1. Your cycle
  2. Menopause
  3. Changes

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Menopausal Hair Loss: Is It Reversible?

Menopause is a time of extreme hormonal changes that typically occurs around the late 40s and early 50s. After menopause, many different physical symptoms can appear, including menopausal hair loss. These symptoms can also include hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, insomnia, and vaginal dryness. 

Many people want to know if hormonal hair loss can be reversed. The answer is yes! Fortunately, unlike genetic hair loss, most hair loss caused by hormonal imbalances is reversible. 

Menopause and hair loss: what’s the connection? 

When entering the years of menopausal transition, it is a good idea to check the body’s hormone levels. This can help explain symptoms such as hair loss.

When a person experiences hair loss and other symptoms of menopause, it is predominantly due to hormonal changes. With age, the ovaries begin to decrease the amount of sex hormones that are normally produced. As the body responds to the fluctuations in hormones, numerous physical changes occur. Menopausal hair loss is directly related to the decreased production of estrogen and progesterone. 

As these hormone levels drop, hair may begin to grow more slowly and become thinner. Over time, the decrease in estrogen and progesterone causes an increase in the activity of male hormones (called androgens) that the body makes. Androgens cause the hair follicles on the head to shrink, which leads to hair loss. These are the same hormones that are responsible for increased facial hair growth in menopausal people. 

Among other factors that contribute to hair loss are lack of nutrients, stress, and illness. A health care provider may suggest tests for basic blood count, thyroid function, or hormone levels to identify the cause of hair loss.

Hair loss during menopausal transition

Hair loss during the menopausal transition can be just as dramatic as menopausal hair loss. The two are both related to the same changes in hormone levels. The menopausal transition is the time leading up to menopause and can last several years. During the menopausal transition, fluctuating hormones can cause some of the same symptoms typically associated with menopause.

How to hide thinning hair after menopause 

If hair continues to thin after menopause and natural treatments have been ineffective, there are things that can help camouflage this issue. Some hair stylists will suggest shortening the length of hair. This adds volume and reduces the weight of 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, and low-level laser scalp treatments.

Hair loss due to hormones: Will it grow back? 

Hair loss due to hormones is a reality for many people after menopause as well as during pregnancy. But will it grow back? The answer is yes, but there are also things that can help the body along. 

Wash hair regularly (every two to three days) with a mild shampoo. Treat hair gently. Don’t comb or brush hair when it’s wet. Using the fingers to detangle is a gentler option. Putting hair up in a tight bun or ponytail can cause added stress on the hair and its follicles. 

Finally, try to limit the use of hair dryers or irons on hair, as they can dry and damage it. 

Menopausal hair loss prevention: Five simple tips 

Here are five tips to prevent hair loss during the menopausal transition and after menopause:

1. More movement

Exercise is one of the best things to do to improve overall health and well-being during menopause. Regular exercise can decrease the chances of heart disease, high cholesterol, and diabetes. This is because exercise improves circulation and muscle tone and can help maintain a healthy weight. Exercise can also improve symptoms associated with menopause, including bloating, mood swings, stress, and sleep disturbances. 

2. More water

One of the most apparent physical changes after menopause is the appearance of skin and hair. Many people report that their skin becomes dryer and thinner as they age. This is sometimes referred to as “crepey” skin. Dry skin can be treated with topical lotions. An easy way to combat dry skin and hair after menopause is to drink more water. 

Hydration is especially important for those who are experiencing hot flashes and night sweats. Water also helps flush toxins and other waste products from the body. This helps alleviate symptoms such as joint pain, constipation, bloating, and fatigue.

3. Less stress

Stress can impact health regardless of age. Reducing and finding ways to manage stress are important parts of maintaining health. 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 clear the mind and relax.

4. Eat well

A well-balanced diet is always important when it comes to health. With age, the body’s nutritional needs change slightly, along with the shift in hormones. As estrogen levels decrease, the body becomes more susceptible to conditions such as fractures, constipation, anemia, and weight gain. 

A healthy diet during the menopausal transition and after 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. There are vegetarian and non-vegetarian options for a healthy diet. Keep portions under control, 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. Supplements

There are foods that might increase estrogen naturally and help reduce the symptoms of menopause. Some of these include 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

Clinical studies examining the impact of phytoestrogen consumption on human health often show conflicting results. It is currently unknown if these compounds are safe and effective. 

Recent studies have reported that menopausal hair loss occurs in more than 40 percent of cases. It’s often an unavoidable side effect of changes in hormone levels during menopause, but in most cases menopausal hair loss is not permanent.

“What Is Menopause?” National Institute on Aging, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 27 June 2017, www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-menopause.
Goldberg, Lynne J. “Postmenopausal Alopecia (Hair Loss).” SpringerLink, Springer, Cham, 2017, link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-42451-4_11.

Goluch-Koniuszy, Zuzanna Sabina. “Nutrition of Women with Hair Loss Problem during the Period of Menopause.” Przeglad Menopauzalny = Menopause Review, Termedia Publishing House, Mar. 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4828511/.

Colao, Annamaria. “Nutritional Management of Menopausal Women.” SpringerLink, Springer, Cham, 2017, link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-59318-0_18.

Geddes, Kristeen. “Age-Related Changes in the Menopausal Woman: the Role of Hormones in the Skin.” Journal of Aesthetic Nursing, 1 Apr. 2016, www.magonlinelibrary.com/doi/abs/10.12968/joan.2016.5.3.120.

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