While it can seem devastating, the good news is that most menopausal hair loss is not permanent. Hormone changes are responsible for menopausal hair loss. Hair loss can start during perimenopause (the period leading up to menopause). Hair loss is a typical result when hormone levels begin fluctuating as a woman transitions.
More than 40 percent of women going through menopause experience hair loss. When entering menopause, one recommendation is that women track changes they notice. Doctors will also check for hormonal levels. Although some effects of hormone loss are inevitable, knowing the cause and being proactive can help women stay in front of the worst symptoms.
Causes of Menopausal Hair Loss
Menopause is a body transition as a woman leaves the child-bearing years behind. The main driver of this change is hormonal changes. As we age, our ovaries decrease the production of sex hormones estrogen and progesterone. This reduction causes physical changes. Hair loss can result from the reduced production of progesterone and estrogen.
When the hormone levels drop, hair can begin to thin. At the same time, the body increases the production of male hormones called androgens. Androgens cause hair follicles to grow smaller, which increases thinning and hair loss. Androgens are the reason many elderly ladies develop facial hair.
Other factors increase the tendency for menopausal women to experience hair loss. Some of those include:
- Thyroid function
- Lack of nutrients
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The Stages of Menopause
Menopause is a broad term that encompasses several phases. Each phase has unique attributes. Hair loss can begin in any of the stages:
- Perimenopause occurs over several years leading up to menopause. It can last up to ten years and typically begins when a woman is in her 40s. This is the period when hormones first start to drop. Blood tests can help in monitoring hormone levels.
- Menopause occurs when the body has stopped menstruating for over 12 consecutive months. The age for this will vary, but the national average in the United States is 52.
- Post-menopause describes the period from menopause until the end of life.
Tips to Prevent Menopausal Hair Loss
Hair loss may be difficult to notice because it is usually a slow progression. Humans lose hair regularly, sometimes 50 to 100 strands per day. Seeing an increase from this average daily loss can be difficult. Some signs to watch for include:
- Cleaning your hairbrush more frequently
- The shower seems to collect more hair than usual
- You find hair everywhere – on clothing, pillows, in your car, and on furniture
- You notice more breakage than normal
If you notice these first signs, it may be time to consult your doctor or a hair loss specialist. You may also wish to incorporate new practices that may help prevent or slow the progression of hair loss.
Movement and Exercise
As we age, we naturally become more sedentary. Unfortunately, that tendency can increase hair loss symptoms in older women. Adding a daily exercise routine can help. For example, the simple act of walking for 20 to 30 minutes after lunch each day can help. Regular exercise promotes hair growth.
Hydration is a Key Factor
Humans never seem to drink enough water. Once you begin perimenopause, hydration can be a significant player in maintaining healthy skin and hair. Drinking water can also help to lessen the symptoms of hot flashes, bloating, joint pain, and fatigue.
Lower Stress Levels
We are all under stress, no matter what age we are. Stress can play havoc on overall health and wellness. Combatting stress can help with the symptoms of menopause and your whole-body health and wellness. Regular exercise and low-level aerobics such as yoga and Tai Chi can help manage stress levels.
We begin learning about nutrition at a young age. The benefits of maintaining a healthy diet don’t decrease with age. Eating healthy and avoiding caffeine and alcohol will help slow the progression of menopausal hair loss.
Add Nutrition Supplements
We can’t always eat right. Adding nutritional supplements can create a buffer that will help with menopause and overall health. Please check with a medical specialist before adding supplements. Medical personnel can guide on the effectiveness and proper use of nutritional supplements.
Avoid Dryers, Straighteners, Dyes, and Bleach
When taking care of your hair, avoiding hair dryers, straightening tools, excessive product application, bleach, and dyes will help with menopausal hair loss. Wear a swim cap while swimming to avoid exposure to chlorine, which can also damage your hair.
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Certain Medications Can Cause Hair Loss
Prescription medication used in treating many conditions can accelerate menopausal hair loss. Some of these include:
- Blood thinners
- Seizure medications
- Anti-rheumatic drugs
Speak with your doctor whenever you receive a new prescription and discuss the potential side effects, such as hair loss.
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Treatment for Menopausal Hair Loss
There are many treatments available for women experiencing menopausal hair loss, including:
- Rogaine and other medications
- Laser treatment
- Transplant surgery
Contact Anti-Aging & Regenerative Associates About Your Hair Loss Concerns
If you have concerns about menopausal hair loss, the compassionate staff at Anti-Aging & Regenerative Associates are available to discuss your options. We work with clients to explore healthy ways to maintain vitality during aging. Contact our scheduling coordinator for an appointment to begin planning your future.
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