MENOPAUSE & HAIR LOSS
Have you begun the stages of menopause? Wondering what is happening to your hair? Many things fluctuate and change during menopause – hair being one of them. The shift in hormones is to blame and is also the main culprit for many of the symptoms which include hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, insomnia and as if that’s not enough…hair loss.
The good news? Hair loss can be reversible once the hormones settle down and balance out and hair will return to its natural growth cycle. In the meantime, INTACT can help minimize excessive hair shedding for one less added stress to think about.
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Menopause – The Timeline
All in all, menopause is a relatively slow process that can span years. This unavoidable and big life change typically emerges around the age of 40 called perimenopause, although for some women it will occur earlier. Subtle changes will present themselves and over time become more pronounced as estrogen levels fall.
Once estrogen starts to decrease, ovaries will release less eggs and menstruation will become less regular. After a woman goes 12 months without her period, she is considered postmenopausal. Symptoms may persist – like hot flashes – but will eventually subside.
The Link Between Hair & Hormones
As a woman, chances are the hormone shifts during menopause are not the first time hormones have entangled themselves in the growth, texture, fullness and feel of your hair. Puberty, pregnancy, after giving birth and menopause are all significant times in life in which hormones rise and fall.
Estrogen, progesterone and testosterone are the primary culprits – toss in stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline and you have a cocktail of triggers that can impact the complex ecosystem of the hair follicle and hair growth cycle.
The onset of puberty with the rise in estrogen, along with some other hormones like thyroxine, triiodothyronine, androgen and insulin can change hair texture, making straight hair curly or curly hair straight.
Higher levels of estrogen during pregnancy cause hair to flourish during this time as hair sits in the growth phase longer and sheds less. Hair may feel fuller, shinier and healthier.
Postpartum alopecia, aka hair loss after childbirth, is common for many women. Dropping levels of estrogen shifts the hair growth cycle into telogen effluvium which is a sudden onset of excessive hair shedding. Once hormones get back into balance, the normal hair growth cycle should resume and the excessive hair shedding will subside.
Estrogen falls the most dramatically during menopause and progesterone also decreases. These decreases allow for an increase in the male androgen hormone testosterone, which can convert to DHT causing hair follicle miniaturization and lead to hair thinning and hair loss.
Managing Menopause & Hair Loss
Eating well, exercising, getting a good night’s rest and managing stress are critical in helping the body manage hormonal changes and to help get a handle on excessive hair shedding and hair loss.
Hair Shedding or Hair Loss
What’s the Difference?
Due to the multitude of factors that may contribute to hair loss and the many kinds of hair loss conditions, it can be overwhelming to understand this complex issue. Even understanding the difference between hair shedding and hair loss can be difficult as this terminology is often used interchangeably. Let’s take a closer look at how they do indeed differ.
Normal hair shedding is considered 50-150 strands a day. At times, and due to certain life changes or practices, we may experience more hair fall. When the body sheds hair excessively, this is called Telogen Effluvium. Typically, this type of hair shedding is temporary and can be resolved once the cause is addressed. Hair will go back to its normal growth cycle in 6-9 months.
Hair Shedding Triggers
• Acute stress
• Sickness with high fever
• Giving birth
• Rapid weight loss / crash dieting
• Having an operation
Hair loss on the other hand is when hair stops growing. This type of hair loss is called Anagen Effluvium. Hereditary hair loss, auto-immune disorders and drugs, medical treatments or certain health disorders will trigger anagen effluvium. A dermatologist can help you determine if you have hair loss or excessive hair shedding and can put you on the right path to resolving your condition.
Hair Loss Triggers
• Genetic hair loss, called Female Pattern Hair Loss
• Immune disorders
• Permanent Traction Alopecia
• Trichotillomania – disorder where one pulls their own hair out
• Chemotherapy-induced alopecia