Hair loss is a complex condition, and environmental factors often play a key role alongside genetic predispositions in triggering loss of hair. Mechanisms of hair loss differ in men and women, but both are believed to involve the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in later stages. Fluctuations in hormone levels are understood to commonly precede onset of hair loss in both young and menopausal women.

Menopause is a process that marks the end of a woman’s reproductive capacity and is distinguished by cessation of the menstrual cycle. This typically occurs at the average age of 51 years for most women living in the developed world, although onset may occur from anywhere between 40-58 years and may vary according to factors such as ethnicity, smoking status, low parity and/or age of menarche(1,2). Menopause is characterised by changes in hormone levels, most notably oestrogen and progesterone, as well as Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH), Luteinizing Hormone (LH), inhibit A and B, and testosterone, to name a few(3-6).

There are various documented mental and physical symptoms associated with menopause, including night sweats, hot flushes, weight gain and mood fluctuations(7). Whilst these are considered to be the hallmark indicators of menopause, hair loss also tends to be a commonly-experienced symptom of concern for many women(8) that often does not receive the attention it deserves.

What is the Prevalence of Hair Loss in Menopausal Women?

Statistics indicate that up to 4 out of every 10 women transitioning through menopause are affected by hair loss, with the incidence increasing with age(9-11). Changes in androgen and estrogen hormone levels during this time may affect nutrient delivery and absorption by the hair follicles and are linked to loss of scalp hair, with other noticeable changes to the hair including thinning of the hair shaft, a decrease in volume, brittleness and dryness of texture, and an overall decrease in the quality and lustre of the hair(9). Fluctuating androgen levels may in some cases emulate classic male pattern hair loss, while in some cases women may even develop ‘peach fuzz’ or fine facial hair in select areas.

Does Hair Loss Stop After Menopause?

Although a sudden spike in hair loss may initially be observed at the onset of menopause in response to fluctuating hormone levels, this should typically stabilise once hormone levels have plateaued, assuming no other specific environmental triggers or underlying medical conditions surface with the effect of exacerbating or prolonging hair loss.

Is Hair Loss During Menopause Permanent?

New hair growth in menopausal and post-menopausal women has been observed to be thinner and less strong than that prior to menopause. As hormones post-menopause settle to lower levels, this long-term effect is reflected in the quality of the hair. The extent of this however will differ across individuals and may be dependent on many factors, including genetics as well as lifestyle factors such as diet, stress and physical environment.

Finding a Solution that Works

While genetic factors contributing to hair loss, such as naturally-occurring changes in hormone levels due to menopause, are unavoidable, it is still possible to mitigate their effects and to improve your hair quality and texture again as well as helping to prevent further hair loss.

We have seen and treated many female clients suffering from hair loss with likely causes stemming from a mixture of genetic and other factors, and have experience in providing the best solution for your hair loss.

To find out more about our microscopic hair analysis and how SRS Hair Clinic can help, please click here.

References

1. Henderson KD, Bernstein L, Henderson B, Kolonel L, Pike MC. Predictors of the Timing of Natural Menopause in the Multiethnic Cohort Study. American Journal of Epidemiology 2008;167(11):1287-1294. https://academic.oup.com/aje/article/167/11/1287/131772
2. Gold EB, Bromberger J, Crawford S, Samuels S, Greendale GA, Harlow SD, Skurnick J. Factors Associated with Age at Natural Menopause in a Multiethnic Sample of Midlife Women. American Journal of Epidemiology 2001;153(9):865-874. https://academic.oup.com/aje/article/153/9/865/124589
3. Burger HG, Dudley EC, Robertson DM, Dennerstein L. Hormonal changes in the menopause transition. Recent Progress in Hormone Research 2001;57:257-275. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12017547
4. Gracia CR, Sammel MD, Freeman EW, Lin H, Langan E, Kapoor S, Nelson DB. Defining menopause status: creation of a new definition to identify the early changes of the menopausal transition. Menopause 2005;12(2):128-135. https://journals.lww.com/menopausejournal
5. Burger HG, Hale GE, Dennerstein L, Robertson DM. Cycle and hormone changes during perimenopause: the key role of ovarian function. Menopause 2008;15(4):603-612. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/5280779
6. Øverlie I, MØrkrid L, Andersson AM, SkakkebÆk NE, Moen MH, Holte A. Inhibin A and B as markers of menopause: a five‐year prospective longitudinal study of hormonal changes during the menopausal transition. Acta obstetricia et gynecologica Scandinavica 2005;84(3):281-285. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15715537
7. Baker A, Simpson S, Dawson D. Sleep disruption and mood changes associated with menopause. Journal of Psychosomatic Research 1997;43(4):359-369. http://www.jpsychores.com/article/S0022-3999(97)00126-8/abstract
8. Goluch-Koniuszy ZS. Nutrition of women with hair loss problem during the period of menopause. Przeglad menopauzalny= Menopause review 2016;15(1):56-61. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4828511/
9. Dinh QQ, Sinclair R. Female pattern hair loss: current treatment concepts. Clinical interventions in aging 2007;2(2):189. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18044135
10. Levy LL, Emer JJ. Female pattern alopecia: current perspectives. Int J Womens Health 2013;5:541-556. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3769411/
11. Birch M, Messenger J, Messenger A. Hair density, hair diameter and the prevalence of female pattern hair loss. British Journal of Dermatology 2001;144(2):297-304. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11251562