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    Women’s Wellness: Can women prevent hair loss?

a middle aged woman holding a tissue looking worries, sad, concerned or frightenedQuestion: I'm 60 years old, and I've noticed my hair starting to thin. What can I do to regain the fullness I used to have?

Answer: Age-related hair loss is common in women. About 55 percent of women experience some hair loss by the age of 70. The most common cause is female-pattern baldness, an inherited condition. It's characterized by gradual thinning of your hair, which may be noticeable as a widening part or a ponytail that's less hefty than it used to be.

Treatment with over-the-counter minoxidil foam (5 percent) may prevent further hair loss and result in improved hair density. Apply the product at bedtime to wet hair and wash it out when you wake. Then style your hair as usual. You'll need to commit to a six- to 12-month trial period because it takes three months to begin seeing any effect, and a few more months to determine whether it's really working for you. If it is helping, you'll need to continue using the medicine to keep your fuller hair. Insurance usually doesn't cover the cost of the product.

Talk with your doctor if the hair loss continues, as it may be an indication of another condition, such as alopecia areata.

You might want to try various hair care methods to find one that makes you feel better about how your hair looks. For example, use styling products that add volume, color your hair, choose a hairstyle that makes a widening part less noticeable, or use wigs or extensions. Always handle your hair gently.

This article is written by Dr. Lawrence E. Gibson and Mayo Clinic staff. Find more health and medical information on mayoclinic.org.