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Hair loss is challenging enough for men, but for women it can be devastating. Our culture accepts what doctors call male pattern baldness (even if many men aren’t crazy about the idea), but not balding women.
And while, genetically, hair loss runs in families, it’s almost always gifted to men. For women, there are other causes. So let’s talk about your hair:
Good nutrition is vital for healthy hair.
• Your hair doesn’t like junk food, period.
• Eat a palm-sized portion of high-quality, low fat-protein daily–good choices include fish, skinless chicken, eggs, or soy.
• Drinking enough water is essential: six 8-ounce glasses daily if you’re under 50, seven if you’re over 50, and eight glasses minimum if you’re working out.
• Make fruits and veggies your main menu, enjoying at least five half-cup servings of fresh fruit and vegetables daily (see our Friday recipes for ideas).
• Nutritionally oriented doctors, like myself, recommend a high-potency daily multivitamin, like Multiplex (with iron, if you’re having periods), along with extra zinc and a daily tablespoon of flaxseed oil mixed into your food or juice.
By far the most common cause of hair loss in women is stress.
• Make stress reduction a primary focus. Once stress is under control, your hair will start growing back.
• Do you have specific problems that need to be addressed? Something with your job, relationships, or finances? Pinpointing these issues can lead to problem-solving changes.
• Maybe the problem is how you react (or overreact) to situations that are just part of life, like traffic, crowds, or deadlines at work.
• For all the above, consider learning a stress reduction technique, like yoga, t’ai chi, or meditation.
The skin diseases psoriasis and eczema can cause hair loss.
• Ask your doctor for help, but be aware that stress is often a component of these conditions (see ideas above).
The most common medical condition causing hair loss is underactive thyroid.
• Your doctor can test your thyroid by measuring your TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) level.
• Remember: high TSH means low thyroid function. Even though many doctors wait for a TSH to reach 5 before starting treatment, a lot of doctors (including me) start treatment at 3.5.
• You can test yourself for underactive thyroid by measuring your basal body temperature as described in my book, The Triple Whammy Cure.
Be reassured that normal hair loss is from 50 to 150 strands a day.