Menopause and hair loss: What it is and how to treat it

For many women, menopause is a particularly trying time in their lives, as hormonal changes trigger a number of distressing physical and psychological symptoms. It is already hard enough to deal with the irritability, hot flashes, and loss of a good night’s sleep, but at least popular culture has already prepared us to see them coming. However, not many women expect to also experience menopause hair loss or thinning hair. Yet, this is a rather common occurrence while going through this important life transition. Fortunately, if this is happening to you, rest assured that it doesn’t have to be permanent. There are a number of things you can do to make your hair great again and reverse thinning hair after menopause. 

Menopause hair loss: Why is this happening? 

Experts point out that it’s difficult to establish that menopause itself is the cause of your excessive hair loss, as this transformation usually occurs around the same age when hair thinning accelerates naturally and the first symptoms of female pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia) are beginning to show. 

However, changes in your hormones, such as decreases in female hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, and increases in male hormones (androgens) can cause imbalances in your body. These imbalances may, ironically and unfortunately, lead to the thinning of the hair on your head and at the same time, to darker, more vigorous facial hair. That is because male hormones make the follicles on your head shrink, while the absence of female ones leads to slower growth of thinner, frailer hair. 

Is something wrong with me? 

Seeing clumps of hair on your brush or in the tub on a regular basis can be frightening. But rest assured, there is likely nothing wrong with you. Menopause hair loss is a common occurrence in women around the age of fifty and is not commonly known to be a symptom of illness. 

However, if you experience sudden severe hair loss, if you notice circular bald spots on your scalp, or if the hair thinning is accompanied by other symptoms, such as rashes, discoloration, itching, swelling, or tenderness, it is a good idea to see your GP or a dermatologist, as you may have an underlying condition which is unrelated to menopause.  

How to reverse thinning hair after menopause 

Fortunately, while menopausal hair loss is common, there are also a variety of tips and treatments that you can use to make your locks grow full and radiant once more. Here are the best ways to reverse the thinning of your hair after menopause: 

1. Eat healthier

The hustle and bustle of modern life leaves little time and energy for us to carefully consider our diet. However, while every doctor points out the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, few women are aware that it can also affect our hair. Getting enough of certain nutrients, such as iron, zinc, selenium or protein can promote hair growth and luster. At the same time, vitamin, mineral and protein deficiencies, as well as crash-diets which lead to sudden weight loss, can cause your hair to become frail and eventually start falling out.

2. Avoid stress

Stress is one of the greatest enemies of beautiful hair and it can be particularly high during this transition phase of your life. This can be a significant part of the reason you are experiencing thinning hair during menopause. Try exercising more (sport releases endorphins, nature’s happy drugs) and getting plenty of rest, even if you cannot sleep. Curling up with a good book or taking a bubble bath can be great stress relievers. You can also consider taking up relaxing practices such as meditation, crafts, or yoga to blow off some steam. 

3. Check the side effects of the medication you are taking

While you have probably heard that medical treatments such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy can cause severe hair loss, you may not know that other, more common drugs can also have similar side effects. Medication for blood pressure (e.g. metoprolol, propranolol), antidepressants (e.g. sertraline, paroxetine), ACE inhibitors (e.g. captopril), weight loss pills (e.g. phentermine), or even certain kinds of birth control can lead to hair loss. 

However, if you discover that some of the prescription pills you are taking have this unwanted side effect, do not stop taking them abruptly, as it can have severe consequences for your health. Call your doctor and let them know about this issue, they should be able to help you identify a suitable solution. 

4. Carefully select your hair styling products

If you are experiencing hair thinning after menopause, you may want to give up hot rollers or heat-based hair straighteners, as well as styling products which are rough on the hair. These can often add to the problem, by causing traction alopecia on top of your menopausal hair loss. Ask your hairdresser for gentler alternatives to the cosmetic products you were using. 

5. Look to the cosmetic industry for treatment

If all else fails, you can always turn to a good hair clinic and schedule an appointment with a reputed dermatologist or trichologist. They will be able to determine the exact cause of your problem and suggest the best solutions to reverse your hair thinning after menopause. Cutting edge therapies, such as Plasma-Rich Platelet therapies can promote hair growth and reinvigoration, while specific medicine can keep your locks from falling out (e.g. Rogaine, Propecia). 

Moreover, in the last years, the hair transplant industry has boomed, as more and more people have realized that the procedures are fast, safe, painless, and successful.

Thinning hair during menopause: Best shampoo & vitamins 

Of course, there are also a few tips and tricks you can include in your daily routine in order to reverse hair thinning after menopause and to make your locks shimmer with health. Here are some of the easiest to follow paths to beautiful hair:

Best shampoo for thinning hair after menopause 

If you are anything like us, there is a good chance coffee is the simple pleasure that gets you through the day. But did you know that it can also get you through menopausal hair loss? A shampoo that contains caffeine can stimulate your follicles and promote hair growth.

Aloe vera and argan oil are also ingredients you should be looking for in your shampoo and conditioner, as they help keep your scalp hydrated and your locks protected from becoming brittle and breaking off easily.  

Finally, dihydrotestosterone (DHT)-blocking shampoos contain ingredients that keep the production of excessive male hormones from affecting your scalp. These ingredients include ketoconazole, biotin, rosemary, and pumpkin seed extract. 

Vitamins for menopause hair loss

There are many vitamins and nutrients which help you maintain beautiful, healthy hair, especially during stressful transition phases in your life. Taking the daily recommended dosage of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin B3 (niacin), Vitamin B12, Iron, Zinc, protein, and follates can prevent or reverse menopausal hair loss. 

However, whenever possible, you may want to try to get these nutrients naturally, from your diet. That is because overdosing on some of them, such as Vitamin A or Vitamin E, can lead to the opposite effect, causing your hair to fall out even faster. There is almost no chance of intaking such high amounts of vitamins naturally, but they can easily happen through taking excessive amounts of supplements.   

If you’re already going through this challenging transition stage in your life, don’t let hair loss be one more thing you need to worry about. As we have shown, there are many efficient and convenient ways to reverse hair thinning after menopause. Furthermore, you will be happy to learn that this process will not go on forever, as the rate at which your locks are leaving you will slow down after a while. So just lay back and wait for the end of this crazy hormonal ride. While it may seem like it sometimes, it will not last forever.

 

The Wimpole Clinic offers FUE Hair, Beard & Eyebrow Transplants, PRP & Trichology. Talk to a specialist ☎ 020 7935 1861.

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