What Causes Hair Loss During Menopause Why Could Hormone Replacement Treatment Help
During menopause, youre likely experiencing a lot of changes, from irregular periods to night sweats and mood changes. Thinning hair can also occur in post-menopause. Many women notice that hormone replacement treatment can help reduce hot flashes and may even help their hair. However, what is it about menopause that makes your hair more vulnerable? In many cases, its hormones.
Losing Locks How Hormonal Imbalances Cause Hair Loss
A full head of hair is always in stylewhether its cut in a pixie, pulled back in a ponytail, or tumbling over your shoulders. But hormone imbalances work against a healthy, thick mane and can cause a lot of heartache and hassle for your locks. If you feel like your strands are looking less shiny, dry, or not as full, your hair growth cycle may be getting interrupted, and your hormones might be to blame.
Menopause And Hair Loss: Whats The Connection
When entering the years of menopausal transition, it is a good idea to check the bodys hormone levels. This can help explain symptoms such as hair loss.
When a person experiences hair loss and other symptoms of menopause, it is predominantly due to hormonal changes. With age, the ovaries begin to decrease the amount of sex hormones that are normally produced. As the body responds to the fluctuations in hormones, numerous physical changes occur. Menopausal hair loss is directly related to the decreased production of estrogen and progesterone.
As these hormone levels drop, hair may begin to grow more slowly and become thinner. Over time, the decrease in estrogen and progesterone causes an increase in the activity of male hormones that the body makes. Androgens cause the hair follicles on the head to shrink, which leads to hair loss. These are the same hormones that are responsible for increased facial hair growth in menopausal people.
Among other factors that contribute to hair loss are lack of nutrients, stress, and illness. A health care provider may suggest tests for basic blood count, thyroid function, or hormone levels to identify the cause of hair loss.
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How Hormone Replacement Treatment Affects Your Hair
Most of us have heard about hot flashes and mood changes during menopause, but what about hair thinning? Many women experience hair loss during menopause, but hormone replacement treatment may be able to help. Thinning hair during menopause can seriously affect your sense of well-being and your self-esteem. However, youre not alone with menopausal hair loss. An estimated 21 million women in the U. S. will experience hair loss at some point in their lives, many of them during and after menopause. Our providers can help you determine underlying causes of hair thinning during menopause and help you find personalized treatment plans to help you feel better.
Hormone replacement treatment can help improve your quality of life during menopause.
Hair Loss Is Often Caused By Genetics
Its important for women to realize that a lot of why they may experience hair loss is influenced by genetics and the aging process, says Bruce. A genetic cause doesnt mean that its necessarily something youve inherited directly from your mom or dad, she adds.
There are multiple different genes related to hair loss, and this is a very complex interplay of many genes. You shouldnt assume youve done anything to cause your hair loss, especially if you are otherwise healthy, says Bruce.
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What Can I Do
- The appearance of menopausal hair loss can sometimes be improved by cosmetic practices, e.g. reducing the use of straighteners, hair dryers and other heat damaging tools. This along with the use of thickening shampoos and conditioners may improve hair appearance.
- A healthy, varied diet is a contributing factor to a healthy body, so a nutritional review may be helpful.
- Topical solutions to increase hair growth can be purchased. These take several months to take effect and must be used on an ongoing basis, or hair loss will return.
- Laser devices that emit low-energy laser light may stimulate hair growth to help fight thinning hair. Laser therapy is best carried out by a hairdresser or therapist with experience and training on these devices. The long-term safety and effectiveness are unknown.
- Some medications have side effects that could include hair loss. Make sure to talk to your doctor if youve noticed significant hair loss and you think that your medicine might be the cause.
- An important function of hair is to protect the scalp from sunlight it is therefore important to protect any bald areas of your scalp from the sun to prevent sunburn and to reduce the chances of developing long-term sun damage.
- Be reassured. Most menopause related hair loss does slow down with time.
How Estrogen Affects Hair During Menopause
It is inevitable that the anxieties increase in women who have entered the menopause period. There are many questions about menopause, which has a very important place in womens life. Apart from hot flashes, weight gain decreased sexual desire and loss of thinning and elasticity of the skin, one of the things women are most concerned about is hair loss. In the female body that produces both estrogen and testosterone before menopause, hair loss is faced because the level of estrogen hormone together with menopause is less effective against testosterone hormone. With the continuation of the menopause process, hair loss can also increase.
