52% of women over the age of 50 experience hair loss.
October is Menopause Awareness Month, and while most people are familiar with some of the symptoms of menopause – hot flushes and sleep issues – other symptoms receive less coverage.
One symptom that is less talked about – perhaps due to stigma – is hair loss.
Despite the silence surrounding the topic, hair loss is quite common in perimenopausal and menopausal women. According to a paper published in the Journal of the North American Menopause Society, for instance, 52% of women over the age of 50 experience hair loss.
What causes it?
Hair loss in menopausal women occurs due to changing hormone levels. As we enter our 40s and 50s, the production of progesterone and oestrogen fall, and this impacts our hair health, leading to both hair thinning and hair loss.
Losing your hair can be associated with stress and feelings of shame, and this in turn can lead to more hair loss. As Dr Nisa Aslam (a panelist for Aminoscience) explains: “The stress from hair loss can further enhance the loss of hair. Hair loss can have an impact on self-esteem, which in turn can trigger more stress and potentially even more hair loss.”
Is there a way to prevent hair loss during menopause?
According to Healthline, there are a number of ways to guard hair health during menopause. In terms of lifestyle changes, the health website recommends reducing stress, exercising and eating a balanced diet to keep hair healthy. As far as nutrients are concerned, it’s important to ensure that you’re consuming mono-saturated oils (sesame oil, olive oil), essential fatty acids, vitamin B6 and folic acid. Hair supplements that contain amino acids – like Aminoscience Healthy Hair – may also be of use.
Protecting your hair generally also helps to keep it strong, and Healthline advises those concerned with hair loss to refrain from using heat tools, extensions, artificial hair colouring and to ensure you wear a swimming cap when you go to the pool. Additionally, having a chat to your doctor about the medications you take and whether or not they interfere with your hair may also be helpful.