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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.
Hair loss is a common symptom in menopausal women because it is induced by hormonal fluctuations – especially estrogen fluctuations – and stress. There are several natural ways to help prevent hair loss, like hot oil treatments, reducing stress, and eating nutrient-rich foods like guava and salmon.
Hair loss and itchy scalp can be caused by a variety of conditions, only some of which are directly treatable. Hormonal imbalances, deficiencies in diet, and harsh maintenance techniques can all contribute to both conditions, as can the stress and anxiety induced by the disorders themselves.
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.
Excess of vitamin A
Lack vitamins B and C
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.
Testosterone is a hormone that tends to be associated with men, but females produce this hormone, too. Testosterone plays a part in the growth of healthy hair, and when menopausal hormonal changes take place, a deficiency in testosterone may result in female pattern hair loss (FPHL).
Losing hair at an abnormal rate is the body's natural way of saying that something is wrong. Hair loss, unless it occurs with old age, is generally not normal. Be aware of the signs, and visit your doctor before it gets out of hand and the need is dire.
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.
Hair loss is a common symptom among postmenopausal women, and is primarily caused by hormonal fluctuations (specifically estrogen and testosterone). There are several natural ways to help prevent hair loss, including hot oil treatments, regular exercise, reducing stress, and eating-nutrient rich foods like avocados and salmon.
Hair loss during menopause is a troublesome symptom that many women experience. However, there are certain nutrient-rich foods containing vitamins and minerals that can help prevent this from happening. These foods can easily be incorporated into your daily diet by getting creative with cooking, or if necessary, you can take a supplement.
- "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.
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