Is Menopausal Hair Loss Permanent
Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Menopause is a natural part of aging that brings with it a variety of changes to the way you look, think and feel.
Common symptoms during the transition to menopause include hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes, memory difficulties and issues such as vaginal dryness.
For many women, one of the changes that occurs during menopause is hair loss. Often referred to as menopausal hair loss, many women experience mild to moderate hair thinning during their late 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond.
If youre in menopause or perimenopause and have noticed that your hair appears thinner than usual, its important not to panic.
Like other common forms of hair loss, menopausal hair loss can often be treated and managed with lifestyle changes and medication.
Below, weve explained how and why menopausal hair loss occurs, as well as the early signs of hair loss you may notice if youre prone to menopausal hair loss.
Weve also explained how you can treat menopausal hair loss to maintain your hairs thickness, strength and appearance during menopause.
What About Perimenopause Hair Loss
Perimenopause is the time period leading up menopause itself. During this time, hormone levels begin to change in preparation for menopause. Perimenopause usually begins when a woman is in her mid-40s, though some women skip perimenopause altogether. Since perimenopause hair loss is also rooted in hormonal changes, the symptoms of perimenopause hair loss are similar to those of menopause hair loss. Additionally, you might notice that your hair becomes more dry or dull.
So what can be done about perimenopause hair loss? Since perimenopause hair loss has the same basic contributing factors as menopause hair loss, we recommend treating perimenopause hair loss just as you would treat menopause hair loss, and follow the tips outlined below!
Especially if you are experiencing hair loss a lot before menopause, we recommend that you have a look at this article about hair loss in women in general.
How Are Weave Hair Extensions Put In
The extensions used for a weave are gathered at the top and fastened together to create a hair piece. Youll take the sealed portion of the extension and weave a needle and thread into the area where the hair seals together. Then, you sew the extensions onto the tracks to secure them in the clients hair.
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More Than A Bad Hair Day
For many women, our hair is something we control we cut it, style it and choose how to wear it. It is an expression of ourselves, our personality and our image. If we lose a lot of hair, we may feel less feminine, less in control and it can affect our self-esteem.
The average age of the menopause is around fifty and in the months or years leading up to this, some women notice a change in hair pattern. Very commonly, the volume and condition of the hair appears to worsen, with some women noticing that hair does not grow as much as previously. More hair seems to come out in the basin when washing and hair brushes soon fill up as loose hairs are brushed away. Some women will go on to experience a more profound hair loss, with thinning at the crown of the head, the sides or more general hair thinning all over the head. This is described as Female pattern hair loss . A complete loss of hair, as seen in men who sometimes go bald, is much rarer in women and is usually caused by a medical condition or by medical treatment such as chemotherapy.
Common Menopause Skin And Hair Changes
These are the most common changes people can expect in their skin and hair post-menopause.
Sagging and loss of plumpness
Collagen is a protein that holds the bodys tissues together. And when estrogen drops, your skins collagen production decreases, too. Loss of collagen means the skin loses its youthful volume and tightness.
To combat this problem, many people take collagen supplements or eat high-collagen foods like bone broth. But the jury is still out on this strategy. We dont have enough controlled studies to prove that consuming collagen will help post-menopausal skin, Dr. Williams says.
Dont give up, though. You can help fight collagen loss at home with a simple facial massage. Dr. Williams recommends taking your favorite moisturizer or facial oil and giving yourself a facial rubdown each night. The massaging motion stimulates your skins collagen production, she says.
Dryness, flakiness and itching
Those pesky dark marks, sometimes called age spots, often appear after menopause and theyre hard to treat at home.
Unwanted facial hair
As hormones shift, you may notice hair on the upper lip or chin. If you want it gone, the tried-and-true methods of tweezing, waxing, hair removal creams and threading will get rid of it until it grows back.
Post-menopause acne breakouts
Hair loss and thinning
What Role Does Hormone Replacement Treatment Play In Hair Thinning During Menopause
Hormone replacement treatment during menopause may help with thinning hair if its related to hormone changes. Our provider may prescribe estrogen replacement therapy to help bring your hormones back into balance and back up to healthy baseline levels if you have low estrogen during menopause. This may help your hair in a few ways.
First, as we learned, estrogen plays a significant role during hair growth. Increasing estrogen levels during hormone replacement treatment may help your hair stay in the growing phase for longer than it would without hormone injections. It can also help your body keep testosterone levels in balance to help reduce the shrinking effects testosterone can have on hair follicles. In addition, some studies show that if you start hormone imbalance treatment early on for menopause symptoms, it may help you maintain your current hair density. This can help you reduce how much hair you lose throughout the course of menopause.
Food Sources That Promote Hair Growth
- Organic food although organic food can be pricey, it will give you more health benefits than commercialized goods and products. They are free from chemicals as well, ensuring that you dont bring any poison to your body. Aside from this, organic foods can help prevent estrogen dominance!
