Many women going through menopause choose to have hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to relieve some of the symptoms they experience.
As many as 69% of women aged over 50 years are using HRT , making it one of the most popular treatments for alleviating menopause symptoms.
Going through menopause can bring on a range of symptoms. One that’s often a cause for concern is hair loss.
We often don’t realise how much of a confidence-booster our hair can be and that, without it, our self-image can really be affected.
Although hot flushes, problems sleeping and brain fog are common symptoms of menopause, many women aren’t aware of how much menopause—and its treatments—can bring on hair loss.
In this article, we’ll be discussing how menopause can affect your hair and, most importantly, whether HRT can help reduce hair loss in postmenopausal women.
What is the menopause?
Menopause is the name for the time in a woman’s life when periods stop due to lower hormone levels. This is a period that most women will experience during the ages of 45 and 55 .
Not only can menopause cause symptoms such as fluctuating moods, hot flashes, night sweats and problems sleeping , but it can also be a trigger for depression in some cases .
Although certain symptoms, like hot flashes, can be alleviated by certain mindfulness techniques , a lot of women may use hormone replacement therapy (HRT) as a reliable method of treating their symptoms.
Is it normal for hair to fall out during menopause?
Menopause can have a big impact on the body–both physically and mentally. One of these effects is that it can cause female pattern hair loss.
Menopause causes a drop in estrogen, which is a hormone responsible for many different bodily functions. With these lower levels, some women may experience more facial hair, an uneven hairline, or hair thinning.
The main reason why so many experience hair loss during menopause is because estrogen extends the anagen phase of the hair growth cycle . This is typically caused by changes in the androgen-to-estrogen ratio. As estrogen levels drop, the level of androgens (male sex hormones) remains stable, or even increases. This can ultimately lead to excessive dihydrotestosterone (DHT) production — a key hormone that causes hair loss .
What is HRT?
When women start to go through menopause, their ovaries are no longer producing higher levels of estrogen and progesterone. This change in the level of hormones is the reason why so many symptoms can be experienced during menopause.
Hormone replacement therapy involves boosting hormone levels with the aim of relieving some of the most common symptoms of menopause which can cause women issues.
The two most common forms of HRT that women can get prescribed are:
- Estrogen Therapy, where estrogen is taken alone at a small dosage as a pill or patch every day.
- Estrogen Progesterone/Progestin Hormone Therapy (EPT), which is a combined dose of estrogen and progesterone.
Can HRT help with hair loss?
HRT often helps with hair loss. It can make your hormone levels return to normal, which means your hair should start to grow at the same rate as it did before you started menopause.
Increasing your estrogen levels by taking HRT should help your hair to stay in the growth phase for longer and maintain your hair’s current density. Both estrogen and progesterone have been shown to influence hair growth [8-9].
There still needs to be more data on the topic to draw any final conclusions. But there’s increasing evidence to suggest that HRT can help with hair loss related to the menopause.
Which type of HRT is best for hair loss?
If you’re hoping to use HRT to combat the effects of hair loss, it’s normally recommended to take the combination therapy of estrogen and progesterone.
However, it’s important to note that HRT risks and benefits can vary greatly depending on the dosage , which makes it hard to say whether HRT is something that will be as beneficial for every woman.
Why is my hair loss getting worse on HRT?
Hair growth success depends on which hormones you’re taking. While estrogen usually helps with hair regrowth, some women are also prescribed testosterone to boost libido after the menopause. Testosterone metabolises to produce dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which can cause further hair loss .
If you find your hair loss is getting worse on HRT, speak to your doctor about adjusting the hormone levels in your course of therapy.
How to reverse hair thinning during menopause
If you’re going through menopause and worried about thinning hair or bald patches, there are a few things you can do alongside taking HRT:
- Avoid stress as much as possible
- Try to eat healthier meals
- Be careful with the hair styling products you use
- Check the side effects of any menopause medication you’re taking, as some medications can cause hair loss
The next option you have for reversing the effects of menopausal hair loss is looking into a cosmetic procedure – like a hair transplant.
The number of women getting hair transplants is increasing, and is an effective way to combat the effects of hair loss or a receding hairline if nothing else has worked for you.
At Wimpole Clinic, we have helped hundreds of women regain their confidence after losing their hair and we would love to help you too.
If you’d like to learn more about the process of getting a hair transplant and how it can transform your head of hair, you can arrange a no-obligation consultation call with one of our experts. During this call, we can talk you through the process and answer any of your questions.
Book a free consultation with the Wimpole Clinic today.
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