What Causes Hair Loss During Menopause
Hair loss occurs due to hormonal imbalance, as the levels of estrogen and progesterone are lower than normal. In cases when the levels of these hormones drop, the hair gets thinner and it grows more slowly as well.
On the other hand, the production of male hormones, known as androgens is increased, as the female hormones estrogen and progesterone decrease. Androgens also play a role in the hair loss during menopause as they shrink the hair follicles, contributing even more to hair loss. Androgens, also cause more hair to grow in places where it normally should not grow, such as on the face.
Even though during menopause hair loss is related to hormonal imbalance, there are many other factors that contribute to this unpleasant occurrence. A lack of certain nutrients, the presence of other diseases and even constant stress play an important role when it comes to hair loss during menopause. A complete blood count, including examination tests for thyroid hormones, is also necessary in order to rule out other possible factors that can contribute to hair loss.
When to Seek Help
When dealing with hair loss during menopause, you should seek professional medical help from your healthcare provider in the following cases:
Symptoms Of Menopause Hair Loss
Hot flashes, fatigue, weight gain, low libido and mood swings are all symptoms commonly associated with menopause. As if these arent all enough to deal with, research links menopause to female hair loss. According to Lovera Wolf Miller, M.D., member of the North American Menopause Society , noticeable hair thinning occurs in about half of all women by age 50, although it may begin any time after puberty. “Alopecia is actually as common in women as it is in men, but it’s less apparent because it rarely causes balding,” Dr. Miller says.
Is Hair Loss A Symptom Of Menopause
During all the hormonal changes of menopause, it often happen that the thyroid is under a lot of stress and slows down more that it should. Their is a very high incidence of new cases of hypothyroidism during menopause but often it will start showing signs a long time before medical test picks it up.
Medical tests only pick up thyroids that work at less than 50% of their potential. To avoid hypothyroidism, it is then important to strengthen the thyroid before it completely goes under. Taking Thyroid Support usually is the best strategy in this situation. The Thyroid Support from Vogel helps strengthen the thyroid, while Vital Energy from A.Vogel helps reduce the impact of menopause on the thyroid gland by reducing hormonal fluctuations.
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What Questions Might Your Healthcare Provider Ask To Diagnose And Categorize Your Hair Loss
Your healthcare provider might ask about your habits:
- What kinds of hair products do you use?
- What kinds of hair styles do you wear?
- What types of food do you eat ?
- Do you have a habit of pulling your hair out ?
They might ask about your history:
- Has anyone in your immediate family experienced hair loss?
- Is there anything stressful going on in your life?
- What medications and supplements do you take every day?
- Has hair loss ever happened to you before?
- What foods are in your diet?
And, they might ask about your observations:
- How long have you been losing hair?
- Have you been shedding more?
- Have you noticed hair loss in places other than your scalp, like your eyebrows? Leg and arm hair?
- Does anything worsen your hair loss?
- Does anything improve your hair loss?
- Have you noticed hair loss occasionally or has it been going on continuously?
- Have you noticed if your hair growth has changed?
- Has your hair been breaking more often?
What Can I Do
If you experience hair loss during menopause, then you can talk to your Certified Menopause Practitioner about your options for treatment.
Quick Aesthetic Fixes
If you want a quick fix to camouflage thinning hair while looking at treatment options, there are several things you can try. Hairstylists often recommend that women with thinning hair try a shorter haircut because long hair can make fine hair more obvious. Shorter cuts like a bob or a pixie are popular, as are layers that add volume and bangs to add texture. Some women wear hats when theyre feeling especially self-conscious.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
Because hormones play a part in hair loss during menopause, hormone treatments can be beneficial. Perimenopausal and menopausal women who are undergoing hormone replacement therapy with bioidentical hormone pellets may notice an improvement in hair growth during treatment. However, the HRT should be used to treat multiple symptoms of perimenopause and menopause. It is not recommended to use hormone replacement therapy to treat only hair loss.
