Why does hair fall out during menopause? Here are the possible remedies

Menopausal hormonal imbalances make hair more brittle and thin. Making matters worse are harsh dyes and treatments. How to manage hair loss

During menopause, with changes in hormone levels, there are many changes a woman may encounter: from hot flashes to weight gain, from bone loss to mood swings. However, many women also notice changes to the scalp: hair becomes dry and falls out. What happens? According to a study last year, about half of menopausal women notice rapid hair loss and changes in hair structure, which is often not as shiny as it used to be. Although specific research on menopausal hair loss is fairly scarce, scientists believe that hormonal changes are also implicated in changes in hair growth.

We know that hair falls out and grows back all the time (50-100 per day is normal). One can speak of hair loss (alopecia) when less hair grows than is lost.

The role of hormones in hair loss

Hair follicles, embedded in the deepest part of the dermis, contain the hair root. Within them are located receptors for sex hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and other androgens. There is not much conclusive research on how female sex hormones specifically affect hair. However, some preliminary studies in mice and skin cells suggest that it is estrogen in particular that affects hair growth, perhaps stimulating it, and may also be responsible for maintaining individual hair diameter. Altered hormone levels at menopause may therefore be the cause of the changes in hair. In menopause estrogen and progesterone diminiscon o and this means that the effects of male hormones increase. Hormonal changes also affect hair follicles : hair grows more slowly and falls out more rapidly. Other hormones, particularly testosterone, which has been studied in more detail, are responsible for the production of sebum, the oil that nourishes and moisturizes hair. During menopause, testosterone levels also drop, leading to an increasingly dry scalp and more brittle hair.

What affects hair loss

In fact, the hormonal changes associated with menopause can exacerbate an existing problem. There are other factors that can affect hair quality and growth before a woman goes through menopause such as stress, chronic inflammatory conditions, or even consequences of Covid. Age is also associated with changes in hair growth, thickness, and texture, and this applies to both women and men. The habit of wearing hair up in a high ponytail or very tight braids can promote hair loss, as can the use of harsh chemicals. Lack of certain nutrients can also affect changes in the hair. Dr. Kaiser Permanente who specializes in hair disorders and hair loss , interviewed by the New York Times cites vitamin D and iron. “We have done a lot of research on this topic and we know that vitamin D acts more as a hormone for hair than a vitamin.” And of course genetics also comes into play: it is not uncommon for hair loss to be hereditary.

How to manage hair loss

Why does hair fall out during menopause? Here are the possible remedies

Intervening early when you notice changes in your hair will make future treatments more effective. The first thing to do is to ask your dermatologist for a complete hair examination and specific blood tests to see if the changes are hormonal or if there are other factors that come into play. For some women, hormone therapy, which is routinely used to manage menopausal symptoms, could also be a help for hair-related changes, but scientific evidence on the subject is still insufficient. Against androgenetic alopecia, drugs based on the active ingredient minoxidil are used in the form of a foam or lotion to be distributed on the scalp. Other drugs are inhibitors of the enzyme 5 alpha-reductase, estrogen. Vitamin supplements do not always lead to results and are usually supportive. Certainly, having more brittle hair also means that it is no longer able to withstand straighteners, heat, and dyes; therefore, one should minimize the use of chemicals and heat.

Source: https://www.corriere.it/salute/dermatologia/23_settembre_16/perche-menopausa-cadono-capelli-ecco-possibili-rimedi-49eac824-48c4-11ee-859b-50c2b0b05e77.shtml?refresh_ce