Most women expect to encounter mood swings and hot flashes during menopause, but what many women don’t expect during “The Change” is hair loss. Unfortunately, hair loss during and after menopause is all too common. In fact, 40% of women experience hair thinning after menopause. Hair loss can have devastating effects on anyone’s confidence, but it is particularly devastating for women. Why does menopause cause hair loss? What can be done to treat hair loss during menopause? Follow along as we answer these questions and more.
Hair Loss in Women
Women experience hair loss differently from men. Whereas men tend to see pronounced areas of thinning, women’s will thin all over. Because the thinning is more uniform and subtle, you might not even notice it at first.
Signs of hair loss in women include a widening part and increased scalp show-through, especially near the hairline or part. You may also notice more hair in your hairbrush or in your shower drain when you wash your hair. The sooner you recognize the signs of hair loss, the easier it is to treat it.
Why Does Menopause Cause Hair Loss?
During menopause, fluctuating hormone levels cause changes in the body. Symptoms of these hormonal changes can include hot flashes, mood swings, weight gain, insomnia, and, yes, hair loss.
During menopause, the body produces less estrogen and progesterone. Unfortunately, these are the same hormones that help hair to grow quickly and stay on your head longer before falling out (as part of the natural hair cycle). When estrogen and progesterone levels drop, your hair grows more slowly and is more likely to fall out.
Menopause also increases your androgen levels, a male hormone which can cause hair follicles to shrink and in some cases fail altogether. The combination of increased androgen and decreased estrogen and progesterone levels cause your strands to become more fine and grow at a slower place.
Treating Hair Loss from Menopause
If you’re experiencing hair loss during menopause, the first thing you should do is schedule an appointment with your physician to rule out any other causes of hair loss, such as a mineral deficiency or medication side effect. Your doctor may recommend hormone replacement therapy to other treatments to alleviate your menopausal symptoms including hair loss, but the treatment does have drawbacks including increased risk of breast cancer.
You may also want to see a hair restoration physician, who is specially trained in treating and tracking hair loss. A hair restoration specialist will have more knowledge in the field of hair loss than your general practitioner, and will be able to prescribe the most effective treatments, like Minoxidil or Platelet-Rich Plasma Injections.
Tips for Dealing with Hair Loss from Menopause
- Eat a Hair-Healthy Diet
A poor diet can also contribute to hair loss. To make sure your intake isn’t to blame, make sure to eat a diet heavy in proteins and other nutrients crucial to growing healthy hair. Consider adding a supplement to your diet to support hair growth, like Viviscal.
- Be Gentle
With your hair growing more slowly, it’s important to take care of the hair you already have on your head. That means being gentle with hot tools and dyes! Overstyling and over-processing can cause hair to break off, which will make your hair appear more thin.
- Reduce Stress Levels
Stress can also contribute to menopausal hair loss. Exercise, meditate, or do other healthy, stress-relieving activities.
- Change Your Hairstyle
Visit your hairstylist for a new haircut that’s more flattering for fine hair. A new cut can do wonders for making your hair look thicker. Adding highlights and lowlights can create the appearance of fuller hair.
In some cases, your everyday hairstyle can actually cause hair breakage and thinning. Make sure you’re not inadvertently committing one of these everyday causes of hair loss.
- Pump Up the Volume
There are many products on the market that can make your existing hair look thicker and more voluminous.
- Cover Up
If you’re self-conscious about scalp show through, you can use Toppik Hair Building Fibers to create the appearance of thicker hair. Hair Building Fibers are made from keratin, the same protein your hair is made from. They are virtually undetectable – simply spray them into your roots and go! Everyone will notice your fuller hair, but no one will know your secret.
If you are suffering from hair loss due to menopause, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone and there are treatments available.