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How is hair affected by the Menopause?

Most women experience changes in their hair during the menopause, usually a loss of volume and length but you may also experience hair breaking more easily because the hair has become finer. These symptoms are caused by a decrease in oestrogen. Oestrogen is a hair - friendly hormone which helps to keep your hair in its anagen growth phase (the active phase of hair growth). Due to oestrogen levels dropping you will have a higher ratio of testosterone in your body, which has a stronger effect on your hair follicles.

Symptoms of menopausal hair thinning

Changes in the appearance and feel of your hair are always gradual. The average age for menopause to start is around 50 but changes can begin long before this (perimenopause can begin several years before). The symptoms you may start to notice are:

• your hair not growing as long as it used to

• your scalp becomes more visible around the crown area

• hair receding around the temples

• the thickness is less around your front hairline

• the overall thickness (volume) of your hair may be reduced

• partings become wider

• ponytail feels thinner

Treatments for menopausal hair thinning

The recommended treatments for menopausal hair thinning address the hormonal sensitivity in your hair follicles. This can involve a combination of the following:

• Hair follicle stimulants such as minoxidil

• Stress management – androgen (hormone) levels can be raised in your body by stress

• Taking vitamins - Vitamins A & C and increase intake of protein-rich foods such as red meat, beans, fish, eggs and milk

• See a Trichologist for the best advice on your hair and scalp health

Homone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

HRT restores your body’s oestrogen levels to an average pre-menopausal level. It can help relieve menopausal symptoms including mood swings, hot flushes. decreased libido, osteoporosis and hair thinning. This can be administered in the form of tablets, skin patches, gels and implants. It’s usually only prescribed as a last resort but it helps to increase the levels of oestrogen which in turn can help your hair growth cycle to resume its normal growth cycle, therefore minimising hair loss or thinning of the hair.

Other treatment options

There are lots of retail products on the market to help with giving you the appearance of thicker hair, some of the most well-known are Regaine, Nioxin and Plantur 39.

Colouring and bleaching your hair professionally and safely can also give the illusion of more volume, as this treatment actually plumps your hair shaft.

Speak to your local salon or stylist but always consult your GP to determine what’s best for you.

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