The onset of menopause can often lead to hair loss and has long been a part of aging that many women fear the most. These days many more women are also experiencing thinning and bald spots as they mature, and both men and women are reaching out for new solutions. Even though there is no real ‘cure’, there are many things that can be done to help.
Both hormones and genes are to blame for menopause causing acute hair loss, as is the aging process. Confirming the causes of your loss with a competent and experienced dermatologist is the first step in determining your best treatment options.
It’s possible to have temporary loss of hair caused by physical stress, emotional stress, thyroid abnormalities, medications and hormonal changes (such as androgens and estrogens during menopause) normally associated with females. Tension on the hair by prolonged use of hair weaving or corn rows can also cause permanent loss.
There are autoimmune disorders such as Alopecia Areata that cause patchy loss of hair often in small circular areas in different areas of the scalp. Alopecia Totalis is a total loss of hair on the scalp and is considered an advanced form of Areata. Alopecia Universalis is total hair loss of the entire body. People with diseases such as diabetes and lupus have also reported losing hair as a result.
It’s normal to shed some hair each day as about 90 percent of the hair on your scalp is growing at any one time during a normal phase that lasts for 2 to 6 years at one time. Some women notice they are losing hair about 3 months after delivering a child. This is related to a hormone loss and is usually temporary.
Several medicines have been known to cause hair loss such as blood thinners (anticoagulants), medicines used for gout and in chemotherapy to treat cancer. Also, the use of vitamin A, birth control pills and antidepressants has been known to cause hair loss.
On the other hand, male pattern baldness is usually inherited from your genes. An over abundance of the male hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is an active form of testosterone, within the hair follicle can create this type of hair loss. Current medications are aimed at slowing this common type of baldness including Minoxidil which is commonly called Rogaine and is available without a prescription.
Women can apply this product to the scalp. Another medicine, Finasteride, and called Propecia is available in pill form without prescription but is meant only for men. It can take up to 6 months in order to tell if these medications are helping.
Remember, the onset of menopause can often lead to hair loss and has long been a part of aging that many women fear the most. Even though there is no real cure, there are many things that can be done to help.