Things Women Should Know About Menopause And Hair Loss
Women expect hot flashes and mood swings to occur during “the change,” but many women are unaware and unprepared for the fact that they may also find themselves facing hair loss and thinning during this time as well. After menopause, about 40 percent of women experience hair thinning, which is almost the same rate as men. But if this is true, why don’t we see bald women on the street? Unlike male pattern hair loss, hereditary hair loss in women is usually a lot subtler and it can be easy to miss the early warning signs. Women tend to experience thinning over a wide area of scalp, and for many, the first signs and symptoms may come in the form of a smaller ponytail, a wider part line or excessive shedding during brushing and showering.
Hair loss before, during or after menopause — as well as after childbirth — is commonly attributed to hormonal changes. And while most physicians agree that replacing these hormones can alleviate many of the other troubling symptoms of menopause, unfortunately, hormone replacement alone does not seem to radically alter a woman’s “follicular fate,” and can even sometimes make matters worse.
Since September is Menopause Awareness Month, it is a good time to take a look at menopausal hair loss, to help women understand the causes of their hair loss as well as learn what they can do to treat it.
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Good News For Women In Perimenopause
The more you can pay attention to your hormone balance now, the less likely youll be to experience menopause hair loss. Why?
Physical and emotional stress are contributors for female hair loss. By learning to balance your life and manage your stress in a healthy way, you can help stave off menopause hair loss. Even better, youll likely be less apt to suffer from other unpleasant perimenopause symptoms, too. Give any of my nine ways to lower cortisol naturally a try!
Stress busting activities like high intensity interval training workouts can help keep your body well balanced from the inside out. Just ensure that you are varying high intensity workouts with rest days to provide your body appropriate recovery time.
Also, making sure that you get enough quality sleep is important for managing stress in midlife. The better rested your body is, the more efficiently it can work. This includes creating optimal conditions for your hair follicles. While you cant control your genetics, you can control your lifestyle stress that affects your hair growth.
Seeking out support groups of other women in midlife is another way to manage midlife stress. Finding women who are also experiencing menopause hair loss can give you a sense of reassurance and community. If you have social anxiety, meditation in menopause can help soothe your nervous system.
What About Supplements Or Treatments For Hair Loss Do They Work
There are a wide variety of supplements available that claim to help prevent or reverse hair loss. While many of their claims are not approved by the FDA, self-reported user results are positive. Biotin is a B vitamin that contributes to hair growth . It is advisable to check with your doctor before taking any type of supplement for any reason, especially if you have known thyroid issues.
There are topical hair growth stimulators that have good success rates. Minoxidil is the best known and best tested. It works extremely well to help increase the size of hair follicles so that hair continues to grow thickly. The downside of minoxidil is that it is a daily treatment, and it only works effectively when you are using it. That means if you stop using it, youll likely notice hair thinning or hair loss again.
If you like the idea of having more Biotin to plump up your hair but dont want to take a daily supplement, there are Biotin shampoos available. They claim to create optimal scalp conditions for growing thicker hair.
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What Can Be Done To Minimize The Weight Gain Caused By Menopause
Start adopting healthy lifestyle practices before menopause by exercising and eating well, so those good habits are in place. Aging is associated with changes in metabolism, decreased muscle and increased body fat. We are often less physically active the older we get, which is a large contributor to weight gain. Weight tends to deposit around the midsection, which can increase the risk of diabetes, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis and certain types of cancer . In addition to the negative impact on health, weight gain often leads to poor self-image and depression.
It is important to your overall health and well-being to adhere to a healthy diet and engage in regular physical activity. A healthy diet includes watching portion control and limiting amounts of sugar, processed carbohydrates, fat and processed foods. The Mediterranean diet has been shown to help with weight loss, improve cognition and decrease the risk of dementia and osteoporosis, as well as improve heart health. Weight-bearing exercises such as walking, Pilates and yoga help maintain posture, balance and core strength.
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Another way to treat hair loss is to undergo a surgical procedure. This is a surgery that uses a small piece of scalp, which contains hair follicles. The procedure is expensive and is not covered by insurance. If the balding area is large, it may not be possible to find sufficient hair for transplant. This method requires two surgeries, so the cost can vary from person to person. The surgery can be covered by your insurance provider, but it is not cheap.
Surgical procedures to correct the underlying problem are available as well. In some cases, doctors may use birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, or antiandrogen medications to correct the hormonal imbalances. If the cause of your hair loss is a psychiatric disorder, you will need to consult with a doctor to determine the best treatment options for you. Sometimes, you may need to undergo more than one surgery, so it is best to seek help from a dermatologist.
The first step in treating hair loss is to see a doctor. Your physician will run a blood test to determine the cause of your hair loss. This will help you choose the most effective treatment. Your doctor may prescribe a medication to stop your hair growth. Patients with psychiatric problems may also require special consultations and treatments. A therapist will be able to help you deal with your underlying psychiatric condition.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Menopausal Hair Loss
Women experiencing menopause hair loss tend to lose hair differently from men. Whereas men see pronounced areas of thinning in a classic horseshoe shape, women will experience menopausal hair loss as all over thinning. Because thinning hair during menopause is more uniform and subtle, you might not even notice it at first.
If youre worried about menopause hair loss, here are a few signs to look out for:
- Widening part
- More hair on your pillow, hairbrush, or shower drain
- Hair looks limp and is more difficult to style
- Hair breaks off more easily than usual
In rare cases, some women with menopausal hair loss experience pronounced thinning at the crown or the sides of the head.
The sooner you notice these signs of menopause hair loss, the easier it will be to treat it. So if youre going through the change, keep an eye out!