Minoxidil, commonly known by the brand name Rogaine, is often prescribed for both men and women with hair loss. This medication is a vasodilator that widens the blood vessels to increase blood flow to the scalp and hair follicles. It is available over the counter or in prescription strength and comes in a spray, liquid solution, and foam form. Minoxidil must be used continuously to maintain hair growth.
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How Does Menopause Affect Sex
The loss of estrogen during menopause can change the tissues of the vagina, causing them to become thinner, dryer and less flexible. This can lead to vaginal irritation and painful intercourse, which can seriously interfere with the ability to become aroused and enjoy intercourse. Unlike other menopausal symptoms, which improve over time, vaginal symptoms will worsen if not treated. There are a number of non-hormonal and hormonal treatment options that are safe and effective. In some cases, pelvic floor physical therapy and sex therapy can be helpful. The UChicago WomanLab website provides information on vaginal moisturizers, lubricants and pelvic floor physical therapy along with vaginal estrogen treatments.
Hair Loss During Perimenopause
As a woman’s hair can often be an intrinsic aspect of her femininity, especially on middle-aged women, when perimenopause causes hair loss, although common, the experience can be highly distressing. Understanding what triggers this symptom is an essential step to effectively managing it. Read on to learn more about hair loss during perimenopause.
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Consider Changing Your Hair Style
There are certain styles and cuts that are especially flattering for women with thinning hair.
Cuts: Long hair can weigh down fine hair. Stylists recommend that women with thinning hair get frequent trims and that they add layers for volume. One especially flattering cut to try is a choppy bob another is a pixie. Uneven bangs can create depth and texture.
Color: Lowlights and highlights can add depth and dimension, which can make hair look more full. Lighter hair can make a visible part and scalp look less pronounced.
Styles: If you always part your hair on the right, try parting it on the left for added volume. A jagged part can hide a visible scalp, and can also make the top layers stick up, as if youve teased your hair. Blow drying creates volume as well. Loose waves, created with a diffuser and sea salt spray, can make hair appear thick and bouncy. So can curling your hair. A half-pony with the bottom half curled or left straight, and the top pulled up high, adds fullness and height. African-American women with thinning hair may want to try side bangs, twist outs, and updos with cascading hair and bangs, using the hair you have to cover the thinning spots.
How To Hide Thinning Hair After Menopause
If hair continues to thin after menopause and natural treatments have been ineffective, there are things that can help camouflage this issue. Some hair stylists will suggest shortening the length of hair. This adds volume and reduces the weight of hair. It can also help hide problem spots.
Some more permanent but also costly options include topical hair growth products, hair extensions, wigs, surgical hair transplants, and low-level laser scalp treatments.
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Why Menopause Affects Your Hair
Why might the menopause affect your hair? The answer, of course, is hormones. Lack of oestrogen could lead to a lacklustre mane.
“Hair loss during menopause is the result of lowered production of oestrogen and progesterone. These hormones help hair grow faster and stay on the head for longer periods of time. When the levels of oestrogen and progesterone drop, hair grows more slowly and becomes much thinner,” Denning explains.
Does the menopause cause hair loss?
An Introduction To Hair Loss And Menopause
Many women suffer from hair loss when going through menopause. Every person naturally loses between 50 and 100 hairs a day. If you begin to lose more than this, you may notice areas of baldness on your scalp, clumps of hair coming out when you wash or brush your hair, or thinning of hair around the front and sides of your scalp.
Hair is made from keratin, the same material as nails. This is produced by cell structures known as hair follicles lying beneath the scalp and the hair that people wash, brush and style is actually the dead secretions from these follicles. Individual strands of hair can stay on the head for up to six years before falling out.
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Is Menopausal Hair Loss Permanent
Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Menopause is a natural part of aging that brings with it a variety of changes to the way you look, think and feel.
Common symptoms during the transition to menopause include hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes, memory difficulties and issues such as vaginal dryness.
For many women, one of the changes that occurs during menopause is hair loss. Often referred to as menopausal hair loss, many women experience mild to moderate hair thinning during their late 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond.
