What Can Be Done for Hairloss for Women Between 50-60 Years?

This is for my Mom who is suffering severe hair loss problem. She is not interested in hair transplantation.She wants a natural remedy that doesn't involve chemicals. One more thing about her is that she uses hair dye once in 2-3 weeks. I doubt if that is the cause.

Doctor Answers 5

Hair Loss

Hair loss in women is frequently caused by a shift in hormones around middle age.  Many things can contribute to the hair loss.  Often spironolactone, which blocks some of the androgen hormone effects, can be helpful for this kind of hair loss.  It is taken long term with relatively low doses and the side effects for most people are minimal.

As use of estrogen supplementation (which can also be helpful) has fallen off over the last years due its possible role in cancers and clotting disorders, spironolactone use has increased steadily.  

Chicago Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Hair loss treatments

There are both medical and surgical options for treatment of hair loss. The most important first step is determining the exact cause of hair loss. There are multiple causes for hair loss in women. In order to determine the exact cause of hair loss, a complete review of the patient’s medical history, detailed hair and scalp exam, and sometimes laboratory test(s) are necessary. Appropriate treatment and counseling can then be tailored to each patient’s needs. 

Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA), or hereditary hair thinning, is the most common form of hair loss in humans. This condition is also known as male-pattern hair loss or as female-pattern hair thinning. Onset may occur in either sex at any time after puberty and the majority of thinning occurs in the teens, 20s, and 30s.

The cause of hereditary hair thinning is a gradual shrinkage of the hair follicle which occurs under the influence of androgen hormones. Basically, the 5-alpha reductase enzyme converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in scalp hair follicles. In genetically susceptible scalp hair follicles, DHT causes the gradual transformation of large hair follicles to a finer and shorter hair (this process is called “miniaturization”).

Women with hereditary thinning usually first notice a gradual thinning of their hair, mostly on the central scalp, and their scalp becomes more visible. The patient may notice that her “ponytail” is much smaller. This widespread thinning of the scalp can vary in extent, but it is extremely rare for a woman to become bare on top. Examination of the scalp will show a patterned hair loss with the frontal hairline usually intact but thinning mostly on the central scalp. Although androgens play an important role in AGA, levels of circulating androgens in men or women with AGA are usually normal. Thus, extensive laboratory tests are usually not needed if the woman with hereditary thinning has normal menses, pregnancies, and endocrine function.

Minoxidil topical solution (Rogaine®) is the only medication indicated for promoting hair growth in women with AGA, resulting in increase hair counts and total hair weight (i.e. re-enlarge the fine hairs). Women with AGA may also consider Spironolactone (Aldactone®) which has less evidence to back its efficacy, but might be a good choice in women with hirsutism (excess body hair).

Finasteride (Propecia®) is a medication (5-alpha reductase inhibitor) that decreases levels of DHT. Although it is by far the most effective treatment of androgenetic alopecia in men, it is NOT FDA-approved for women.  Finasteride therapy for female-pattern hair loss has also been studied and has been shown to result in significant improvement in hair density and hair thickness at higher medication doses. It is therefore sometimes prescribed off-label. Pregnancy must be ruled out before initiating therapy and women should be maintained on strict birth control during treatment because it may pose a risk to the fetus.

Surgical options include hair transplantation where hair follicles are surgically moved from the “donor” occipital scalp (which is less susceptible to the effects of androgen hormones) to the thinned “recipient” areas (see photo above). Nonsurgical options include the use of camouflage techniques, such as creative coiffures (tinting, waving, and teasing) and scalp covers (powders or creams).  

Briefly, other causes for hair loss (particularly in women) include: thyroid disorders, inadequate dietary protein, or low levels of vitamin D or iron. These conditions are treated differently compared to androgenetic alopecia (i.e thyroid hormone if patient is found to be hypothyroid). Damage to the hair shaft by improper cosmetic techniques can cause hair breakage. However, you are correct in that there is little damage from normal dyeing, bleaching, waving or straightening. 

Hopefully this information helped! 

Sahar Nadimi, MD
Chicago Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Natural remedies for hair loss

Your mom may wish to consider having a complete examination by a dermatologist. There are 100 reasons to lose hair. Depending on the cause of the hair loss, the treatment may be completely different. 

There are many natural remedies for hair loss. Unfortunately, most of them don't work all that well. Be sure to see a physician who treats 1000s of patients with hair loss to understand all the options. 

Jeff Donovan, MD, PhD
Vancouver Dermatologist

Natural Hair Treatment Options

Well, in theory she is already using chemicals on her hair... If she does not want chemicals then it sounds like medications are out.  Hair transplant is actually a natural way of "thickening" ones hair because it is using the patient's own tissue just moving it to a different location.  Of course, a consult is needed to make sure she is a candidate and to review her medical issues but certainly a transplant could be a good option.  Good luck!

Hannah Vargas, MD
Kansas City Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Hairloss for Women Age 50-60

Fifteen percent of the patients I do hair transplants on are women.  They have to be patients with a specific type of hair loss where they have excellent donor hair on the back of the head but are bald on top.  If this is the type of hair loss your mom has there is no simple remedy because the follicles are already gone. 

Jack Fisher, MD
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.