Hair loss is a condition traditionally associated with men; however, it is a reality for an astonishing number of women as well. Particularly during menopause, when hormones are imbalanced, hair loss is an unfortunately common occurrence. Often, this is one of the first symptoms of menopause that a woman notices. Hair loss can be one of the more depressing symptoms of menopause, as a woman's hair is associated with her femininity, sexuality, and individual sense of style.
Fortunately, through learning more about how and why it occurs, it is possible to treat hair loss. Keep reading to find out more about hair loss as it occurs in menopause, why it happens, and how to treat it.
About Hair Loss
The average head contains approximately 100,000 hairs at any given time. Hair is formed from keratin, a protein that also forms the nails and outer layer of skin. Above the surface, the part that is brushed and styled, each strand of hair is actually dead tissue secreted by hair follicles, which exist below the scalp's surface. This visible section is called the hair shaft.
Hair remains on the head for a length of time between 2 and 6 years, during which time it grows continually, this growing phase is known as anagen. By contrast, there is also a resting phase known as telogen, about three months in duration, in which the hair stops growing and falls out.
It is normal to lose 50-100 hairs each day. These are constantly regenerated by the hair follicles. However, it is possible for a far greater loss of hair occur, particularly in women undergoing the transition to menopause.
Not all hair loss is the same. As it can be caused by a variety of factors, there are a number of ways in which it might manifest itself. When imagining hair loss, many people automatically picture male pattern baldness, which is characterized by the receding hairline and bald patch on top of the head. In menopausal women, this hair loss tends to not be as noticeable, with an overall thinning in most cases rather than bald spots.
Symptoms of hair loss
As some degree of hair loss is normal, it may be difficult to ascertain whether or not the amount of hair being shed warrants concern. The following are some of the most commons symptoms of hair loss in menopause:
• Hair falls out in large clumps when washing it.
• Large snarls of hair appear in the brush or comb.
• Small bald patches appear on the scalp.
• Scalp is red, oily, or itchy.
• Noticeable hair thinning occurs on the front, sides or top of head.
If experiencing these symptoms, it is likely that hair loss has reached a problematic point. Click on the following link for more information about the specific types of hair loss during menopause, or continue reading to learn more about the causes of hair loss during menopause.
A comprehensive overview of baldness and hair loss in women. This problem is often caused by menopause, though a variety of other causes are possible, including major illness, childbirth, and severe emotional stress. Certain conditions that may result in hair loss include lupus. Solutions for baldness and hair loss vary, and may include lifestyle changes.
It is important to take control of menopausal hair loss problems before they take control of you. Find information on how to manage and minimize hair loss, with five tips for natural treatments and things to avoid. Advice includes styling techniques, swapping chemical products for natural oils, and having regular gentle head massages.
Causes of Hair Loss
Hair loss during menopause is usually a direct result of fluctuating hormone levels. Two main hormones are involved in hair growth: estrogen and testosterone. In estrogenic alopecia, the most common type of hair loss for menopausal women, hair loss is directly attributed to a fall in estrogen levels. Estrogen helps hair grow faster and stay on the head longer, leading to thicker, healthier hair.
Estrogen is not the only hormone that comes into play menopausal hair loss. Androgens, or male hormones, increase as estrogen levels decrease. This causes androgenic alopecia, another form of hair loss. An androgen known as dihydrotestosterone ( DHT), appears to bind to hair follicles and force them to go into their "resting" phases, or telogen, sooner than normal, causing the new hairs to grow ever thinner with each cycle of hair growth. Testosterone also shrinks hair follicles, causing hair loss on the head but a greater production of hair on the face.
It is not only hormones that can cause a decrease in hair production during menopause; there are a number of other causes that can lead to hair loss. Keep reading to learn more about other less common causes of hair loss.
For menopausal women, the cause of hair loss almost always is at least partially hormonal, there are many other factors that may also play a role in hair loss during menopause, including medical, psychological, or lifestyle triggers.
