treating menopausal hair loss

The menopause can trigger all kinds of unpleasant side effects. From mood swings to hot flushes, going through this dreaded milestone can have a significant impact on your health and wellbeing. One potential side effect many women aren’t prepared for, is hair loss.

Due to hormonal changes within the body, many women begin to experience either hair thinning or hair loss. Here, we address what causes hair loss during the menopause and how you can treat the problem.

The causes of menopausal hair loss

Hair loss and thinning are often attributed to the menopause. However, other factors such as genetics, stress, diet, and certain medical conditions, may also play a role.

Research indicates that hair, like the skin and other organs, is susceptible to ageing. For women, hair follicles begin to shrink in size around their mid-40s, resulting in increasingly finer hair with each passing year. The overall number of hair follicles decreases too, affecting both the scalp and body hair.

During the menopause, the decline in oestrogen – a hormone believed to promote hair growth as it keeps hair follicles in the anagen or growth stage for longer – may accelerate hair shrinkage. Various medications, including pain relievers, antidepressants, and blood pressure treatments, can also contribute to hair loss.

There is also a growing number of women undergoing hormone treatments like tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors for breast cancer. These treatments are known to trigger hair loss as a side effect.

Some women find that synthetic forms of HRT exacerbate hair loss, while body-identical HRT typically encourages hair growth.

Can you prevent menopausal hair loss?

Hormonal hair loss can be reversed, and there are several ways to address it, particularly during menopause. Here’s some of the best ways to avoid menopausal hair loss and thinning:

Exercise regularly: Staying active improves overall health, circulation, and muscle tone. It also helps to manage menopausal symptoms such as bloating, mood swings, and sleep disturbances.

Drink more water: Keeping hydrated will combat dry skin and hair, as well as help flush toxins from the body. This alleviates symptoms like joint pain and constipation. Hydration is particularly effective at easing hot flashes and night sweats.

Reduce stress: Use activities like yoga or tai chi to reduce stress. They can also maintain overall health, as well as combat mood swings, anxiety, and depression caused by lower oestrogen levels.

Eating a healthy diet will also help to potentially prevent menopausal hair loss.

Treating menopause related hair loss

Factors such as diet, stress, and health conditions can impact hair growth, making it essential to identify the root cause of hair loss. Prolonged or severe thyroid issues can also cause hair loss. After a consultation with a specialist, and ruling out other underlying health conditions, you may explore both holistic and medical treatments.

Medical treatments may include Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), Propecia, or Minoxidil, but keep in mind that their effects can vary among patients, and they must be prescribed by a medical professional.

HRT replenishes hormones that diminish during menopause, helping to alleviate some menopausal symptoms and promote hair growth. However, not all HRT therapies are hair-friendly, and some may worsen hair thinning.

Given that hair cells are among the fastest growing in the body, their nutritional demands are high, and even minor deficiencies can lead to hair loss. Therefore, maintaining a healthy and balanced diet is also crucial for preserving the health of your hair.

If you are worried about the effects the menopause is having on your hair, book a consultation with a hair specialist.