- Pumpkin seeds Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc which is good for hair growth. Many studies have also shown that theres a link between zinc deficiency and hypothyroidism which causes hair loss.
- Green tea Green tea is not only useful in weight loss, it is also effective in preventing hair loss. It promotes detoxification, ridding the body of toxins and encouraging hair growth. It stops testosterone from being converting to dihydrotestosterone , which greatly damages hair follicles.
- SuperfoodsChia, flaxand hemp seeds are rich in fiber and healthy fats which can help in hair growth.
- Bone Broth Protein is very important because our hair is made of keratin. Bone broth is rich in protein, collagen and amino acids.
- Biotin-rich foods Biotin or vitamin B7 is a water-soluble vitamin in the body which is essential in healthy hair growth. It strengthens our hair strands preventing hair damage. Nutritional yeast and egg yolks are examples of biotin rich foods.
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Hair Loss In Black Women During The Menopause
Hair loss in women is often cause by fluctuation in hormones, such as during the menopause. Emotional stress, such as those suffered during this time of life, can also have a detrimental effect on the new growth of hair, so when hair is lost, new hair does not grow back in its place.
Often, aggressive hair styling techniques may contribute to significant hair loss and thinning. As women age, the damage caused to hair follicles over time could lead to a higher rate of hair loss amongst black women who have styled hair, versus those who allow their hair to be natural.
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A Dermatologists Diagnosis Is Best Before Treating Hair Loss
If you think you have FPHL, its important to see a dermatologist for a diagnosis. Women develop hair loss for many reasons. Other common causes of hair loss in women can look a lot like FPHL. Each of these causes requires different treatment. Without the right treatment, hair loss often continues.
You can find a dermatologist in your area by going to Find a Dermatologist.
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What Is Androgenetic Alopecia
Almost every woman eventually develops some degree of female pattern hair loss. It can start any time after the onset of puberty, but women tend to first notice it around menopause, when hair loss typically increases. The risk rises with age, and it’s higher for women with a history of hair loss on either side of the family.
As the name suggests, androgenetic alopecia involves the action of the hormones called androgens, which are essential for normal male sexual development and have other important functions in both sexes, including sex drive and regulation of hair growth. The condition may be inherited and involve several different genes. It can also result from an underlying endocrine condition, such as overproduction of androgen or an androgen-secreting tumor on the ovary, pituitary, or adrenal gland. In either case, the alopecia is likely related to increased androgen activity. But unlike androgenetic alopecia in men, in women the precise role of androgens is harder to determine. On the chance that an androgen-secreting tumor is involved, it’s important to measure androgen levels in women with clear female pattern hair loss.
What Causes Hair Loss
Unfortunately, androgenetic alopecia is a largely genetic condition. Those genetically predisposed to hair loss have higher levels of an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase. This enzyme converts testosterone in the body into dihydrotestosterone . DHT, in turn, causes the hair follicles to shrink with each growth cycle, resulting in progressively thinner hair and in some cases balding.
The reason that women experience increased hair loss and thinning during the menopause is because of the dip in estrogen levels. Estrogen is thought to play a protective role, preventing the conversion of testosterone into the follicle-shrinking DHT.
Stress can also make matters worse. Researchers think that this may be another reason why menopausal women are more likely to experience hair loss theyre also more likely to experience external stress factors such as the death of a parent.
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Noticeable Hair Loss In Women Can Be Deeply Distressing Here Are Some Medical Treatments That May Help
About one-third of women experience hair loss at some time in their lives among postmenopausal women, as many as two-thirds suffer hair thinning or bald spots. Hair loss in women often has a greater impact than hair loss does on men w, because it’s less socially acceptable for them. Alopecia can severely affect a woman’s emotional well-being and quality of life.
The main type of hair loss in women is the same as it is men. It’s called androgenetic alopecia, or female pattern hair loss. In men, hair loss usually begins above the temples, and the receding hairline eventually forms a characteristic “M” shape hair at the top of the head also thins, often progressing to baldness. In women, androgenetic alopecia begins with gradual thinning at the part line, followed by increasing diffuse hair loss radiating from the top of the head. A woman’s hairline rarely recedes, and women rarely become bald.
There are many potential causes of hair loss in women , including medical conditions, medications, and physical or emotional stress. If you notice unusual hair loss of any kind, it’s important to see your primary care provider or a dermatologist, to determine the cause and appropriate treatment. You may also want to ask your clinician for a referral to a therapist or support group to address emotional difficulties. Hair loss in women can be frustrating, but recent years have seen an increase in resources for coping with the problem.
How Do Sex Hormones Affect Hair Health
Decreased estrogen and progesterone can also have adverse effects on our thyroid hormones. According to a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health, estrogen has indirect effects to our thyroid function. This is why thyroid diseases are common in menopausal women.