The hair loss mechanism of women in this period is similar to that of men. Therefore, treatments for male pattern hair loss can be applied in its treatment. Menopause increases hair loss, but not every woman who enters the menopause will necessarily lose her hair. Because, in addition to hormones, genes also have an effect on hair loss during womens menopause. Approximately two-thirds of women who enter menopause have hair loss. Others only have thinning hair.
In the majority of polycystic ovarian patients, the male-type hair loss that develops as a result of the effect of increased androgen hormones and the hormone balance that deteriorates in women is a significant complaint, and with the treatment of the disease, hair loss stops and the hair grows again.
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Dr Roach: Hair Fullness Often Returns After Estrogen
Dear Dr. Roach: For the past five years, I have been using vaginal estrogen. I was first given Estradiol Cream. I have always had very thick, curly hair. In less than a week, I started noticing hair coming out in my hands when washing it. Within a couple of months, my hair started to look thinner. Five years after starting the cream, my hair is noticeably thinner.
My urogynecologist said that topically applied estrogen cream could not cause hair loss, since only trace amounts get into the bloodstream. He agreed to change to a bioidentical estriol cream made by a compounding pharmacy.
The same problem occurred with the estriol. If I discontinue use of the creams, will my hair eventually revert to its usual thickness?
Most women use estrogen cream to combat a thinning of the lining of the vagina vaginal atrophy. This is something that happens after menopause due to a decline in estrogen levels. It can cause painful intercourse, a feeling of dryness or even a burning sensation. Topical estrogen is used to relieve the symptoms by improving the elasticity of the vaginal tissue.
Estradiol and estriol certainly are absorbed by the body, even when used topically. The blood levels are measurable, and they are shown to be absorbed nearly as well as they are orally enough to affect other hormones in the body.
Since systemic estrogen can cause hair loss, I think its entirely plausible that the estrogens you have used are causing your hair loss.
Coping With Hair Loss
While losing hair at a young age may be concerning, hair loss is a reality for many people as they age. One study posted to the Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology, and Leprology noted that up to 75% of females would experience hair loss from androgenetic alopecia by the time they are 65 years old.
While many females look for ways to treat hair loss while they are young, at some point, most people accept hair loss as a natural part of the aging process.
Some people may choose to wear head garments or wigs as a workaround to hair loss. Others work with their aging hair by wearing a shorter haircut that may make thin hair less apparent.
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Sex Hormones Not Just For Reproduction
PREGNANCY: Remember all that hair that you didnt lose when you were pregnant? I loved my luxurious pregnancy hair so strong, thick and shiny. It wasnt me who had the pregnancy glow, it was my hair! Pregnancy increases the number of hair follicles in the anagen phase. The enhanced supply of estradiol and progesterone in pregnancy are particularly nurturing to hair, expanding the growth phase and preventing shedding. Little did I know that at about 3 months postpartum, when my hormones were trying to re-equilibrate themselves and adjust to a new normal, my hair would all come out in clumps, washing down the drain, falling out so fast it was a seeming miracle any of it actually remained attached to my head.
Hair changes in pregnancy are common however, every woman is different and therefore hair changes are all individual. If hair loss is experienced in the postpartum period, most women will experience a full recovery, although the process may be slow.
MENOPAUSE: Along those lines, when the levels of estradiol and progesterone fall in menopause, hot flashes and night sweats are not the only symptoms that seemingly appear out of nowhere. What many women are unaware of and unprepared for is the fact that they may also find themselves facing hair thinning. And just like the postpartum hair loss, it has everything to do with hormones. However, unlike the postpartum period, hair loss in menopause is irreversible, unless hormone replacement therapy is introduced.
The Treatment Of Female Pattern Hair Loss
Drug treatments can be divided into the androgen-dependent and androgen-independent in terms of their mechanisms of action.
