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The 411 on Menopause and Hair Thinning

by Cindy Gray

Due to a number of uncomfortable symptoms, women don't typically welcome menopause with open arms.  Although most expect hot flashes and mood swings, many are unprepared for perhaps the most distressing symptom of all:  hair loss.  Statistically, hair loss in women during and after menopause occurs in about 40 percent of women.  

Most hair loss in women during or after menopause can be blamed on hormonal changes.

Reasons for Menopause Hair Loss

Most experts attribute hair loss in women during or after menopause to hormonal changes. Reduced estrogen levels result in hair that is thinner and drier in texture.  What's more, pre-menopause stores of estrogen block the hair-thinning effects of testosterone in the female body.  When estrogen drops, so does the blocking benefit.  In some women, the hair that comes back grows in progressively weaker.

Symptoms of Hair Loss

Unlike male pattern hair loss, female hair loss occurs over a broad scalp area.  At first, women may notice a smaller ponytail, a wider part, and higher-than-usual shedding in the hair brush and in the shower.  In some women, a whopping 50 percent loss can occur before the problem is visually noticeable.

Other Factors that Contribute to Hair Loss in Women

While hormonal levels offer the most common explanation for women experiencing menopause and hair thinning, other factors should be considered.  For instance, some women have genetic predisposition to hair loss.  Other causes include high levels of stress, crash dieting, nutritional deficiencies, and thyroid issues.

Related:  Black Cohosh Provides Safe & Natural Relief for Hot Flashes

Effects and Treatments

In addition to physical affects, hair loss in women causes psychological distress, from loss of confidence and reduced self-esteem to anxiety, depression, and social withdrawal.  Fortunately, a wide range of treatments can help, including prescription medicines, platelet-rich plasma injections (PRP), low-level laser therapy, and nutritional supplements.

Women concerned about hair loss should consult with a health care professional to determine the cause and to choose a treatment that is right for them.  It is important for women to give a therapy time to work and track results before abandoning it in frustration for a new one. Regrowth of hair can take time and subtle changes aren't always noticeable at first.

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