Your reproductive and thyroid hormones have the same control center in the brain, so they have an effect on each other. Lets understand the role of estrogen and progesterone to thyroid function.
- Estrogen inhibits the conversion of inactive T4 into active T3 . Thyroid hormones normally bind with protein, but estrogen intercepts this action, suppressing thyroid function.
- Progesterone has a more positive effect because it enhances thyroid function.
As previously explained, progesterone goes down quicker than estrogen during menopause. If left untreated, this imbalance may worsen. With persistent high levels of estrogen, our thyroid hormones are continuously inhibited and without progesterone to protect our thyroid, we may develop hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism affects protein metabolism and nutrient absorption, halting proper hair growth. In hypothyroidism, we not only lose hair found in our head we can also see hair loss in different parts of our body, specifically in the pubic area.
To know if hormonal imbalance is the reason why youre losing hair, check your hormones by doing menopause testsand hormonal imbalance quizzes in the comforts of your home. Find out what youre missing now!
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Lifestyle And Home Remedies For Thinning Hair
If you feel self-conscious about thinning hair, there are options beyond treatments and procedures that may make hair loss less noticeable, says Bruce.
- Wear a wig, extension, or hairpiece. Some women find this to be a suitable option.
- Style your hair differently. This can make a widening part less noticeable.
- Try hair powders. These contain tiny fibers you sprinkle the powder in your hair and the fibers cling to the hair shaft, giving the appearance of fuller hair and hiding where the scalp is visible.
- Consult a hair stylist. Some stylists specialize in thinning hair.
Great Hair After Menopause
Your hair is getting dryer. And thinner. Duller. And impossible to style. Luckily, help is at hand.
Help for dry hairProblem: Starting with menopause, your scalp begins to produce less sebum, or hair oil. Your hair becomes progressively dryer and more unmanageable as you lose this natural lubrication.
Solutions:Washing can strip the natural oils from your hair, so you might consider alternating a dry shampoo, such as Umberto Dry Clean Dry Shampoo* , with your wet shampoo. A dry shampoo also has the advantage of not requiring blow dryingwhich damages your hair, as well.
Dont use shampoos that have a clarifying formulationa proven way lose the protective oils your hair needs. Instead, use a shampoo that is keratin-, or protein-enriched, and follow it up with a leave-in hydrator such as Nexxus Botanluxe Nourishing Botanical Leave-In Conditioner* .
Periodic use of concentrated moisture masks, such as The Body Shop Rainforest Moisture Hair Butter* can also help.
Finally, you might try an occasional glazea clear treatment that adds glossiness to your hair and stays on through multiple shampoos. Most salons offer glaze treatments. Or you can do it yourself at home with Oscar Blandi At Home Salon Glaze Shine Rinse* .
Youll need new styling tools as your hair grows finer. Your old ones will not work as well, and may even damage your hair. Three styling tips:
3. Reduce blow drying to a minimum. The finer your hair is, the more damage blow drying will do.
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How To Stop Menopausal Hair Loss According To A Trichologist
Lets face it If youre a woman, youre eventually going to experience the dreaded menopause. Hot flashes, mood swings, insomnia, weight gain. And, if that isnt enough, millions of women experience hair loss during menopause. Most doctors declare menopause as an estrogen-deficient time, where a womans estrogen level drops by 90%, so there may be even more hair loss after youve completed menopause.
Can Hrt Help Stop Hair Loss
Women go through menopause because they have stopped going through their monthly menstruation cycle. They stop ovulating or making eggs as a result of the end of this phase, and they are no longer producing estrogen. Many menopausal women use HRT to replace the hormones.
Whats HRT? HRT is short for hormone replacement therapy, and its designed to put back the lost hormones. It also helps to treat hot flashes and control mood swings a woman goes through. Besides those symptoms, she has night sweats and interrupted sleep.
Sometimes, a woman will lose her hair before, during or after menopause. Menopausal symptoms can be managed through a proper diet, exercise, and a good HRT. Doctors recommend women going through the change early take part in HRT. Unless there are reasons why a woman would not benefit from HRT, she should remain on the program until menopause has passed.
There has been much controversy surrounding HRT, but many women have success with using the creams, patches or pills. Hormone replacement therapy can prevent hair loss while relieving the other signs. There are other options for hair loss, however. Read on to find out what you can do.
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Wigs And Head Coverings
If hair loss is extensive, you may find that a wig or head covering can give a life-changing confidence boost. Wigs are widely available on the high street, online and from the NHS Alopecia UK has a thorough and informative guide here. Be aware of the latest concerns regarding the use of human hair and its link to modern slavery and trafficking. Leading hairdresser and wig maker Denise McAdam now only works with synthetic hair for this reason.