If youre in menopause or perimenopause and have noticed that your hair appears thinner than usual, its important not to panic.
Like other common forms of hair loss, menopausal hair loss can often be treated and managed with lifestyle changes and medication.
Below, weve explained how and why menopausal hair loss occurs, as well as the early signs of hair loss you may notice if youre prone to menopausal hair loss.
Weve also explained how you can treat menopausal hair loss to maintain your hairs thickness, strength and appearance during menopause.
Can Menopause Cause Hair Loss We Asked Physicians
In the years preceding menopause, a female’s hormones go through fluctuations that can affect everything from her mood to her skin. According to the Mayo Clinic, these changes can occur in your 30s, but for most, they begin to happen around their 40s and early 50s. Whenever they do start, it’s important to remember that the menopausal transition is totally natural and not to be feared. Those with female bodies do, however, require support to navigate this time and figure out what’s happening internally . One concern for those who experience menopause is hair loss, which is associated with a decline of certain hormones.
Ahead, a gynecologist, naturopath, and dermatologist explain menopausal hair loss and offer recommendations on how to manage it.
Meet the Expert
- Kate Denniston, ND, is a licensed naturopathic doctor, trained in both conventional and alternative medicine. She specializes in helping women optimize their hormonal health and practices at Los Angeles Integrated Health.
- Lavanya Krishnan, MD, FAAD is a board-certified dermatologist specializing in medical and cosmetic dermatology and is the founder of Arya Derm in San Francisco.
- Nicole Williams, MD, FACOG, FACS is a board-certified gynecologist and founder of The Gynecology Institute of Chicago. She specializes in fibroids, minimally invasive hysterectomy, pelvic/sexual pain, heavy bleeding, menopause, and urinary incontinence.
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The Typical Hair Loss Experience
On average, a person loses around 100-200 hairs a day to allow for new hair growth. During menopause, when your hair is breaking, it may seem that you are losing more than the average amount. In reality, however, your hair is not falling out but breaking somewhere along the hair strand itself, giving the appearance of thinner hair.
What About Vitamins And Supplements
There are dozens of trendy supplements out there that claim to support hair growth, like those ridiculous gummies endorsed by the Kardashians. Hair growth supplements typically contain vitamin C, vitamin A, Omega 3 fatty acids, and biotin. While these vitamins may not be harmful, theyll do little to regrow hair or help thicken thinning hair.
Whats more, a healthy diet will provide all of those vitamins naturally. If youre already getting the nutrients you need, you dont need to take supplements.
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When To Seek Help
You should consult your doctor if:
- You are losing hair in an unusual pattern
- You are losing hair rapidly or at an early age
- You have any pain or itching with the hair loss
- The skin on your scalp under the involved area is red, scaly, or otherwise abnormal
- You have acne, facial hair, or an abnormal menstrual cycle
- You have additional symptoms which concern you.
Are There Herbal Remedies To Help Me
If your hair loss is the result of hormonal changes caused by the menopause, using a soy based supplement such as our Menopause Support supplement may be effective. This tackles all stages of the menopause, as it contains soy isoflavones which naturally mimic the effect of oestrogen in the body.
“Menopause support tablets have eased my problems and have helped me sleep better at night. I would recommend them to any one suffering the effects of the menopause.”Stress at this time of your life will not help improve your head of hair, so if you feel you are not coping, face up this issue rather than ignore it. You can also try our Stress Relief Daytime, which can help ease stress and relieve mild anxiety.
If you think your hair loss is caused by medication, seek help and advice from your doctor.
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What Are The Cycles Of Hair Growth
Hair goes through three cycles:
- The anagen phase can last from two years to eight years. This phase generally refers to about 85% to 90% of the hair on your head.
- The catagen phase is the time that hair follicles shrink and takes about two to three weeks.
- The telogen phase takes about two to four months. At the end of this phase, the hair falls out.
Your shorter hairs like eyelashes, arm and leg hair and eyebrows have a short anagen phase about one month. Your scalp hair can last up to six years or even longer.