When Hair Loss Makes You Blue

WV Marshall

Among the manifestations that can occur during menopause is hair thinning or hair loss.

About 40 percent of women experience hair thinning – nearly the same rate as men – during menopause, according to a Huffington Post blog in 2013.

So why don’t we necessarily display outward signs similar to male pattern baldness? Unlike male pattern hair loss, hereditary hair loss in women typically is more subtle and its early-warning signs could be missed, said Dr. Alan J. Bauman, the HuffPost blog contributor and an American Board of Hair Restoration Surgeons-certified hair transplant surgeon.

Women likely experience thinning over a wider scalp area. For many, the first signs could be a smaller ponytail, a wider part line or disproportionate shedding during brushing and showering.

Research indicates hair loss during menopause is the result of a hormonal imbalance, said, specifically related to a decrease in production of estrogen and progesterone. These hormones help hair grow faster and stay in place for longer periods of time.

When levels of estrogen and progesterone drop, hair grows more slowly and becomes much thinner. A decrease in these hormones also triggers an increase in the production of a group of male hormones known as androgens.

Androgens shrink hair follicles, resulting in hair loss on the head. Sometimes, though, androgens can cause hair to grow on the face – which is why some menopausal women develop so-called “peach fuzz” and hair on the chin.

Other factors could be in play for a woman’s hair thinning/loss, Bauman said, including genetic predisposition, higher levels of stress, other hormonal imbalances, or nutritional or iron deficiencies. A woman’s healthcare provider can work up a detailed medical history and order diagnostic tests, both critical in a medical hair-loss evaluation to identify risk factors.

On the plus side, hair loss is a treatable condition. Hair restoration physicians may recommend both pharmaceutical and lifestyle changes to women experiencing menopause-related hair loss problems. The Huffington Post blog indicated the best strategy is to use a multi-therapy approach and routine follow ups for tracking purposes to see what’s working.

Hair loss may make women self-conscious about their appearance, but the condition isn’t permanent, said when offering tips for healthier and stronger locks during menopause: Reduce stress Exercise Eat well Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate … and hydrate some more

Discuss any concerns or your medications with your healthcare provider.