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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 several distressing physical and psychological symptoms. It is already hard enough to deal with mood swings, irritability, hot flashes, and loss of a good night’s sleep, but at least popular culture has already warned us against these menopausal symptoms.

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 several things you can do to make your hair great again and reverse thinning hair after menopause

Table of Contents

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 like oestrogen and progesterone and an increase in male hormones (androgens) can cause an imbalance in your body. This may, ironically, lead to the overall hair thinning on your head along with darker, more vigorous facial hair. These changes are due to the androgens that cause your hair follicles to shrink on your head, while the absence of female hormones leads to slower growth of thinner, frailer hair. 

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is one of the most effective ways to reduce menopause-related hair loss. It replaces the oestrogen you’ve lost as a result of the menopause. 

At what stage of menopause does hair fall out?

Seeing clumps of hair falling out into your brush or in the tub on a regular basis can be frightening. However, 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 (for example, you start to 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 that could be causing your hair loss.  

Does hair loss from menopause grow back?

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 help restore hair growth after menopause: 

Eat healthier to avoid hair loss and promote healthy hair growth

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 the health of 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.

Stress-related hair loss

Stress is one of the greatest enemies of beautiful hair and it can be particularly high during this transition phase of your life. Stress-induced hair loss can be a significant part of the reason why you are experiencing thinning hair or hair shedding 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. 

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 significant 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. Learn more about the link between sertraline and hair loss.

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. 

Carefully select your hair styles and products to avoid hair damage

If you are experiencing hair thinning during perimenopause or after menopause, you may want to give up hot rollers or heat-based hair straighteners, as well as styling products that are rough on the hair.

To avoid hair breakage, it’s also important to try and avoid tight hair styles like tight braids or ponytails which can exacerbate hair thinning. These styles can pull on your hair shaft and even cause traction alopecia which is something you might want to avoid in your experiencing menopausal hair loss.

Ask your hairdresser for gentler alternatives to the hairstyles and cosmetic products you were using if you find that there is a problem. You can also get some inspiration from these short hairstyles for women over 50.

Consider going to a hair specialist 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 treat hair loss after menopause.

Hair loss treatment

Cutting-edge therapies, such as Plasma-Rich Platelet therapies can stimulate hair growth and reinvigoration. There are also hair loss treatments available for treating genetic hair loss conditions like female pattern hair loss including Rogaine (also known as Minoxidil) and Propecia (Finasteride). Learn more about whether women can take Finasteride.

Hair transplantation

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.

What are the best shampoos and vitamins to combat thinning hair during menopause?

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 keep hair healthy 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 healthy 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. Learn more about biotin for hair loss and Nizoral shampoo for hair loss (Nizoral contains 1-2% ketoconazole).

Vitamins for menopause hair loss

There are many vitamins and nutrients that 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. Learn more about if a vitamin B12 deficiency can cause 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. Learn more about vitamin A-related hair loss and vitamin E for hair

When is it time to see a hair loss specialist?

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.

However, if you would like to seek expert advice for your hair thinning, our hair loss specialist at the Wimpole Clinic is happy to answer any questions you may have. We can help diagnose the cause of your hair loss, provide a hair loss treatment plan that is right for you, and address any concerns you have.

Contact us today to schedule a free no-pressure consultation.

Menopause and hair loss: What it is and how to treat it, Wimpole Clinic

The Wimpole Clinic offers FUE Hair, Beard & Eyebrow Transplants & Trichology.
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