Hair loss during menopause can be added to the long list of symptoms, we can be faced with during menopause. The reason this occurs is the result of a hormonal imbalance, a lowered production of estrogen and progesterone. These hormones help hair grow faster and supply us with a wonderful head of manageable hair.
Then comes the wild frizzy hair and strands of hair that falls out. This can come as quite a shock and can be worrying, because hair is such a big part of our confidence and self-identity.
When can this happen and why?
40% of women will experience some kind of hair loss after the menopause, for some women it may start during perimenopause. Hair loss can be all over the scalp or for some they will experience hair loss at the front hair line or temples only.
Studies have shown that the hair is prone to ageing, much like the skin and every other organ of the body. The total number of hair follicles go down in women, and they start to shrink from the mid 40’s, and so hair becomes finer with each year. (wild frizzy hair alert)
Estrogen is thought to support hair growth and when the menopause occurs there is a faster shrinkage in hair follicles. Estrogen also increases the amount of time that hair spends in the growing phase, so when estrogen declines, hair (and skin, brain, heart, bones, and many other tissues!) loses that protective element estrogen provides.
Severe stress, illness, calorie restriction, thyroid hormone imbalance and iron deficiency, can also cause imbalance in the hair cycle and cause hair loss.
Sometimes the stress of the menopause on the body itself can be a trigger.
Certain medications can cause hair to shed such as pain killers, antidepressants, and blood pressure treatments. Synthetic types of HRT can worsen hair loss.
Several skin conditions such as alopecia can affect the scalp and cause hair loss
What are the best ways of looking after your hair during the perimenopause and menopause?
If you have tried everything mentioned below and hair is still falling, then there are professionals specializing in hair loss treatments. Its best to establish the cause of hair loss by getting an assessment by a doctor (specialist) which may involve a blood test and even a hair biopsy for best evaluation.
Things you can start to do today!
It is advisable to use a gentle shampoo and a good quality conditioner without sulfate and paraben.
Avoid tight hair styles and elastic bands, to reduce the strain on hair follicles.
It is best to avoid intense hair drying as this can damage hair shafts and make them more prone to splitting.
Use protective heat products to minimalize damage
Wearing a hat to protect the scalp and hair from UV damage.
Coloring hair is usually not a problem
Supplements can be very confusing there are so many on the market. The role of nutritional supplements is still under debate. Always start by having a vitamin and mineral test to see how your levels are first.
Have a balanced diet is key, lots of green and colorful veggies and those who can have red meat once a week should
No sudden weight loss diets. Weight loss should be very gradual, sudden drops in calorie intake should be avoided at all costs
It is also important to ensure that iron levels in the body are adequate
Check your thyroid, that there is no imbalance
Talk to your GP about taking (HRT) this can slow down or even stop hair loss in some women
Managing stress can be very important in dealing with hair loss in the long term. Revisits your lifestyle, home and at work to see if you can remove any unnecessary stressors in your life
Minoxidil is a medication which is licensed for the treatment of hair loss in women it does not require a prescription and can help other hair loss conditions. Always discuss with your GP the pros and cons before stating any new medication
Look after yourself and take some well-deserved time out to pamper yourself
If you’d like to learn more about navigating menopause, I’d love you to join our “Menopause Mastery Workshops”. It’s a self-paced program packed with insights and practical tips about managing menopause.
Put yourself on the waiting list for my Menopause Mastery Workshops.
Bye for now
Sharon James X