One in five women with hair loss feel neglected by doctors

By Siski Green , Monday 21 May 2012

Five million women in the UK experience hair loss, causing devastating psychological effects, but many of them feel that their problem is written off as cosmetic
Hairbrush with hair clumpsHair loss can cause devastating psychological effects

Put your mind to it and you can probably come up with several examples of bald men who are considered sexy. First there was Yul Brynner, then Bruce Willis, now Patrick Stewart and Jason Statham.

But there are few bald women in the public eye. So when a woman goes through hair loss the psychological effects can be devastating. And yet female baldness isn’t being treated as the medical concern it really is, with many women feeling that their doctors are dismissing their problem as cosmetic and therefore not of great importance.

Around five million women experience hair loss at some point in their lives – it’s often connected with a drop in hormonal levels (such as if you stop taking hormone replacement therapy), diabetes, thyroid problems, as well as some medications. For some women, however, it is related to stress (stress alopecia) with hair loss occurring all over the scalp rather than in patches. And now a study published in the the Journal of Applied Cosmetology reveals how such hair loss affects women.

Researchers followed women with genetic hair loss over a two-year period, assessing their psychological wellbeing throughout. They found that if the hair loss is left untreated women are likely to suffer with long-term psychological problems. The study participants were given a six-month treatment to control further hair loss and improve the appearance of their hair. This included topical treatments such as laser therapy and supplements containing niacin and Marilex, a fish extract.

All participants – both those who had severe or moderate hair loss at the start of the study – showed psychological improvements at the end of the treatment, with reduced anxiety and depression, and an increase in self-esteem and social interaction.

Further research undertaken by Nourkrin asked 2000 women how they felt about hair loss – 45% said that losing their hair was their worst fear, rated as more worrying than sagging skin or putting on weight. “Many women believe that an unidentified health issue is causing their hair loss,” says Dr. David Kingsley, leading trichologist and president of the World Trichology Society. “This can then become a vicious cycle where stress exacerbates the hair loss, making the woman more concerned... and thus more hair loss occurs.”


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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  • Olga

    Posted: Wednesday 21 November 2012

    I was loosing my hair and found no help from my doctor. An articule in a News paper recomended Regain for women that I bough at my local farmacy, in 4 months I had all my hair back! sadly after 3 years I developed side effects and had to change to a natural product,Thymuskin, wich I buy online, it has been very effective in holding on to my hair but it is expensive!

  • Mylash

    Posted: Monday 08 October 2012

    Hair loss is an often overlooked complaint. www.Mylash.org offers a treatment to boost eyelash and eyebrow. We are run by British doctors and only use evidence based treatments

  • Lesley Hargraves

    Posted: Thursday 24 May 2012

    My hairdresser recommended Kelp tablets and six months down the line my hair is deffinitely improving. so I pass that tip on. They are cheap at £2.99 for 250 tablets from a herbal shop. Try them - they are good for thyroid probs too I understand.

  • Doreen ONeill

    Posted: Wednesday 23 May 2012

    I agree with the above article and in my case, my GP told me it was just part of getting older and there was nothing to be done. When I asked about being referred to a Tricologist I was told that was not possible on the NHS even although I was feeling very depressed about my hair loss. I asked about going privately to a Tricologist (even although being on a pension I really could not afford it) my GP said I would be paying money out and get no result.

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