Menopause – that dreaded time in a woman’s life when her world seems to turn completely upside down. During perimenopause and menopause, a woman will experience a wide array of symptoms to include hot flashes and night sweats, headaches and joint pain, insomnia, lack of concentration, mood swings and irritation, and more. One of the most daunting of all symptoms has to do with hair loss during menopause. It has nothing to do with vanity (for most women) but losing hair is a horrific experience, especially for a woman.
Hair Loss During Menopause – Is it Normal?
Interestingly, menopause and hair loss is actually quite common although it will vary from slight loss to significant loss. Some women may notice just slight thinning where the problem is not really bothersome. Unfortunately, other women have drastic hair loss whereby they have balding spots that require a wig.
Even the more serious cases are usually treatable and better yet, reversible. Keep in mind that hair loss associated with things such as aging and genetics is very different from hair loss during the change of life. Either case, the woman often feels a sense of embarrassment, lack of self-confidence, and in some cases, might question her femininity.
Obviously, menopause and hair loss can create emotional trauma, especially if the loss is significant. Just remember, there are viable options for treating hair loss. What happens is that during perimenopause, many women will have a change in thyroid function although the hair loss could be caused by a number of things.
For instance, menopause is a stressful time of life whereby hormone levels are up and down, new medications and herbal remedies are being taken, and the overall body is going through a lot of change. In fact, for the woman dealing with menopause and hair loss, the problem could be associated with an event that happened three months before the perimenopause even began.
The type of hair loss varies as mentioned. It might be thinning or actual patches of hair that comes out in clumps. If you are going through perimenopause or menopause and have noticed your hair thinning or falling out, it is strongly advised that you talk to your doctor right away to stop the problem from getting any worse.
The human hair is made up of keratin, which is the same protein of which fingernails and outer skin is comprised. The average person has about 100,000 strands of hair on the top of his or her head but the fascinating things is that between 50 and 100 of those strands fall out each day.
How much hair loss is “normal”?
For the average person, this small amount of hair loss is not even noticed. However, for the woman trying to handle menopause and hair loss, the number of strands lost could be in the thousands.
With hair, there is a certain phase in which hair grows. For example, each strand of hair will grow on average one-half inch per month but as we age, this will eventually slow down. Then, each strand remains on the head for approximately six years during which time it is constantly growing.
This phase is called the “anagen” stage. Then the next stage is known as the “catagen” stage where the hair is resting. At this time, the hair is still connected to the head but no longer growing. Eventually, that hair will fall out, which is known as the “telogen” stage.
After the hair is gone, in about five to six months new hair will grow from that same follicle. For women in perimenopause, this normal cycle is disrupted. Because of that, the hair falls out prematurely or when it does fall out naturally, it fails to grow back.
To help strengthen hair during menopause, biotin is a great natural remedy. For medication not requiring a prescription, there is topical Minoxidil. Again, work with your doctor at the first sign of menopause hair loss to get on the right treatment plan.