Are you worried about losing your hair during menopause?
This blog has been written for people concerned about their own hair loss during menopause. Clinicians looking to find out more about hair loss should refer to the BAHRS professional articles where applicable.
Menopause, or, to be more accurate, peri-menopause (the phase leading up to the cessation of a woman’s periods), has many symptoms linked with it. These range from the commonly-associated, such as hot flushes, sweats, changes in mood and weight gain, to the less recognised, such as hair loss.1
It is common for women to shed or lose their hair during menopause and this can range from over all thinning and developing patches of baldness, to full loss of hair.
Hair loss can be distressing for patients at any time – having a significant impact on their confidence and self-esteem2 – but for women who are also going through the hormonal and emotional changes linked to menopause, then losing their hair can be particularly devastating.
As our understanding of the menopause grows, so too do the modalities with which specialists can help women manage their symptoms.
Why do we lose our hair during menopause?
There are two main hormones that play a part in hair loss during menopause – progesterone and testosterone. When a woman enters peri-menopause, her female hormones start to drop off. This imbalance in hormones can lead to loss of hair because these hormones (when in balance) usually help hair grow faster and stay on the head longer.
The testosterone in a woman’s body also changes during this time to weaken the hair on the head and strengthen the hair on the face, breasts and legs.
Here’s some advice for anyone concerned about losing their hair:
- See your GP. Your first port of call should always be your GP for any medical concerns. They will be best placed to carry out any necessary investigations required to gain a thorough understanding of your individual needs. They can advise you on ways to manage your symptoms, which could include Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). They may refer you to an endocrinologist for further input, or you can seek such input independently in the private sector.
- Seek advice from a hair specialist. A suitable hair specialist, such as a trichologist or dermatologist with an interest in hair, will explore your symptoms related to your hair loss. They may carry out additional investigations and recommend a course of action to either restore or prevent further hair loss.
- Don’t wait until it is too late. The best time to start treatment is when you first notice your hair coming out. The longer you wait to speak to a specialist the more challenging treatment may be.
- Try a hair loss treatment. There are now a wide range of options available to address hair loss. Non-surgical treatments include medications which can be taken alongside adjuvant therapies such low-level light therapy (LLLT), platelet rich plasma (PRP) treatment and mesotherapy. Hair transplant surgery may sometimes be indicated to restore hair loss in specific cases. However, if hair loss is too advanced treatment may be limited to camouflage techniques such as scalp micro-pigmentation medical tattooing, scalp dyes, hair replacement systems such as partial or complete hair pieces and wigs. Your specialist will be able to advise you what the best options are for you following a consultation.
- Consider lifestyle changes. Prioritising a good night’s sleep and eating a healthy, balanced diet are important for overall good health. Many women struggle to sleep during menopause but getting a good night’s rest is one of the best things for you mind and body, including your hair. In addition, some women find that they gain weight during menopause. A healthy balanced diet full of nutrients will help support your hair, body and mental health.
It you’d like to find a BAHRS member trichologist or dermatologist to discuss your hair loss please follow the link: https://www.bahrs.co.uk/find-a-member/
Author: Vicky Eldridge