Many menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, memory lapses, increased anxiety and reduced libido are often kept private. Dealing with them alone can be difficult, but made worse when more obvious symptoms appear, namely hair loss and/or excessive hair growth in unusual places. Hair growth during menopause, or hair loss, can be very disconcerting, but there are things you can do to minimize these hair woes.
The Hairy Truth about Menopause
Fluctuating and declining hormone levels can cause excessive hair loss; and or hair growth such as facial hair. While menopause is a natural phase of life, steps can be taken to help prevent hair loss and growth, such as lifestyle and dietary changes using natural herbs and supplements.
For Thinning Hair
There is HRT, or hormone replacement therapy, that is prescribed by your doctor and can help with hair loss. However, the known dangerous side effects are an increased risk for several types of cancer. Some women choose to avoid synthetic HRT because of the inhumane way horses are treated to obtain these hormones through pregnant mare’s urine. If you want to avoid the risks and not contribute to cruel pharmaceutical practices, then forgo HRT. Here are some natural ways to alleviate this problem.
Acceptance – While many people say, be patient, hair loss will ‘pass’, that’s much easier said than done. Yes, hair loss in normal and natural when going through menopause, and your loved ones will continue to love you, regardless of your hair. However, it can be emotionally devastating to experience hair loss or thinning hair. Take steps to help reduce and remedy the situation, seek out an experienced hair stylist for the best cut for your hair type.
Reduce Stress – Get plenty of exercise, meditate, go to yoga classes, and get enough sleep. This will benefit you in many ways beyond helping to stave off hair loss. A few milligrams of melatonin might help you fall asleep on restless nights. Investing in natural fabrics for sheets and pajamas will whisk away the sweat caused by hot flashes so you can rest easier.
Diet – As is prescribed for every condition, eating a healthy diet will help you mitigate hair loss due to fluctuating and declining hormones. Fresh fruits and vegetables should be your dietary staples with avoidance of high-fat and sugar-laden treats. B12 is linked to hair loss so choose foods that are rich in all the B vitamins like:
- Spinach, mustard greens and romaine lettuce
- Broccoli, beets, asparagus and turnips
- Lentils, calf liver and snapper (fish)
Foods particularly high in B12 are:
- Fortified cereals
- Nonfat yogurt
- Fortified soy products like tofu
Supplements & Herbs
Many menopause symptoms can be relieved by taking supplements and herbs that reduce inflammation, mimic declining hormones and boost your iron levels to help keep hair healthy and strong. Try adding these supplements and herbs into your diet to promote hair growth during menopause:
- B12 vitamins (all the B vitamins really)
- Black cohosh – an herb that mimics estrogen in the body to help slow down hair loss due to the decline of natural estrogen production
- Evening Primrose Oil, also a great source of essential fatty acids
Dealing with Unwanted Hair
How frustrating to experience thinning hair only to find it growing abundantly on your chin, around your lips, and on your chest. Cosmetically there is no shade of cover up to disguise thick, course, and dark hair cropping up on your face.
What can you do about unwanted hair growth during menopause, then? Show those stray strands no mercy! Avoid shaving, since only more stubble will grow back. Some better options are:
Epilators– there are several brands for use at home that come with different sized heads to use on the body and the face. Like waxing, these devices pull hair out by the root for longer lasting results.
Waxing – hair removed by waxing will be slower to grow back. Today’s waxing methods are less painful and most salons offer the service.
Electrolysis – choose a spa or facility with a medically trained staff and really get after unwanted hair growth. This is the most costly treatment option, but the one that is the most effective with the longest lasting results. Remember, unwanted hair growth is usually a temporary condition, so be patient.