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When Your Hair (& Eyebrows) Become Sparse

By HERWriter
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Fifty percent of postmenopausal women have noticeable thinning of the hair on their scalp. The reason is most likely loss of estrogen which is protective of hair. You shed some hair naturally every day but the loss is considered significant if you start to see thinning behind the hairline or your part is widening.

One key thing to remember is re-growth (which may be a slow process) is a possibility 80 percent of the time.

The first step in minimizing the fallout is working with a doctor to identify why your hair is thinning. Also, your doctor may recommend a trichologist (hair and scalp specialist). Your doctor can determine whether your condition is temporary or chronic.

When it's temporary:

If your thinning is triggered by a specific event (childbirth or a high fever or a period of intense stress) it will probably manifest as excessive (more than 100 hairs a day) and sudden shedding. Once the trauma passes, your hair will grow back within a few months. And if a blood test traces your widening part to a thyroid imbalance, endocrine disorder (like polycystic ovarian syndrome), dietary deficiency, or a specific medication, your hair will most likely return to its former glory once the underlying issue is addressed.

When it's chronic:

The most common cause of female hair loss is androgenetic alopecia, a genetic condition in which new hair shafts grow in progressively thinner. Women usually notice a wider part and gradual reduction in overall volume, often with a concentrated thinning at the crown. The condition can begin any time after puberty but often becomes noticeable during and after menopause, when it's compounded by hormonal shifts.

If androgenetic alopecia is the culprit, you won't achieve full regrowth but you can effect improvement with one of the following treatments:

Minoxidil (Rogaine). The only Food and Drug Administration-approved medication for female hair loss. Applied topically, minoxidil prolongs the hair's growth phase. It's available over-the-counter in two and five percent formulas.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.