• Thyroid disorders
• Pituitary problems
• Chronic illnesses
• Scarlet fever
• Emotional stress
• Traumatic events
• Eating disorders
• Excess of vitamin A
• Lack vitamins B and C
• Iron deficiency
• Lack of protein
• Lack of exercise
• Pulling or twisting hair
Fortunately, through learning more about the causes of hair loss, it is possible to treat it. Click on the following link to find more information about the causes of hair loss during menopause, or read on to find out more about ways to overcome hair loss during menopause.
Find information on reasons for hair loss during menopause. Causes during this time will be primarily hormonal, and may be caused be an imbalance in levels of estrogen and androgen. Learn about other possible causes of hair loss in women, such as stress, improper nutrition or the possibility of an underlying medical condition.
A number of factors may contribute to menopausal hair loss, such as genetics and vitamin and mineral deficiencies. These deficiencies can be addressed by ensuring a balanced and nutritious diet is consumed. Learn about the key vitamins and minerals to include in your diet and the foods which contain these. Essentials include vitamin b and omega-3 fatty acids.
Treatments for Hair Loss
Americans spend 1 billion dollars per year on hair loss treatments. Unfortunately, according to The American Hair Loss Society, 99% of these treatments are ineffective. For women in particular, most do not want to sit back and let their hair fall out slowly without taking action. Luckily, there are alternative solutions that can be successful for women experiencing hair loss.
Lifestyle adjustments may help. Changes in diet and hair care are beneficial to some degree, as diet affects the rate of hair growth. Increasing one's intake of protein, vitamin B, vitamin C, and iron all help. Exercise and stress reduction techniques such as yoga or meditation improve overall health, and taking care to not pull or twist hair can minimize damage.
On a deeper level, because a high percentage of hair loss is caused by changes in hormone levels, it may be beneficial to use alternative treatments that help to balance these hormones, such as herbs that stimulate the body into producing its own hormones again. Many times, the most effective and safest solution is to combine lifestyle adjustments with alternative treatments.
For extreme cases, there are medications or hair transplant surgeries available, but care should be taken as these can be risky and side effects are possible.
Most experts recommend that women who suffer from hair loss and wish to treat it begin first with lifestyle changes, then move on to alternative medicines (ideally combining the two), and then finally resort to drugs or surgery if nothing else seems to work. Click on the following link to learn more about specific treatments for hair loss during menopause.
There is a variety of alternative medicine options available for treating hair loss. The first step is to eat a balanced diet which includes iron and protein, vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids. Herbal supplements may also be used, such as phytoestrogenic and hormone-regulating supplements. Further steps and treatments should always be discussed with a doctor.
A number of effective alternative treatments exist which may have a significant effect on reversing a woman's hair loss during menopause. These include lifestyle changes, such as reducing stress and ensuring proper nutrition. Taking alternative medicines like phytoestrogenic and hormone-regulating supplements may also be beneficial, especially when combined with lifestyle changes.
- "Hair Loss". Mayo Clinic. www.mayoclinic.com.
- Dr. McNair, Trisha. "Hair Loss". BBC Health. www.bbc.co.uk.
- "Womens Hair Loss". The American Hair Loss Association. www.americanhairloss.org.
Updated on August 13rd, 2013
Hair loss or hair thinning is a common menopausal symptom. However, it can seriously affect a woman's confidence leaving her feeling less...
Updated on August 7th, 2013
Menopause is a time when hormonal shifts are occurring in the body, so it is not uncommon for menopausal women to notice physical changes...
Updated on July 15th, 2013
Loss of hair can be devastating and distressing for women, so the prospect of losing it is extremely...
Updated on April 29th, 2013
It's no secret that hair loss sometimes comes with menopause, but that doesn't mean you won't want to hide your menopausal thinning hair. The good...
Updated on July 18th, 2011
Shock, horror – menopause is happening. You can't stop it; first there were hot flashes, then...
Updated on July 16th, 2011
Because menopause is a time when hormonal changes are occurring in the body, it is not....
Updated on July 14th, 2011
Menopause is an inevitable part of life for women. Hair loss, on the other hand, does not...
Updated on July 6th, 2011
Losing your hair because of menopause can be an upsetting experience that jeopardizes your self-image. Women often feel unattractive when their...
Read all Hair Loss Articles
Other Articles for Hair Loss: