Hair Loss

Published: September 1, 2015

It is normal to experience major fluctuations in hormone levels as you enter perimenopause, the years before menopause.

Menopause is associated with a number of changes in our physical appearance.  Let’s peer into the some of the hair changes.  As we age, our hair gets sparser on the scalp and may change in texture. Although thinning hair is common after menopause, you should still ask your doctor about it.  Changing hormone levels aren’t the only reason for thinning hair.   Hair loss may be due to a variety of conditions and diseases, such as diabetes, thyroid, stress, inadequate nutrition and others.  In contrast, unwanted growth of hair on the lower face increases.

Causes of Female Hair Loss during this time

1 – CRASH DIET – Lack of protein and iron in your diet can wreak havoc with your hair.

2 – YOUR GENES – A common hereditary condition that you may have: alopecia. You should speak with your doctor regarding hereditary hair loss. There is one FDA-approved treatment for hereditary hair loss in women that your doctor might recommend. Keep in mind the other 5 items in this list also may be playing a part in your hair loss.

3 – HAIRCARE – excessive blow drying, hot-ironing, chemicals.  Go easy on these!

4 – THYROID – Having an overactive or underactive thyroid (diagnosed with a blood test), can cause hair loss.

5 – MEDICATIONS – Various medications have side affects that affect hair, such as some anti-arthritis and antidepressant medications. Talk with your doctor if there might be a medication without these side affects you could use.

6 – POST-PREGNANCY HORMONAL FLUCTUATIONS – Within the six months after giving birth, you shed more hair. If after that time, your hair continues to thin out, you might want to consult your doctor.

What can I do to help my thinning hair?

Take your vitamins – To counteract hormonal fluctuations, consider ramping up your daily vitamin regimen.
Speak with your doctor about adding 2,500 micrograms of biotin (some multivitamins contain this amount; check the label), a B vitamin that may strengthen the integrity of hair follicles and make strands less prone to breakage.
If you do not already take a women’s multi, most doctors say you should. The essential nutrients—like vitamins C, D, and E, and folic acid—will help keep your body and hair in good shape.

Omega-3 fatty acids, abundant in fish like salmon and tuna, may help stimulate hair growth.
Fish- or flaxseed-oil capsules work well to consume omega-3.

Eat enough protein
Protein goes a long way toward maintaining the strength and pliability of your hair.
Most women do not get the recommended 37 to 50 grams per day. You can consume more protein from foods like tofu, lean meat, and eggs.
Protein helps to protect your skin, hair and bones from the natural effects of aging.

Do not be afraid to talk about hair loss with your doctor.  If they know about your situation, your doctor can provide potential suggestions or suggest someone who specializes in cases similar to yours.

How does hair grow?
Each strand of hair usually grows about one inch every two months for four years; then it falls out and is replaced by a new one.
Hair starts in a hair bulb (where new hair cells are made), located within the dermis, under the epidermis. From there, hair goes into the hair follicle where cells divide and grow. As we age, hair follicles stop making melanin and white or gray hairs start appearing.
As with skin, the base ingredient in hair is the protein keratin.

In female pattern baldness, which affects up to 40% of women, hair begins to thin on the top of the scalp and sometimes all over the head.
The problem is often inherited, but a hormone imbalance can also be a cause. Your doctor can suggest what would be best for your situation, possibly a topical solution applied directly to the area where thinning is occurring, or she can suggest other treatments to help stimulate new growth.

Our self-esteem can be vulnerable when it comes to our hair and it doesn’t look how we think it should.
When we are confronted with the challenges of growing older and handling hair issues, it is sometimes difficult to age gracefully.
Remember you are not alone hair changes happen to many women.  Consider these suggestions, and do not be afraid to talk about it.
Go forward and age gracefully my friend!