Women weave through many seasons of life – puberty, pregnancy, postpartum, and menopause. These significant times act as markers that charter us through womanhood. And while some phases are life-giving, such as pregnancy, and others mark the transition from girlhood to womanhood, they each generate symptoms. Menopause is one of the most important times in a woman’s life, where shifting hormones create undesired symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings, insomnia, night sweats, and hair loss.
The fact is, 90% of women experience these symptoms during menopause, according to a 2018 European study, and they are far from comfortable. Menopausal hair loss can encompass general thinning across the scalp or occur as centralized, patchy bald spots. In either case, hormones are the cause and the hair loss is treatable.
Hormonal imbalance isn’t a new concept to menopausal women who’ve survived the throes of puberty, pregnancy, or postpartum hormone shifts. Hormones frequently entangle themselves in a woman’s hair health, impacting the hair’s ability to grow, have volume, shine, and overall good health. The cycle of hormones is so complex and fundamental to a woman’s livelihood, despite the disrupting side effects they generate when they go haywire.
Estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone are the primary culprits of menopausal hair loss. Add the stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline, to the mix, and you’ve got a cocktail of anarchy wreaking havoc on the complex ecosystem of the hair growth cycle.
During menopause, estrogen levels fall the most dramatically while concurrently, progesterone levels plummet. The result increases a counterbalance of the male testosterone hormones, Androgens. Increased levels of Androgens cause follicular miniaturization, a complex process in which hair follicles shrink and cut the hair off at the shaft. The final product of this hormone jumble is considerable hair shedding, hair thinning, and hair loss.
signs and symptoms
All women experience menopause. It’s an unavoidable and essential phase of womanhood that slowly progresses over the years. Onset can begin around age 40, when perimenopausal women may encounter the earliest signs of menopause. Estrogen levels fall, ovaries release fewer eggs, and menstruation becomes infrequent. Over time, subtle signs will crystallize into noticeable, troublesome symptoms. Hair loss from menopause may first appear as hair thinning across the scalp. You may start to notice more shedding in the shower and accumulation of strands on your brush. Some women may experience bald spots, but it’s less common than diffuse shedding.
If you are a menopausal woman experiencing hair loss, it’s likely occurring as a direct response to the dramatic changes in your hormones. If hair loss is a new symptom, meaning you have not otherwise dealt with a genetic predisposition to hair loss or scarring hair loss due to a medical illness, you are likely suffering from menopausal hair loss. If you are unsure, consult with your doctor to receive a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. In the interim, below are treatment options to help you maintain self-confidence and healthy hair during this time of change.
There is no way to prevent menopause as it’s a woman’s organic, natural response to the progression of age. However, there is good news! Once the hormones settle down and find balance within your new, post-menopausal self, hair will resume its natural growth patterns. Here’s what you can do now to stave off the visible signs of hair loss from menopause and assist the body in managing these significant hormonal shifts:
Here’s what you can do now to stave off the visible signs of hair loss from menopause and assist the body in managing these significant hormonal shifts:
● Eat a healthy, balanced diet incorporating adequate daily intake of protein, vegetables, fruits, and omega fatty acids. All of these are essential nutrients vital to hair cells. Your hair is made of keratin; a fundamental protein building block for hair health, which means: it loves protein.
● Maintain a regular exercise routine to improve circulation and blood flow to the hair follicles.
● Get your beauty sleep - at least 6-8 hours every night to minimize stress and alleviate any additional side effects of poor sleep.
● Apply a cosmetic beauty solution to reduce hair shedding and hydrate hair follicles.
● Talk to your doctor about your medicinal options. There are two FDA approved drugs for hair loss. Minoxidil is a topical solution applied to the scalp daily, and Finasteride is a prescribed drug administered on a case-by-case basis for post-menopausal women.
● Apply a root securing complex - Daniel Alain's scalp and hair primer, INTACT, is clinically proven to reduce shedding by 77%, while boosting body, shine and volume.