Everything you need to know about menopausal hair loss

menopause hair loss
Menopause hair loss? Here's what you need to knowGetty Images

The side effects and symptoms of menopause, such as hot flushes and brain fog are well documented, but when it comes to menopausal hair loss, it's a topic that often doesn't get the attention it deserves.

Losing your hair at any age can be difficult and emotional, but particularly during menopause when hormonal changes can impact your mood and your confidence. The first thing to note, however, is that hair thinning and hair falling out in your 40s and 50s is very common. In fact, this often starts during perimenopause – and can often be halted with the right treatment.

"Approximately 40% of women experience hair loss during the menopause, although this is likely an underestimation and in many cases the hair changes are noted progressively for some years in the lead up to menopause," Dr Sharon Wong, a consultant dermatologist and tricho-derm based at The Shard in London, tells us.

To help you navigate the impact of menopause on your tresses, and find the best treatment for you, we spoke to experts.

Can menopause cause hair loss?

Menopause can cause hair loss, balding, brittle locks, and thinning. However, genetics stress, diet, and some medical conditions can also contribute to this.

Anabel Kingsley, Philip Kingsley’s brand president and consultant trichologist, explains: "The extent of hair changes is largely due to genes and how sensitive your hair follicles are to androgens (male hormones). Oestrogen is a hair-friendly hormone, helping to keep hair in its anagen (growth) phase for longer, and protects against the detrimental effects androgens have on hair follicles.

As menopause causes oestrogen levels to decrease, resulting in higher testosterone in the body, it can have a negative impact on hair follicles. "When oestrogen levels naturally decline during menopause, women often experience excessive hair shedding, as well as the growth of progressively finer and shorter hairs," Anabel explains.

What is the impact of menopausal hair loss?

Menopausal hair loss can have both a physical and mental health impact on women. From hair thinning to gaining hair in unexpected places, everyone’s experience will be different.

Recounting her personal experience menopause expert, Meera Bhogal, who battled menopausal hair loss in her forties, openly shares: "As hair begins to thin and the scalp becomes visible, it can bring about low self-esteem, lack of confidence, not wanting to meet others or go out, and anxiety. It can be really debilitating."

menopause hair loss
Romilly Lockyer - Getty Images

Menopause is an inevitable stage of life for women. However, menopausal hair loss doesn’t have to be. There are measures you can take to protect your tresses.

How to treat menopausal hair loss

As factors like diet, stress levels and health conditions can inhibit hair growth, seeking medical support from a Board Certified Trichologist, and doctor, to assess the primary cause of hair loss is strongly advised. "The first thing I always recommend is visiting a trichologist - it changed my life," Meera tells us.

Once you’ve had a consultation and rule out health conditions, you can consider holistic and medical treatments.

Holistic treatments

"Eating a healthy, balanced diet is key. The impact nutrition has on hair growth should not be underestimated," explains trichologist Anabel. "Hair is a non-essential tissue, and hair cells are the second fastest growing cells your body makes, so its nutritional requirements are high, even a small deficiency can cause hair loss."

Meera also recommends considering supplements."Drink bone broth and plenty of protein, pumpkin seeds for zinc, citrus fruits for vitamin C and a diet rich in a variety of plants and herbs," she advises.

Medical treatments

Trichologists have suggested medical aids, including Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), Propecia, or Minoxidil, although they can have varied effects on each individual and must be prescribed by a medical expert.

HRT restores the hormones your body is low on during menopause. There are different types of HRT, which can relieve some menopausal symptoms and stimulate hair growth."HRT restores your body’s oestrogen to an average pre-menopausal level to relieve menopausal symptoms, and it’s known to help with hair thinning,” explains Anabel.

However, she stresses the importance of speaking to you GP to ensure HRT is suitable for you to take and will not cause more hair loss. "Certain HRT therapies are hair-friendly, but others are not beneficial, and can exacerbate hair thinning," Anabel says.

Is menopausal hair loss reversible?

While menopausal hair loss is not reversible, it can be treated. "You cannot reverse female pattern thinning, but most of our patients see an improvement in density over the initial year of treatment, and we can help to prevent further deterioration," Anabel explains.

menopause hair loss
Halfpoint Images - Getty Images

However, certified trichologist Angela Onuoha believes menopausal hair loss can be stabilised depending on the stage. "In early stages, there is a very high chance of getting it back to 'normal'. The later the stage, the more difficult it will be, to get to its original fullness," Angela says. "Improvement could be made in any stage, if it is to stop the shedding and prevent it getting worse."

What are the best products to treat menopausal hair loss?

When it comes to treating menopausal hair loss, Anabel stresses the importance of scalp health and suggests using exfoliating and nourishing products that promote healthy hair growth.

"Scalp health has a profound influence on hair growth. Weekly targeted scalp masks, such as Philip Kingsley’s Density Scalp Mask, and Density Scalp Toner are great in this instance," Anabel explains. "The use of a weekly pre-shampoo conditioning treatment, like the Elasticizer, is a good way to restore strength and elasticity to strands, too."

Angela recommends Rhyme & Reason’s Volume and Boost range, which contains bamboo fibres, oat-derived peptides, and bio-active complex, to moisturize and soothe the scalp, while also adding volume for the appearance of fuller locks.

Shop our top picks below

For more information on menopausal hair loss visit the NHS website.

You Might Also Like