Most of us have heard about hot flashes and mood changes during menopause, but what about hair thinning? Many women experience hair loss during menopause, but hormone replacement treatment may be able to help. Thinning hair during menopause can seriously affect your sense of well-being and your self-esteem. However, you’re not alone with menopausal hair loss. An estimated 21 million women in the U. S. will experience hair loss at some point in their lives, many of them during and after menopause. Our providers can help you determine underlying causes of hair thinning during menopause and help you find personalized treatment plans to help you feel better.
During menopause, you’re likely experiencing a lot of changes, from irregular periods to night sweats and mood changes. Thinning hair can also occur in post-menopause. Many women notice that hormone replacement treatment can help reduce hot flashes and may even help their hair. However, what is it about menopause that makes your hair more vulnerable? In many cases, it’s hormones.
Estrogen and progesterone are hormones in your body that perform a lot of functions. For example, they’re responsible for menstruation and can help keep your bones strong. These hormones also help with hair growth. Estrogen and progesterone can help keep your hair in the growing (anagen) phase. Therefore, these hormones can help your hair stay on your head longer and may even help your hair grow faster. This may be why many women notice their hair thinning starts to improve with estrogen replacement therapy.
During menopause, your estrogen and progesterone levels naturally start to decline. This is what causes your periods to become irregular and eventually stop. Low progesterone and estrogen are also often to blame for thinning hair during menopause. Hair loss from menopausal hormone deficiencies can take many forms. Most women notice thinning throughout their scalps, which may be visible when you part your hair or you might notice a thinner pony tail. You may also notice thinning along your hair line, but this is less common for women. Low levels of estrogen and progesterone means your hair may start to fall out sooner and grow more slowly. The goal of hormone replacement treatment during menopause is to help your body attain healthy, balanced hormone levels, which is why many women may notice changes in hair thinning once they start treatment.
Declining estrogen and progesterone levels during menopause can also lead to having higher than usual testosterone levels, as your hormones may become imbalanced. Generally, your body has more estrogen and progesterone than testosterone. Just like other hormones, your testosterone levels decline with age as well. However, in some cases, your estrogen and progesterone levels may decline so quickly that your testosterone may become more dominant in your body. Even if your testosterone levels are the same or within healthy ranges, without estrogen and progesterone to keep testosterone in check, you may experience changes related to this imbalance, including thinning, fragile hair.
Testosterone can also affect your hair, as certain forms of testosterone your body produces can shrink hair follicles. The most common culprit is dihydrotestosterone, also known as DHT. When testosterone becomes out of balance with estrogen and progesterone, your body may have higher concentrations of DHT, which may affect your hair. Shrinking hair follicles can make your hair finer, or smaller in diameter, which can make it more brittle. This can make your hair weaker overall, as the individual hair strands that you grow are more delicate. You may notice your hair breaks easier than it used to, or that your pony tail is thinner. In these cases, hormone imbalance treatment for your other symptoms may also help your hair become stronger.
However, hormones aren’t all to blame for thinning hair during menopause. Other common symptoms of menopause can also lead to hair loss. For example, stress is a common cause for hair loss and thinning for women at any age. Stress can cause your hair follicles to get “stuck” in the dormant phase of hair growth. If this happens, you may notice thinning throughout your scalp.
Many women experience high levels of stress during menopause. For example, hormone imbalances can lead to anxiety and depression symptoms. Another reason many women feel more stress during menopause can be due to other symptoms like hot flashes or difficulty sleeping. Not only can this affect your overall health, it can also lead to thinning hair.
While thinning hair itself doesn’t usually affect your physical health directly, there are many ways hair loss can negatively impact your well-being. One study showed that 55% of women who were experiencing some form of hair loss also experienced symptoms of depression. In this same study, about 89% of those women noticed improvements in their depressive symptoms after receiving treatment for hair loss. Many women notice they have lower self-esteem, confidence, and negative body image after experiencing hair loss.
The problem with hair loss during menopause is that it doesn’t just signal hormone imbalances or extra stress, it can also cause negative consequences for your mental, emotional, and social health. Many women notice that they’re less likely to engage in social activities if they experience menopausal hair loss. They may also feel anxiety and stress about their hair. Over time, this can also affect your overall well-being and quality of life. Therefore, if you’re experiencing thinning hair, it’s important to talk to your doctor. If you’re experiencing other symptoms as well, our provider may recommend hormone replacement treatment.
Hormone replacement treatment during menopause may help with thinning hair if it’s related to hormone changes. Our provider may prescribe estrogen replacement therapy to help bring your hormones back into balance and back up to healthy baseline levels if you have low estrogen during menopause. This may help your hair in a few ways.
First, as we learned, estrogen plays a significant role during hair growth. Increasing estrogen levels during hormone replacement treatment may help your hair stay in the growing phase for longer than it would without hormone injections. It can also help your body keep testosterone levels in balance to help reduce the shrinking effects testosterone can have on hair follicles. In addition, some studies show that if you start hormone imbalance treatment early on for menopause symptoms, it may help you maintain your current hair density. This can help you reduce how much hair you lose throughout the course of menopause.
Also, hormone replacement treatment can help with symptoms that may cause stress, which can also contribute to hair loss. Hot flashes, night sweats, sleep difficulties, and mood changes can all play a significant part in high stress levels during menopause. However, estrogen shots can help reduce these symptoms and can also help you manage them more easily. This often results in lower stress levels, which can also help with hair loss when it is stress-related. Therefore, if you notice symptoms of menopause that are affecting your quality of life, it’s important to reach out and discuss your options.
At HerKare, our focus is to help women feel their best with personalized health care solutions. We understand the many ways menopause can impact your life, so we work with you to find treatments that are tailored to you. Our providers take the time to listen, then we’ll work together to find ways to help you improve your physical, emotional, and sexual health. We’re here to help you enjoy life, not just push through unwanted menopause symptoms. Schedule an appointment online today!