Does Menopause Cause Hair Loss?

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Menopause is a common biological process that marks the end of a woman’s reproductive years. Along with hormonal changes, menopause can bring about various physical and emotional changes. One common symptom experienced by many women during this time is hair loss. Hair loss during menopause can be distressing and impact a woman’s self-esteem. However, understanding the causes and exploring management options can help women confidently navigate this transitional phase. This article will delve into the factors contributing to hair loss during menopause and discuss strategies to cope with this condition effectively.

Understanding Hair Growth Cycle

Before exploring the causes of hair loss during menopause, it’s essential to understand the hair growth cycle. Hair grows in three stages: anagen (growth phase), catagen (transitional phase), and telogen (resting phase). Around 90% of the hair is in the anagen phase, while the remaining 10% is in the telogen phase. During menopause, hormonal changes can disrupt the hair growth cycle, leading to increased shedding and thinning of hair.

Hormonal Factors

  1. Estrogen and Progesterone: Estrogen is crucial in maintaining hair health and growth. During menopause, estrogen levels decline significantly, leading to an imbalance between estrogen and androgen (male hormones). This hormonal shift can cause hair follicles to become more sensitive to androgen, leading to hair thinning and miniaturization.
  2. Androgenetic Alopecia: Androgenetic alopecia, also known as female pattern hair loss, is a genetic condition influenced by androgens. Women who have a hereditary predisposition to androgenetic alopecia may experience accelerated hair loss during menopause due to the hormonal changes mentioned earlier.

Other Contributing Factors

  1. Telogen Effluvium: Telogen effluvium is a condition with a shift in the hair growth cycle, causing more hair follicles to penetrate the resting phase. Physical or emotional stressors, nutrient deficiencies, or certain medications can trigger this shift. Menopause can be stressful, and the combination of hormonal changes and external stressors can contribute to telogen effluvium.
  2. Thyroid Dysfunction: Thyroid disorders, such as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, can affect hair growth. Menopause is when women are more prone to thyroid dysfunction, and an underactive or overactive thyroid can contribute to hair loss.
  3. Nutritional Deficiencies: A balanced diet of essential nutrients is crucial for healthy hair growth. However, menopausal women may face challenges in maintaining a nutritious diet. Iron, zinc, biotin, and vitamin D deficiency can negatively impact hair health.

Coping Strategies and Management Options

  1. Consultation with Healthcare experts: If you are experiencing significant hair loss during menopause, it is advisable to consult a healthcare experienced, such as a dermatologist or a gynecologist, to determine the underlying cause and receive appropriate guidance.
  2. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT): Hormone replacement therapy involves using estrogen or a mixture of estrogen and progesterone to alleviate menopausal symptoms. HRT may help improve hair thickness and reduce hair loss in some women. However, discussing the potential risks and usefulness with a healthcare professional before considering this option is essential.
  3. Nutritional Supplements: Supplements containing essential nutrients like biotin, iron, zinc, and vitamin D may help support hair health. However, it is important to consult a healthcare expert before starting any supplements to ensure they suit you and won’t interact with any medications you may be taking.
  4. Stress Management: Implementing stress reduction techniques, such as regular exercise, meditation, and mindfulness, can help manage hair loss caused by stress or telogen effluvium.
  5. Haircare Practices: Gentle hair care practices can minimize hair damage and breakage. Avoiding harsh chemical treatments, using a wide-toothed comb or a brush with soft bristles, and avoiding excessive heat styling can help maintain the hair’s health.

Hair loss during menopause can be a challenging and distressing experience for many women. However, understanding the underlying causes and exploring effective management strategies can help alleviate the impact on self-esteem and overall well-being. By seeking professional guidance, addressing hormonal imbalances, managing stress, and adopting healthy hair care practices, women can confidently navigate this transitional phase and maintain optimal hair health. Remember, each woman’s experience with menopausal hair loss may vary, so it’s crucial to consult a healthcare expert to decide the best course of action for your situation.

Here we discuss this with Dr. Becky Lee, a naturopathic doctor, to get her thoughts on this topic.

Does Menopause Cause Hair Loss?

NourishDoc: Why do we encounter hair loss with menopause? 

Naturopathist Dr.Lee: There are a few reasons why women might experience hair loss. Cancer therapies are one of them; other things include high thyroid hormone issues, such as nutrient deficiencies. In menopause, we know that the decrease in estrogen levels can also impact how our hair naturally wants to grow and the strength of that hair. 

For any woman experiencing hair loss, there are usually multiple factors here that could also play a part. So in terms of some of the natural strategies for hair loss, we want to look back at some of those underlying root causes; the helpful two popular supplements that many women probably talk about are collagen and biotin. 

Collagen in our body can also produce naturally in many ways. To improve collagen production Vitamin-C is essential. Our hair is made of protein, so we need it to ensure adequate amounts; it’s about eight grams per kilogram daily. We also want to protect our backs from physical damage; we talked about physical care is important. Gentle scalp massages are beneficial. A good diet is crucial.

And the other thing many people need to consider is protecting our hair from UV rays; wearing a hat can help protect your hair follicles from the UV rays that could damage your hair. Stress can also play a factor, so minimizing that stress and working on that stress resiliency is going to be critical; important too. Pumpkin seed oil potentially helps with hair loss and growth, especially if there’s what they call an androgenic or more of a testosterone-type element there. It can help that hair to regrow.

NourishDoc: It’s not just popping a pill; everything will work out, right?

Naturopathist Dr.Lee: Absolutely. And yeah, even with natural supplements, I think we have that idea in our heads that okay, just this one supplement, whether it’s college or biotin, is going to be it, but often it could be like a few things that can be helpful instead of just one.

Naturopathic Doctor Recommendations

NourishDoc: Recommendation from a naturopathic doctor is important
Naturopathist Dr.Lee: Just going with the natural route and ensuring right, we often just look at medications. But I think we’ve started to shift all of those ideas around the fact that just medications can help with that because there are some medications we may be on that could be impacting that. And certainly, if you have to be on those medications, there are other strategies too.


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