We discuss the effects of menopause on your tresses.
By Angela Bekiaris
Hot flashes and mood swings are expected during the big change, but who knew you were going to lose your hair in the process too. And while you have come to accept menopause as a natural stage of womanhood, coming to grips with losing your hair is difficult.
According to reports, about 40 percent of women experience hair thinning during or after menopause, which is almost at the same rate as men. However unlike male pattern hair loss, hereditary hair loss in women is usually a lot subtler and it can be easy to miss the early warning signs. For many women, the first signs and symptoms may come in the form of a smaller ponytail, a wider part line or excessive shedding during brushing and showering, say experts, before, during or after menopause.
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. Androgens, or male hormones, increase as estrogen levels decrease, which 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.
With September being Menopause Awareness Month, we thought we would help you understand why you’re going slightly bald – and how to treat it.
- Firstly your hormones play a major role – while your hair becomes full and beautiful during pregnancy, the declining levels during menopause may have the opposite impact.
- Contributing factors including genetic predisposition, unusual levels of stress, other hormonal imbalances – like thyroid, for example – nutritional or iron deficiencies, crash diets, as well as illness, medications and your surgical history, need to be looked at.
- Start treatment ASAP – if you’ve noticed your hair is thinning out, don’t wait to lose more! Hair restoration physicians may recommend both pharmaceutical and lifestyle changes to women experiencing menopause-related hair-loss problems. Chat to them – or to your doctor – about what products you can use or medication you can take. Make sure you get help from someone who specialises exclusively in the medical diagnosis, treatment and tracking of hair loss and its treatment.
In Celeb Styles magazine (Bonang on the cover) pages 60 to 63 to read the full article.