If you’re like most women, your hair is your crowning glory. Since your early teens (or even earlier in some cases!) you’ve tweaked it, permed it, coloured it, grown it long, cut it short, frizzed it, straightened it, curled it, gelled it and back-combed it to within an inch of its life, depending on the popular hair trend of the day.
As a woman, your hair is so closely related to how you feel about yourself that it can cause serious mood fluctuations if things go wrong. When it’s looking great, you feel attractive, sexy and confident. When it’s a stringy mess and badly in need of a shampoo or a good cut, you start to wish that those big headscarves your mum used to wear were back in fashion!
That’s why hair loss or hair thinning can be such a devastating blow to a woman in mid life. By the time we reach 50, the number of hair follicles we typically have per square centimeter of scalp has dropped from 615 in our 20’s and 30’s to a measly 485. At the age of 80 this number has decreased even further to 435 hair follicles per square centimeter. Each hair strand also becomes thinner as we age, thereby reducing overall hair volume.
What Causes Hair Loss In Women?
Hair loss in women can be caused by a number of factors including stress, poor diet, over-use of hair products/chemicals, certain medications, illness and genetics. But the major cause of hair loss and hair thinning in women going through menopause or in the four to five years prior to menopause (called peri-menopause) is a change in the estrogen/testosterone ratio in the body. That is, the estrogen level decreases sharply causing the concentration of testosterone in the body, which a woman produces naturally anyway, to become higher than normal. The excessive testosterone in the bloodstream can be converted into dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and when DHT reaches the scalp, it can cause inflammation which damages the hair follicle and leads to hair loss.
So, What Can We Do About It?
There are a number of things that can be done to address the situation.
- Natural Remedies are considered to be the best low-cost solution to menopausal hair loss and hair thinning in women. There are a number of natural and herbal remedies on the market that can be effective in thickening and strengthening the hair and in promoting re-growth. These can be purchased either online or at major pharmacies in the USA and UK. Herbal remedies which address hormone imbalance have been shown to relieve many of the common symptoms of menopause including hair loss. When choosing a natural remedy for menopausal hair loss or any other menopausal symptom, you should look for products that are backed by clinical trials and those that publish reviews and testimonials by other women as to their effectiveness. These remedies can often take 2-3 months before showing results so you need to be patient and persistent in their use.
- Improve Your Diet. A balanced diet is particularly important in the battle against hair loss during menopause. Extreme diets of any kind can cause your hair to fall out. To promote hair growth, and healthy hair, you need to eat foods rich in the B and C vitamins such as eggs, meat, poultry and citrus fruits. Make sure you’re getting enough iron and protein in your diet by including protein rich foods such as liver, brewer’s yeast, fish, eggs, beans, cottage cheese, yogurt, tofu and foods high in iron like liver, whole grains, dark green leafy vegetables, eggs, dates, raisins, salmon and tuna.
- Hair Transplant Surgery. This treatment can be very effective in extreme cases of hair loss but it is costly and not without its side effects such as folliculitis (an inflammation of the follicle), and shock-loss, the sudden but usually temporary loss of hair that normally grows in the area of the transplant and affects 30% to 50% of female hair-transplant recipients.
- Wigs. This may seem like the option of last resort but the quality of human hair and synthetic wigs that you can purchase nowadays is far superior to the subjects of comedy routines that were around ten or fifteen years ago. The attitude to modern day wig wearing has changed as many women, including celebrities, wear wigs these days just for fun. A multitude of different styles and colors are available to enhance your look and make you feel feminine again.
Although there’s no overnight solution to hair loss or thinning during menopause, by following options 1. and 2., you should start to see improvement in the thickness and overall health of your hair within 2-3 months and more significant improvement within 6 months, thereby preventing the need to resort to options 3 or 4.