Simply put, menopause is that period in a woman’s life when she stops getting her period, pun intended. It comes naturally with ageing, and, as with all things related to the passage of time, it is not without its bumps and hiccups.
Leading up to menopause is a process called menopausal transition or perimenopause. In this stage, women experience the less-than-pleasant symptoms such as hot flashes, moodiness, irritability, trouble sleeping, night sweats, weight gain, and the dreaded hair loss.
For many women, hair is an essential aspect of their personality. Not only is it a beauty accessory that you can spruce up and pin into an elegant - or radical, entirely up to you - coif, it’s also an expression of yourself. Although women tend to experiment with various hairstyles and trendy ‘dos, they are likely to stick to a signature look in their prime and golden age.
That is why it’s especially frustrating for them to notice their hair thinning as they hit the menopausal transition.
But why do women lose hair during menopause? Can you do something to prevent or at least minimize hair fall at this stage? (Plot twist, the answer to the latter question is a resounding “yes!”)
Hair Loss During Menopause
The most cited reason for hair loss during menopause is hormonal imbalance. Hormones are chemical messengers secreted directly into the blood and are carried to your organs and tissues to aid with their functions.
A hormonal imbalance happens when you have too little or too much of a particular hormone. Many factors can lead to a hormonal imbalance, but one of the strongest is the natural process of aging, and, in the case of women, menopause.
Women produce the hormones estrogen and progesterone, which aid in hair growth and help hair strands stay on the head for much longer periods of time. During menopause, women produce fewer amounts of these hormones, which in turn causes an imbalance.
This hormonal imbalance results in slower hair growth and thinning of the hair strands. As if that doesn’t sound dismal enough, a decrease in these hormones also causes an increase in the production of androgens, a group of male hormones that shrink the size of hair follicles, thereby resulting in hair loss.
Other factors at play are high levels of stress, nutrient deficiencies, or other illnesses brought about by menopause.
Hair Fall Prevention During Menopause
Hair loss can really dampen your spirit and put a dent on your self-confidence. The last thing you need while navigating this thunderous phase in your life is a bruised self-esteem. Luckily, there are many natural ways to combat and minimize hair fall and keep that mane worthy of the most gorgeous crown.
1. Manage your stress
Managing your stress can have an overwhelming impact on your well-being. Meditation is one of the most popular ways to relax and let go of your every day worries.
You may also try incorporating light exercises such as walking, stretching, and yoga into your daily routine. Studies show that exercise can help combat stress as it pumps up endorphins, your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters.
2. Eat a balanced and healthy diet
Fuel your body with the right vitamins and nutrients that not only promote overall health but also hair growth.
- Omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, sardines, and mackerel
- Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) found in Greek yoghurt
- Vitamins A and C, iron, beta-carotene, and folate found in spinach and other dark green leafy veggies
- Lean protein found in chicken and turkey
- Biotin found in eggs
- Zinc found in oysters
3. Drink plenty of water
Water is essential to maintaining a healthy body, and that includes your hair. Did you know that a single hair shaft consists of one-quarter of water?
You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again: Drink your water (the general consensus is 8 glasses every day), stay hydrated, take alcohol and sugary and caffeinated fluids in moderation. Your scalp is also skin and adequate water intake helps keep it hydrated, which in turn helps keep your hair in top condition.
4. Go easy with the straighteners and curling irons and other hot tools.
We all love a good blowout but subjecting your tresses constantly to heat could only lead to hair breakage and damage. That is not to say that you should completely shun your blow dryers, straightening tools, and curling irons - the key is to use them in moderation and make sure that you follow a good hair care regimen to mitigate the damage.
And that brings us to the last point.
5. Show your hair the same amount of love you show your face.
We adhere to a rigorous skincare routine to keep our facial skin as plump and glowing as possible (ever heard of the outrageous-at-first-but-eventually-made-a-lot-of-sense Korean 10-step skincare?). Showing that same dedication to caring for our hair can do lots of wonders, and we’re lucky that our choices are no longer limited to chemical-laden formulas that potentially do more harm than good.
For optimum care, use products that are naturally derived, vegan, and scientifically proven to be effective in mitigating hair loss.
First, cleanse your hair with a shampoo that rebuilds damaged and thin hair. Follow it up with a conditioner that softens your hair and leaves it healthier, stronger, and with more volume. The last step is to apply a speciality product, like a hair serum, that stimulates healthier and stronger hair growth, prolonging the life of the hair fibres.
Menopause is no walk in the park and it can leave women feeling meh, what with all the symptoms that come with it including hair loss. But there are many ways to prevent hair loss ranging from health care tips to using hair products that are naturally derived and made from vegan ingredients. Armed with the correct knowledge, women can rest assured that their crowning glory remains glorious.