Finding The Root Cause Of Hair Loss Is Important
If youre bothered by your thinning hair or hair loss, a visit to your primary care doctor is a great place to start, says Bruce. Its likely that female pattern hair loss is probably the cause, but a clinical examination can confirm this, she says.
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If the hair loss doesnt follow the typical appearance of female pattern hair loss, your doctor will likely perform a few tests to explore potential causes.
- A complete blood count test is used to evaluate overall health and can detect many conditions, including anemia, which can cause hair loss.
- Thyroid function tests can reveal thyroid issues that may be related to thinning hair.
- A dietary assessment, or a discussion of what you eat, can determine whether you have a normal healthy diet and any vitamin deficiencies.
- Autoimmune inflammation Your doctor may investigate conditions related to inflammation in the scalp, including autoimmune diseases, which can be associated with hair loss, says Bruce.
- A hormone test may be performed, though a hormone imbalance is rarely the culprit in hair loss, says Faubion.
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Are There Other Treatment Options For Fphl
Women want innovative treatments for FPHL. To meet this need, researchers continue to look for new ways to stimulate hair growth and stop hair breakage. Other treatments that you may find for FPHL include the following.
Lasers for at-home use: The FDA has approved laser combs, helmets, and other devices, which are available without a prescription, to treat hair loss at home. These devices emit a low level of laser light that may help stimulate new hair growth. A few studies show that this can be effective for treating FPHL.
As with minoxidil and prescription medicines, you must continue using an at-home laser device to see results. We still do not know whether these devices are safe for long-term use or if they can continue to produce new hair growth.
Platelet-rich plasma therapy:
It is believed the platelets help stimulate your cells to grow hair.
Researchers are just beginning to study this therapy as a treatment for hair loss. The early findings show promise, but more studies are needed to know whether this is a safe and effective treatment for FPHL.
Stem cells: Using stem cells to treat FPHL is still in the experimental stages. Like platelet-rich plasma therapy, more studies are needed to know whether stem cells are a safe and effective treatment for FPHL.
Hair loss shampoos: These shampoos tend to do one of the following.
Help your hair hold moisture, which makes hair look fuller and thicker
Lessen breakage, which can reduce thinning
Wigs And Head Coverings
If hair loss is extensive, you may find that a wig or head covering can give a life-changing confidence boost. Wigs are widely available on the high street, online and from the NHS Alopecia UK has a thorough and informative guide here. Be aware of the latest concerns regarding the use of human hair and its link to modern slavery and trafficking. Leading hairdresser and wig maker Denise McAdam now only works with synthetic hair for this reason.
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Can Thinning Hair In Women Be Reversed
Regardless of the reason for your thinning hair, remember that there is a way for you to reverse it. You just have to identify the exact cause, so you can find the most appropriate solution for it. By finding the right treatment, you will be on your way towards bringing back the thickness, beauty, and luster of your hair.
How Do I Prevent Growing Facial Hair In Menopause
Growth of facial hair during menopause is typically caused by an increase in the ratio of androgen to estrogen. This does not necessarily point to a problem, but the increase in facial hair can be bothersome.
One of the best ways to prevent androgen excess is by eating a balanced diet rich in quality proteins, complex carbohydrates, and colorful fruits and vegetables. When the body is getting too many refined carbohydrates, such as simple sugars, white bread or pasta, it produces more insulin. And one of the ways the body can respond to high insulin is by increasing androgen production.
Other ways to prevent unwanted hair growth include balancing your hormones, taking a high-quality multivitamin to fill in any nutritional gaps, reducing stress, and keeping your body fat under 30%. Both stress and excess fat can lead to increased androgen production.
Prevention is ideal because once facial hair is present, reduction techniques such as laser hair removal, IPL , or electrolysis are the only ways of achieving permanent removal. Waxing is also an option, though only temporary.
For more information on androgen dominance and hair growth and loss, read our article on coping with unwanted hair growth.
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How Menopause Causes Hair Loss In Women
With menopause comes symptoms that could include hair loss. It is estimated that around 40% of women experience hair loss by mid-life, and menopause can accelerate and exacerbate the issue. There are hair restoration options available, including hairline surgery in San Francisco. But first, what can you do to help slow it down?
The reasons women experience hair loss during menopause are:
HormonesDid you know that hormones contribute greatly to hair loss in women? Menopause is known to be a time when hormones can go awry, and an imbalance can amplify symptoms, including hair loss.
DietYour diet could be causing hair loss, especially during menopause and mid-life. It pays to eat a diet rich in Vitamins A and D, as well as one with plenty of iron and protein to fend-off hair loss and combat the symptoms of menopause.
LifestyleAnother reason why you may lose hair during menopause is stress do you lead a stressful life? Work on controlling your emotions, reducing your anxiety, and diffusing anger- all of which manifest in stress. Stress is very unhealthy to you physically, so reducing stress during menopause has many holistic benefits.
Use Exercise To Promote Hormonal Balance And Blood Flow
Exercise isnât just for strong muscles, it can help with general hormonal balance, reduce stress levels, and enhance healthy blood flow all around your body.
A regular supply of blood and nutrients to the hair follicles from great circulation may help your hair look its best.
Talk to your doctor about an exercise regimen that fits your needs, lifestyle, and current health conditions.
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What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider
- What is the cause of my hair loss?
- How many strands of hair am I losing per day?
- What type of hair loss do I have?
- Will my hair loss be permanent?
- Whats the best treatment for me?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Hair loss may cause you distress whether it happens because of genetics, a disease, or even stress. Know that there are some treatments you can try, and expert dermatologists are there to help you. Your hair loss may be able to be reversed. See your healthcare provider as soon as you notice something wrong because the sooner you start treatment, the better.