Many menopausal women want to know if hormonal hair loss can be reversed. The answer is yes! Fortunately, unlike genetic hair loss, you can reverse most hair loss caused by hormonal imbalances. If you are entering the years of perimenopause (before menopause), it is a good idea to check your hormone levels. This will help you better understand why you are experiencing symptoms such as hair loss.
When women experience hair loss and other symptoms of menopause, it is predominantly due to hormonal changes. As women age, we have fewer and fewer eggs available to mature and be released by the ovaries. Because of this, the ovaries begin to decrease the amount of estrogen that is normally produced. As your body responds to the fluctuations in hormones, there are numerous physical changes that occur. And menopausal hair loss is directly related to the decreased production of estrogen and progesterone.
As these hormone levels drop, your hair begins to grow more slowly and become thinner. Over time, the decrease in estrogen and progesterone causes an increase in the male hormones that your body also makes. These are call androgens. Androgens cause the hair follicles on your head to shrink, which leads to hair loss. These are the same hormones that are responsible for increased facial hair growth in menopausal women.
Among other factors contributing to hair loss are lack of nutrients, stress, or illness can all also cause hair loss. Your doctor may suggest tests for basic blood count, thyroid, or hormone levels to know the cause of your hair loss.
Perimenopausal hair loss
Perimenopausal hair loss can be just as dramatic as menopausal hair loss. The two are related to the same changes in hormone levels. Perimenopause is the time prior to menopause and can last several years. During perimenopause, your hormones are fluctuating and cause some of the same symptoms we typically associate with menopause.
If your hair continues to thin after menopause and natural treatments, there are different things you can try to help camouflage this issue. Some hair stylists will suggest shortening the length of your hair. This adds volume and reduces the weight of your hair. It can also help hide problem spots.
Some more-permanent but also costly options include topical hair growth products, hair extensions, wigs, surgical hair transplants, or low-level laser scalp treatments.
Hair loss due to hormones is a reality for many women during menopause and even during pregnancy. But will it grow back? The answer is yes, but there are also things that you can do to help your body along.
Wash your hair regularly (every 2–3 days) with a mild shampoo free of added chemicals. Treat your hair gently. Don’t comb or brush your hair when it’s wet. Using your fingers to detangle is a gentler option. Putting your hair up in a tight bun or ponytail can cause added stress on the hair and its follicle.
Finally, try to limit the use of hair dryers or irons on your hair. They can dry and damage your hair.
Here are five tips to prevent hair loss during your menopausal transition.
1. More movement
Exercise is one of the best things you can do to improve your health and wellbeing during menopause. Regular exercise can decrease your chances of heart disease, high cholesterol, and diabetes. This is because as we exercise, we improve circulation and muscle tone and can better maintain a healthy weight. Exercise can also improve symptoms associated with perimenopause, including bloating, mood swings, stress, and sleep disturbances.
2. More water
One of the most apparent physical changes you will notice during menopause is in the appearance of your skin and hair. Many women report that their skin becomes dryer and thinner as they age. You will sometimes hear this referred to as “crepey” skin. Dry skin can be treated with topical lotions. An easy way to combat dry skin and hair during menopause is to drink more water.
If you are experiencing hot flashes and night sweats, it is especially important to drink more water. Water is also helpful in flushing toxins and other waste products from your body. This helps alleviate symptoms such as joint pain, constipation, bloating, and fatigue.
3. Less stress
Stress can cause unwanted health outcomes regardless of your age. One of the best things that you can do for your overall health is to reduce the amount of stress in your life. Lower estrogen levels can cause menopausal hair loss as well as mood swings, anxiety, and depression. Stress only adds to this. To reduce stress levels, try yoga, tai chi, or other exercises that help you clear your mind and relax.
4. Eat well
A well-balanced diet is always a wise choice when addressing health. As women age, our nutritional needs change slightly along with the shift in hormones. As estrogen levels decrease, women become more susceptible to conditions such as fractures, constipation, anemia, and weight gain.
A healthy diet during menopause should contain fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, calcium-rich foods (like milk, cheese, and yogurt), iron-rich foods (like red meat, fish, eggs, and leafy green vegetables) and good sources of fiber. Watch your portions and cut back on fatty foods, refined sugar, and sodium. Some sources suggest avoiding foods and drinks that can trigger menopausal symptoms, such as spicy foods, caffeine, and alcohol.
5. Try natural supplements
There are many foods that have been shown to increase estrogen naturally. This is an option for women who want to naturally reduce the symptoms of menopause. Some of these include red wine (in moderate amounts), grapes, blueberries, nuts, soy products, dried fruits, and flaxseed. These can help provide a natural source of estrogen and possibly prevent the need for hormone replacement therapy.
Recent studies have reported that more than 40 percent of women will experience menopausal hair loss. Unfortunately, it’s often an unavoidable and unpleasant side effect of changes in hormone levels during menopause. Remember, though, that you’re not alone and that, in most cases, menopausal hair loss is not permanent.