Hair loss due to menopause is a common problem. About 20-60% of women experience hair loss due to menopause before reading the age of 60 (1). Hormonal changes during this phase along with sleep deprivation and stress may cause excessive hair shedding (2). Thankfully, there are ways to reduce hair fall and restore hair softness and shine. Read on to know everything about hair loss due to menopause. Scroll down!
Table Of Contents
Why Does Menopause Cause Hair Loss?
- Hormonal Changes: Estrogen levels drop significantly before the onset of menopause (pre-menopause). This increases the levels of testosterone, the male hormone. Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which originates from testosterone, weakens the hair follicles. This hormonal imbalance leads to female pattern hair loss and hair thinning (1).
- Nutritional Imbalance: Not being aware of what to consume while going through menopause also contributes to hair loss or alopecia in women. Scientists recommend consuming foods rich in vitamins A, B, and C, minerals like zinc, iron, copper, calcium, magnesium, and selenium, complex carbohydrates like veggies and low glycemic index fruits, and protein from plant and animal sources (3).
- Stress: Common symptoms of menopause are depression and anxiety. Such psychological stress can also lead to excessive hair fall or non-scarring alopecia in menopausal women (4).
- Diabetes Mellitus: Diabetes mellitus or type 2 diabetes is also one cause of hair loss during menopause or postmenopause. This medical condition increases the risk of central scalp hair loss in women (5).
- Unhealthy Lifestyle: An inactive lifestyle and smoking are also linked to female pattern baldness in menopausal women (4).
Note: Genes may also play a role in hair loss. However, studies suggesting a genetic link to hair loss in menopausal women are scarce.
With these points in mind, let us roll on to the next big question – what are the symptoms of hair fall due to menopause? We will explore the same in the next section.
How To Know If You Are Losing Hair Due To Menopause?
To know if you are losing hair due to menopause, check for these symptoms:
- Hot flashes
- Irregular periods
- Vaginal dryness
- Mood swings
- Disrupted sleep
- Sudden weight gain
- Gum problems
- Joint pain
- Itchy skin
- Muscle tension
Note: Most women go through menopause in their 40s (6). However, early onset of menopause (premature menopause) affects about 1% of women. Talk to your gynecologist to ascertain that you are going through menopause.
If you are going through menopause and losing a lot of hair, you may take the following measures as the first line of defense.
Ways To Reduce Hair Fall Due To Menopause
Here is how you can reduce menopausal hair fall:
- Consume Fruits And Veggies: Fruits and vegetables are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber (complex carbs). These are essential for strengthening hair follicles and providing them the required nutrition. You can consume 5 types of veggies and 3 types of fruits every day.
- Consume Proteins: Hair strands are made of keratin, a type of protein. The hormones that help in hair growth are also proteins. Hence, it is important to consume protein from plant and/or animal sources to provide your body with all the essential amino acids. Good protein sources are beans, lentils, legumes, nuts, seeds, mushrooms, soy, eggs, fish, chicken breast, pork, and beef. Consume one source of protein with every meal. Animal protein sources are also loaded with vitamin B12.
- Consume Omega-3: These are polyunsaturated fatty acids found in fatty fish, nuts, and seeds. Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce hair fall by modulating androgen action (7).
- Stay Active: Staying active by exercising regularly has positive effects on your physiology and psychology. Workout whenever you get the time. You may join group workout sessions at the gym or walk/run at home or in a nearby park. Staying active will also help improve your sleep.
- Reduce Stress: Stress is a slow killer. Taking out time just for yourself, even for 5 minutes a day, can help reduce stress. You may meditate, read a book, paint your nails, write, water the plants, etc.
- Talk To A Professional: Going through menopause can be a challenging journey. Talk to a professional if you think you are not getting the support and understanding you need. You can also call a hotline number or try these affordable counseling services.
Apart from diet, exercise, and lifestyle improvements, you also have hair treatments for female pattern baldness caused during menopause. Keep reading to know the options.
- Minoxidil: Minoxidil is a popular FDA-approved hair growth stimulating solution. Applying this topical solution to the scalp may help with hair regrowth. Talk to a licensed dermatologist before you use it. Apply the solution to the scalp and massage well. Wash after four hours. Note that it is not a fool-proof treatment. It may take months before you see any results.
- Anti-Androgen Drugs: Anti-androgen drugs work by suppressing the male hormones that rise during menopause. A few side effects of anti-androgen drugs include weight gain, fatigue, loss of libido, and depression. Talk to your doctor before taking them.
- Supplements: Vitamins A, B, C, and minerals like iron, copper, magnesium, calcium, and selenium are required to keep your hair roots strong and the strands healthy. Talk to your doctor to decide the right supplements for you (and their right dosage).
- PRP Treatment: Platelet-Rich Plasma treatment is a new hair treatment that stimulates hair growth in areas where your hair is thinning. It is a minimally invasive procedure carried out by licensed dermatologists. Platelets are extracted from the blood and injected into the scalp. The platelets then work on the hair follicles to strengthen and revive them and trigger hair growth. Check out the PRP treatment cost. PRP treatment does cure baldness.
- Hair Transplantation: Hair transplantation is costlier than PRP treatment. A small strip of scalp is removed and divided into a hundred tiny grafts. These grafts are placed on the scalp where the hair has thinned out or on bald spots.
- Microneedling: Microneedling involves the stimulation of stem cells and activation of certain hair growth factors. It could be a promising and safe treatment for stimulating new hair growth (8).
- Biomimetic Peptides: Another mode of treatment involves combining a Trifolium pratense flower extract and biomimetic peptides. This treatment was found to reduce inflammatory reactions and stimulate the synthesis of extra cellular matrix proteins near the hair follicles (9).
- Hormone Replacement Therapy: Hormone replacement therapy involves the intake of female hormones, like estrogen and progestin, through creams, pills, or patches. This treatment may help stimulate hair growth, though more research is warranted (10).
Menopause is a transitioning phase in every woman’s life. One of its symptoms is hair loss. However, with the right diet, lifestyle improvements, treatment, and self care, you can combat hair fall and make this transition easy.
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
Is hormonal hair loss reversible?
Hair loss due to hormonal changes may be reversible. Treatment with hormone suppressants can reduce hair fall. However, the results also depend on the stage of hair fall, hair thickness, and the presence of bald spots. You have different treatments based on your specific condition.
How much hair do you lose during menopause?
You may lose as much as 50% of your hair during menopause. Hence, it is important to take care of your diet and lifestyle, reduce stress, and sleep well.
Does the hair lost during menopause grow back?
Yes, menopausal hair loss can grow back. You must start consuming fruits, veggies, proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, nuts, and seeds. You also must exercise regularly, take supplements, and/or get the right hair treatment.
Is menopausal hair loss permanent?
Though not permanent, hair loss during menopause can take a long time to reverse if you do not take adequate care. Exercising regularly to reduce psychological stress is extremely important. You must also consume vitamin- and mineral-loaded foods (leafy greens, veggies, low GI fruits), proteins (fish, eggs, mushrooms, chicken, legumes, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, soy, etc.), and take the right supplements.
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