The Menopause: Hair Loss & Thinning Hair
Thinning Hair & Menopause
The menopause. A perfectly natural process that every woman has to go through… But it doesn’t make the word any less daunting.
Menopause is when you stop menstruating and can no longer become pregnant naturally. The average age this starts to occur is around fifty years old, and as the body’s hormonal levels begin to alter, women can experience a change in their hair pattern.
At first, this can be quite distressing, and if you’re reading this because it’s happening to you, please remember – you are not alone. Our hair is something we express ourselves with, via cut, style, and how we wear it. So when anyone experiences hair loss or thinning, for whatever reason, it can make them feel less in control, less feminine, and can diminish their confidence.
When you reach the menopause, you may find that hair seems to fill your hairbrush more, clog the drain more often, appear more prominent on your clothing etc. and its volume and condition may have depleted.
But why? Unfortunately, it’s almost always because our body is experiencing a new hormonal imbalance. When the body begins to go through the menopausal process, it produces less oestrogen and progesterone which are the hormones that help hair grow and keep it alive in the hair follicle. When these levels drop during menopause, the body starts to counteract the loss by producing androgens (like testosterone) which are typically male hormones. Androgens shrink hair follicles which can result in hair loss and thinning.
Menopausal women can also experience hair loss and hair thinning from their eyebrows, eyelashes, underarm hair, leg hair, and/or pubic hair. You may also find that hair breakage occurs more easily after menopause too. This is because the new hairs that your follicles produce progressively become finer, and this type of hair is naturally more fragile.
However, for some women, the surge in androgens can cause surprise patches of facial hair growth in places like the chin. (Can we catch a break please?)
The menopause can be an emotionally turbulent time. It might feel difficult to navigate and can be an overwhelming period of your life, particularly if your hair is affected.
Thankfully, there are several ways in which you can help support your hair through the menopause.
Thinning Hair & Menopause? Drink Water
In order to function properly, your body needs to be hydrated. How strong your hair is and how fast it grows can be linked to how efficiently your body eliminates toxins.
Avoid juices, sodas, caffeinated and sugary drinks, and get H20 happy! You should aim to drink at least 2 litres of water a day - this is about 8 to 10 glasses - more if you’re exercising.
Thinning Hair & Menopause? Move and De-Stress
When your oestrogen levels nose dive, this can affect your moods and induce feelings of depression and anxiety. Stress can also cause a further spike in the androgen hormones – the ones that cause hair follicles to shrink.
Regular exercise can help lower your stress levels and keep androgens at bay. Yoga, breathing exercises, and meditation can also be a great way of managing stress as well. Menopause can also cause weight gain and insomnia, which exercise can support in minimising too.
Thinning Hair & Menopause? Stimulate Your Hair Follicles
Using targeted hair growth and thickening products are a great way of supporting your hair during menopause.
Look to products like Cel’s Microstem Hair Stimulation Formula, designed specifically to fight hair loss and encourage new hair growth. This advanced serum is able to activate damaged and shrunken hair follicles, promote hair growth by lengthening the growth phase in the cell cycle, as well as blocking the hair-killing androgen hormone DHT, known to advance hair loss and encourages high cell turnover to promote new hair growth.
Introducing a scalp massage can be a great way of stimulating and reactivating your hair follicles. Our blood carries nutrients around the body to fuel and feed its functionings and processes, including the hair follicles and theirs, so when we massage we’re encouraging the blood to a specific area. Whilst washing your hair and lathering your targeted shampoo, use the fingertips of both hands to apply a light to medium pressure to the scalp, moving in small circular motions. Work your way across the entire scalp, and for around 5-10 minutes every day.
Thinning Hair & Menopause? Protect Your Hair: Inside and Out
Inside: As well as staying hydrated, eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet can protect your hair from thinning and falling, particularly through menopause. Essential fatty acids play a crucial role in maintaining hair health so look at incorporating oily fish like salmon and tuna, nuts like walnuts and almonds, and oils like olive, flaxseed, and sesame. Read up on more foods that fuel hair growth here.
Outside: Extensions, chemical and colour treatments and heat stylers can compromise all hair types, particularly vulnerable, thinning and weak hair like some menopausal women can experience. When we enter the menopausal period, the more natural the better when it comes to our hair. If colouring is a must, try to stick to as natural dye as possible and use a nourishing hair mask before and after your treatment to keep it well-conditioned.
Day to day, when you're out in the sun or the wind for extended periods of time, it's important to wear a hat to protect your hair from drying and breakage as UV rays and excessive wind can have an adverse effect on your hair. Do you swim? Chlorine can contribute to further hair breakage, so if you’re a swimmer, make sure to wear a cap.
Final Thoughts On Hair Loss, Thinning Hair & Menopause...
If you’re experiencing hair loss and thinning and are of menopausal age, it’s worth bearing in mind that it might not all be related to your hormones. If you’re extremely stressed, have dramatically changed your diet, or have been ill, these are all factors that can have a similar effect. Genetics are important too and you may notice a family link with both male and female hair loss. It’s always worth checking in with your doctor if you think you’re going through the menopause and/or are experiencing dramatic hair loss.