by SABU VARGHESE, September 20, 2021
Menopause is that time in every female's life where her period ceases for good. This usually happens at age 45 and is finalized when the woman does not have a menstrual cycle for more than a year. Apart from hot flashes and night sweats, menopause could also trigger a significant form of hair loss.
Menopause causes female-pattern hair loss (FPHL), which occurs when the ovaries stop producing the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Apart from regulating the female menstrual cycle, these hormones promote faster hair growth. At the same time, these help keep your scalp hair for longer periods. Without them, your locks are sure to fall easily.
Apart from that, the decrease in female hormones prods the body to increase the production of male hormones. Also known as androgens, they work by shrinking the hair follicles. As a result, your remaining locks grow thinner - before they eventually fall off.
Hormone-related hair loss in women is subtler compared to men. This involves noticeable thinning in the front, side, and top parts. This usually involves big clumps of hair falling out, which are more noticeable after bathing or combing your locks. Compared to male-pattern baldness, FPHL rarely leads to complete balding.
While menopause and female pattern hair loss is a natural thing, there are many things you could do to minimize the appearance of hair loss:
In some women, hormonal therapy is prescribed to reduce the unpleasant symptoms of hot flashes and night sweats. And since it addresses the underlying issue of hormonal fluctuations, it may help reduce hair loss as well.
Hormone replacement therapy, however, often could lead to bad experiences. It could result in worrisome side effects such as headaches, indigestion, bloating, swelling, leg cramps, even vaginal bleeding. If these manifestations are too much for you, you can try herbal remedies that may help minimize hormone-related hair loss:
Saw palmetto is a plant grown in the West Indies and North America. It bears oblong, maroon-colored berries, which are derived to make a purified extract. It works by inhibiting the action of the enzyme 5-alpha reductase (5-AR), an enzyme that helps convert androgens into dihydrotestosterone. This potent hormone is the one responsible for shrinking your hair follicles, leading to both male and female-pattern hair loss.
According to a study, oral intake of saw palmetto has helped improve the hair status of 60% of the participants. As for saw palmetto shampoo, users demonstrated a 35% increase in hair density.
Obtained from pumpkin seed, this nutty, dark green/amber oil is packed with phytonutrients and chemicals. It also has an anti-androgen mechanism, and like saw palmetto, can inhibit the action of 5-AR. According to a study, daily intake of 400 milligrams of pumpkin seed oil - for 24 weeks - can lead to a 40% increase in mean hair count.
Green tea is a healthy beverage made from Camellia sinensis leaves. It may also help minimize FPHL, many thanks to its epigallocatechin-3-gallate content. Also known as EGCG, this type of polyphenol may help inhibit 5-AR activity as well. Because of this action, green tea may be useful in stimulating growth in the hair follicles. This effect was seen in a study of human dermal papilla cells.
Menopausal hormonal changes do not only affect your hair; they affect your well-being as well. The reduction in estrogen can get in the way of normal brain function, and as such could lead to anxiety, depression, and mood swings. These can stress you out, which is again, another driver of hair loss.
To prevent further hair fall, it’s best if you followed these stress reduction techniques:
Sit straight, close your eyes, and put one hand on your belly. Inhale slowly through your nose, exhale slowly through your mouth. This can ease your stress by lowering your heart rate and your blood pressure.
Daily meditation can improve the brain’s pathways, making you more resilient to daily stresses. It’s also very easy to do, as you just need to sit straight with both feet on the floor. Next, you need to close your eyes and recite a positive mantra. Make sure to place your hand on your belly, so you could sync your recitation with your breathing.
Exercise is not only good for the body, it’s perfect for the mind as well. After all, this can help your brain produce feel-good chemicals that may help alleviate stress. Remember, you need not be a pro athlete to do this. It’s as simple as walking around the block, though you could do some stretching and yoga poses as well.
Menopause brings about a sluggish metabolism, which could lead to nutrient absorption issues. As such, you must eat a healthy diet that features these hair growth-boosting nutrients:
At the same time, you should give your hair some help by taking certain supplements. Here are some of the natural remedies that could work wonders on your locks:
Biotin is a part of the B Vitamin family, though it is also known as Vitamin H. While it is commonly present in most food, a deficiency of this could lead to hair loss. To minimize this, you should try to meet the recommended dietary intake which is 30 mcg per day.
Apart from helping you maintain good digestive health, probiotics may help you with your hair woes as well. They help fight infections in the body, and as such could keep your blood healthy. And with a healthy circulation, your hair gets everything you need for better growth.
Selenium is a mineral known to promote skin healing. Apart from that, it may help boost hair growth too. For one, it can help fight dandruff, which could get in the way of good hair health. It is also vital for the production of thyroid hormones, as an imbalance of this could lead to further hair problems.
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