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Hair Loss During Menopause: Facts, Causes & Treatments

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One thing is for sure: shining and healthy hair is what all women want. But unfortunately, menopause is a giant obstacle that stops many from having the hair they deserve. Menopause is the time of life when the menstrual cycle ceases due to the decrease in some particular ovarian hormones like estrogen and progesterone. The effects of menopause appear differently in each woman, but they often lead to so-called “midlife hair crisis.” Yes, hair loss is a common symptom of menopause. That’s because one of estrogen and progesterone’s roles is to help hair grow faster and stronger. While you can’t avoid menopause, preventing and treating the problems caused by it is something you can definitely do. If you face hair loss during menopause or simply want to avoid it, here is all you need to know.

The main reason why you start to lose hair during menopause

Your body has different hormones that support various body activities. Of these, estrogen and progesterone are the ones that contribute to hair growth. When these hormones are found at normal levels in the body, your hair grows fast and strong. During menopause, estrogen and progesterone levels start declining in your body. As a result, hair starts growing slower and slower, visibly reflected as hair loss. Actually, hair fall in small counts is a normal and routine matter, but during menopause, the growth process can’t keep up with the lost hair, leaving more balding spots.

The association between hair loss and menopause has been scientifically proven. It’s believed that among postmenopausal women, as many as two-thirds suffer hair thinning or bald spots, as Harvard Health Publishing suggests. Dr. Aarti Narayan Denning, GP & Aesthetic Doctor for Hormonal Health, points out that the same. “Hair loss during menopause is the result of lowered production of estrogen and progesterone. These hormones help hair grow faster and stay on the head for longer periods. When the levels of estrogen and progesterone drop, hair grows slower and becomes much thinner,” she says. 

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Other things contributing to hair loss during menopause

Studies found that about 20-60% of women suffer from this hair loss before reaching their 60s. If you had hair loss before menopause, it’s more likely you’ll face it again postmenopause. Besides the hormonal disturbance due to menopause, many other things may contribute to your hair loss — for example, genetics effect, stress, aging factor, and other health disturbances like thyroid issues. But above all, nutritional deficiencies seem to be the first factor that weakens the hair and slows its growing process. Because the hair needs nutrients and proteins to grow naturally, the follicles will be unable to produce healthy hair when they lack these resources.

Is hair loss during menopause treatable?

Yes, you can grow back your hair. By taking care of your diet, increasing your physical activity, taking supplements for hormonal treatment, you can reverse hormonal hair loss.

Treatments for hair loss during menopause

Many remedies and treatments are available to treat hair loss in the period of menopause. According to one study published in the Journal of Menopause Review in 2016, the following will help prevent hair loss. You should try to include these nutrients in your daily meals to avoid and stop hormonal hair loss.

Proteins

Proteins are essential for your hair growth. The amino acids in proteins support women’s hormones for the growth of hair. During menopause, you should eat a diet consisting of 10-15% energy as proteins. You should eat cheese, yogurt, fish, meat, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, sesame, and peanuts. As an addition, 2 or 3 eggs per week are recommended as a source of amino acids.

Fats

Include good fats in your diet to grow your hair and prevent any hair loss during menopause. So, fish oil, flax seeds, walnuts, eggs, olive oil, avocado should not miss in your daily diet.

Carbohydrates

Many women avoid carbs and increase proteins in their diet for bodyweight maintenance. But it’s a fact that you need a reasonable amount of carbohydrates to grow your hair. It’s noteworthy that your diet must be complex-carb-rich but with a low glycemic index.

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Vitamin C

Vitamin C is beneficial for your hair growth. The presence of vitamin C ensures that your body absorbs iron and other nutrients. 

Folates

Folate or, say, folic acid is a type of vitamin B naturally found in many foods. Folic acid helps increase the red blood cells in your body that transport oxygen to your hair cells. It also plays a crucial role in the hair rebuilding mechanism of the follicle cells.

Vitamin B5

This vitamin helps your hair to retain the original natural color and prevents premature greying of your hair. Women in their 50’s should eat a diet full of B5-rich foods like cauliflower, mushrooms, soya beans, eggs, whole grains, milk, beans, and green leafy vegetables.

Vitamin B7

The most famous vitamin, also known as Biotin, is taken in the form of supplements for hair growth. It supports fat metabolism. You should take this vitamin in your daily diet.

Niacin

Known as vitamin PP, it helps your hair grow and keeps your hair in shape. Whole meat grains, meat, vegetables, seeds, fish, and peanuts are the major sources of getting niacin.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12, also known as Cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin that helps increase the red blood cells in your body. Vegetarians often face a deficiency of this vitamin, as it’s mostly found in meats, fish, eggs, and dairy products.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A helps in the regeneration and synthesis of cells in your body. It protects hair from being brittle and is responsible for moisturizing. Cheese, eggs, milk, yogurt, they’re all good sources of vit A. Also, you can get this vitamin by including beta-carotene-rich sources in your diet (the body will convert it to retinol, which will also help your skin) — spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes, red peppers, mango, papaya, apricots.

Minerals

Many minerals contribute to normal hair growth. These minerals include zinc, iron, copper, selenium, silicon, magnesium, and calcium. Although minerals can’t directly stimulate hair growth, a deficiency of these may weaken the hair and make it more prone to falling. 

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References:

  1. https://www.healthline.com/health/menopause
  2. https://www.womenshealth.gov/menopause/menopause-basics/index.html
  3. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/menopause/menopausesymptoms
  4. Steiner AZ, Baird DD, Kesner JS. A mother’s menopausal age is associated with her daughter’s early follicular phase urinary follicle-stimulating hormone level. Menopause. 2008 Sep-Oct;15(5):940-4. doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e31816429e5. PMID: 18779679; PMCID: PMC: 2856641.
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  6. Grymowicz M, Rudnicka E, Podfigurna A, Napierala P, Smolarczyk R, Smolarczyk K, Meczekalski B. Hormonal Effects on Hair Follicles. Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Jul 28;21(15):5342. doi: 10.3390/ijms21155342. PMID: 32731328; PMCID: PMC: 7432488.
  7. https://patient.info/news-and-features/does-the-menopause-cause-hair-loss
  8. https://www.womens-health-concern.org/help-and-advice/factsheets/menopausal-hair-loss/
  9. Shapiro J. Clinical practice. Hair loss in women. N Engl J Med. 2007 Oct 18;357(16):1620-30. doi: 10.1056/NEJMcp072110. PMID: 17942874.
  10. Blume-Peytavi U, Atkin S, Gieler U, Grimalt R. Skin academy: hair, skin, hormones, and menopause – current status/knowledge on the management of hair disorders in menopausal women. Eur J Dermatol. 2012 May-Jun;22(3):310-8. doi: 10.1684/ejd.2012.1692. PMID: 22503791.
  11. Goluch-Koniuszy ZS. Nutrition of women with hair loss problem during the period of menopause. Prz Menopauzalny. 2016 Mar;15(1):56-61. doi: 10.5114/pm.2016.58776. Epub 2016 Mar 29. PMID: 27095961; PMCID: PMC: 4828511.
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