Today, the only approved androgen-independent treatment is minoxidil topical solution. It is thought to affect the hair life cycle and provide an early termination of the telogen period and prolong the anagen phase. It has a potassium channel opening effect and its mechanism of action is still not very clear. It has been found that they stimulate new vessel development around the hair follicle and hair growth factors . It has properties to increase the number and weight of the hair. Only 2% of the form has approval in FPHL. The 5% solution is effective but side effects such as local and facial hair growth are observed.
Minoxidil 2% is applied 1 ml twice a day. It should be used for at least 12 months to evaluate its effect. After the activity is provided, it should be continued without cutting. It should be known that telogen effluvium, ie shedding, can be triggered after discontinuation. There may also be a temporary increase in shedding in the first months of treatment. Its side effects are often allergic to propylene glycol and contact dermatitis. Since the 5% foam form does not contain this content, there is less possibility of side effects. It has been shown that the use of 0.025% retinoic acid and 0.05% betamethasone Dipropionate together with minoxidil is more effective in FPHL.
- Cyproterone Acetate
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Female Pattern Hair Loss In General
Hair loss in women is usually caused by hormonal causes or mineral deficiency in the body. This situation may not be prevented with methods such as zinc, vitamin B supplements, and mesotherapy. Hair loss may occur if there is a problem in the absorption of these minerals due to zinc or selenium deficiency and chronic intestinal disease. Rheumatic diseases can also cause this problem. In these cases, the problem of baldness or hair loss improves when the missing mineral is replaced or the disease is treated.
Androgenetic hair loss, which is caused by a lack of minerals in the body, is observed in 90 percent of men and 45-50 percent of women. Androgen hormone in men and women plays a variable role in the emergence of this condition, such as genetic predisposition and aging and stress that will trigger these two causes. If the person is genetically predisposed and has the androgen hormone in his body, his hair will be lost at some point in his life. Hair loss can occur in approximately 30 percent of men aged 30 and 40 percent of those aged 40.
Are There Complications/side Effects Of Treatment
Minoxidil may irritate your scalp and cause dryness, scaling, itching and/or redness. See your dermatologist if this happens.
With Minoxidil you might also see hair growing in other places other than your scalp . Wash your face after you apply Minoxidil and make sure you avoid other areas when you apply it.
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How Is Progesterone Linked To Hair Loss
As a vital hormone, progesterone contributes to a number of important functions within the body. For women, this includes the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause.
A lack of progesterone can lead to a variety of health issues, including hair loss. But why?
In the case of hair loss, progesterone is actually a natural inhibitor of 5-alpha-reductase. This is an enzyme that converts testosterone into DHT, and DHT is believed to be the main cause of pattern hair loss in both men and women.
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Without the presence of progesterone , 5AR is able to perform its converting activities. This means more DHT is produced, triggering further hair thinning and loss in those with Androgenetic Alopecia .
Ready To Get Your Hair Back
Youre a special, unique individual, and the underlying factors that are contributing to your hair thinning are unlike anyone elses. In order to suggest treatments that may work, our provider performs a thorough evaluation and talks to you in-depth about your health, your life, and your goals.
If youre ready to find out how we might help, book an appointment at our office in Rockville, Maryland.
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The Hair Follicle Cycle
The hair follicle cycle is divided into three main distinct phases: the anagen, the catagen, and the telogen . Some authors also identify one additional phase: the exogen.
Hair growth phases: anagen , catagen , telogen , exogen .
The most prolonged phase is the anagen, which lasts 27 years. It is also called the growing phase. During this phase, cells divide rapidly at the lower part of the hair, while matrix cells migrate outward.
The catagen phase is a short transition period, which is defined as involution or regression. This phase lasts around three weeks. During this phase, the hair shaft loses the connections from the papillae and contracts.
The telogen phase can also be referred to as the resting stage. This phase can last about three months and is described as the regression of the matrix and retraction of the papilla to a location near the bulge. There is no significant proliferation or apoptosis during this phase.
The exogen phase is an additional distinct phase where the active hair shaft and new hair continue to grow.
At any given time, up to 8590% of the hair on the scalp remains in the anagen phase, whereas the remaining follicles are either in the catagen phase for 2% of the time or in the telogen phase for the remaining 1015% of the time . However, this percentage of telogen hair can be overestimated, with novel data indicating that only 3.6% remain in the telogen phase .