Hair Loss- Natural Solutions for Postmenopausal Women

Hair Loss- A Common yet Unpleasant Symptom of Menopause

Did you know 2/3 of women will experience hair loss, or telogen effluvium, in their lifetime? I have experienced hair loss twice, and it was very stressful, but I am happy to say it has resolved.  Hair loss is common during and post-menopause,  but its causes may be surprising!   When the root cause is discovered, hair regrowth is possible.

  • Common situations when hair is lost are
    • menopause,
    • during and after pregnancy,
    • with thyroid malfunction
    • with anemia and
    • especially in times of stress!
  • Female pattern baldness, called Androgenic alopecia,  is a diffuse loss of hair, is an inherited trait and is the cause of hair loss in 50% of women. This condition typically presents after menopause, but is treatable. Read on…

Why Does Hair Loss Increase at Menopause?

Menopause is a period when all hormone production is reduced, including female and male hormones.  The adrenal gland is the only source of male hormones in women after menopause.  When ovulation and menstruation stops, progesterone and estrogen levels decrease and the body has a stronger response to its own male hormones.  Androstenedione is one such hormone, and it can have androgenic, or male properties in females and cause the trait of male pattern baldness. Testosterone is another. 5-alpha reductase is an enzyme that converts testosterone into a form that promotes hair loss. Estrogen combats this phenomenon, so in menopause when estrogen is lower, more hair loss is seen.

Hair loss in Hypothyroidism:

  • Low thyroid function is a common problem for women before and after menopause, and often goes undiagnosed and undertreated. Thyroid support and hormone rebalancing can help alleviate hair loss and other hypothyroid symptoms.

Fungus and Hair Loss:

  • Many women have fungal overgrowth on their skin (and possibly in their intestines) which leads to patchy hair loss and can create vague symptoms of heat and sweating, anxiety, vaginal discomfort, and difficulty losing. weight. Those are many of the symptoms of menopause, so it is important to diagnose accurately!

Before you read on, be aware that it takes at least 4-6 months for hair regrowth to be initiated and visible. It is normal to lose anywhere from 50-100 hairs per day.  Patience is paramount when treating hair loss!

Natural Ways to Combat Hair Loss

  • First of all- test! Ensure that you are treating the root of the issue.  I like to run 6 thyroid tests, screen for low iron, B12 and malabsorption in the gut when beginning with hair loss clients.  If nothing is abnormal, I test the stress hormones, by urine hormone testing. This method is extremely effective at pinpointing hormonal imbalances, and I am happy to offer such comprehensive tests to women to help direct treatment.

 Mind-body Medicine for Hair Loss:

    • Unhealthy stress reactions are strongly implicated in hair loss, and the secretion of extra androgens. Decreasing and dealing with stress in healthier ways is one of the most important treatments to stop and prevent hair loss.
    • Deep breathing, relaxation techniques or massage, taking time to rest and be aware of how the body is feeling are all ways to improve the body’s stress response, and are easy to learn and maintain. Stress will never go away, but you can learn to cope with it better. Naturopathic Medicine can offer natural anxiety treatments!
    • Naturopathic Doctors can prescribe herbs and supplements to help the adrenal glands respond better to stress.  This is an excellent alternative to antidepressants, with very few side effects.

Hormone support to stop hair loss:

  • Omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids are an important addition to balance hormones and create healthy tissue. Find them in flax, fish and vegetables. Soy and flax seed contain isoflavones that have mild estrogenic effects capable of combating high testosterone levels. Chaste tree berry (Vitex agnus castus) is a hormone balancing herb that may be useful when progesterone is low.  Vitamin E is also useful for hormone balance and as an antioxidant, helping the body deal with toxins (and hot flashes)!
  • Daily scalp massage with rosemary-infused olive oil is stimulating to the scalp. Rosemary in hair products is known to be volumizing and combats hair loss and thinning.

Nutrition and Supplements for Hair Regrowth:

  • Important nutrients that will help the body regain balance and regrow healthy hair are IRON, SELENIUM and ZINC. Iron deficiency often results in hair loss. Selenium is essential for a healthy functioning thyroid gland and immune system, while zinc is antagonistic to testosterone.  Many people supplement with biotin, but alone it has not shown great value in hair regrowth.
  • Diet: an alkalizing diet (low in grains and sugars, higher in veggies), has been shown to be as or more effective than many medications for hair loss.  In addition, Nettle (Urtica dioica), horsetail (Equisetum arvense) and oatstraw (Avena sativa) are full of nutrients that nourish the scalp and promote hair growth while alkalizing the body.

And Don’t forget Aesthetics:

  • Wearing hair in a long, blunt cut pulls on hairs from the scalp and makes hair appear thinner during loss.  Shorter, layered (not feathered) styles add fullness and relieve the pull of hair from the scalp. Feathering makes hair appear thinner.  Tying hair back increases the pull of hair from the scalp. Use soft, non-pulling elastics if ponytails are necessary.
  • Hair dyes, especially chemical ones, are known to be thinning to hair. Always do a patch test before use, and if you are experiencing hair loss, opt for natural or henna colourants.
  • Avoid hair products that contain parabens & sodium laureth sulfate or its derivatives (these compounds block hair follicles) and are unhealthy for the body.

Hair loss solutions involve accurate diagnosis and managing the stress that comes with it! For a whole person treatment plan, naturopathic medicine is an outstanding strategy, and side effects are minimal if any.

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I can’t wait to hear from you!

Dr. Sara