hair follicles during the hormonal transition. Female pattern hair loss is characterized by diminished hair thickness in certain areas of the scalp (typically temporal regions) where hairs are lost at a faster rate than they grow back. Although many clinical treatments exist for this condition, no preventative measures currently exist for these afflicted individuals due to lack of awareness on the full scope of the issue – including its prevalence and effects when left untreated. Until now, no study has looked into the demographics surrounding female pattern hair loss in post-menopausal women.
Researchers, led by Dr. Samer Narouzi of University College London (UCL), looked at the prevalence of female pattern hair loss in post-menopausal women, its effect on their daily lives, and whether or not they would be interested in medical treatment for this condition – specifically using t o now finasteride, an FDA approved drug used to halt hair loss and promote follicle growth . Although just recently approved as a preventative measure for preoperative breast surgery patients , finasteride was previously known to treat male pattern baldness – which is where it got its name from. The team surveyed 5,000 post-menopausal volunteers (30% of which were taking hormonal contraceptives) between the ages of 45 and 65.
Unsurprisingly, researchers found that hair thinning was the most common complaint among women during this age group (with over half of the participants reporting it at their first consultation). However, Dr. Narouzi notes that these results are only representative of those who came in for a consultation; therefore there is likely much higher prevalence than these numbers suggest. In addition to its high frequency , adverse effects on lifestyle – including feelings of unattractiveness and low self-esteem were reported by more than 60% of post-menopausal women with female pattern hair loss . This study has revealed that post-menopausal women are clearly concerned about losing their hair as it affects their mental health, relationships, careers, and even hobby activities. With this in mind, researchers also looked at the effects of hair loss on quality of life and psychological well being.
In addition to describing their hair thinning, women were asked to describe any other side effects they may have been experiencing from female pattern hair loss – such as dry skin, excess facial hair , or mood changes . Researchers found that a significant number of for post-menopausal women had hormone abnormalities due to reduced estrogen and increased testosterone levels before any treatment started. Dr. Narouzi notes that some individuals may not realize they are suffering from hormone imbalances due to having no physical symptoms – but these levels could be affecting their appearance regardless . In fact, more than half of the participants studied had abnormal hormonal levels, and more than 40% of those included had noticeably thinning hair.
However, researchers found that none of the patients were even aware that they suffered from any hormonal imbalances – despite reporting such conditions as mood swings and decreased libido that are often present in those with high testosterone levels . It is important to note that this study has not discovered new information on female pattern hair loss; it has simply compiled data from a large pool of post-menopausal women who volunteered to provide information about their condition. Researchers hope to continue these studies by looking at a greater demographic with a larger sample size.
In conclusion, this study reveals several important facts regarding female pattern hair loss in post-menopausal women: firstly, its fairly prevalent among this group; secondly, its effects are just as impactful on women’s lives as male pattern baldness – if not more so – which poses the question of why is it still considered a “niche” area of research? Finally, researchers believe that post-menopausal women would be interested in starting finasteride treatment for hair loss and halting their hair thinning.