Hair loss is commonly caused by age, genetics, and underlying health issues. But can perimenopause cause hair loss?
What is Perimenopause?
Perimenopause refers to the transition phase that takes place several years before the last menstrual period.
During this time, there is a drop in estrogen levels and many women will start to experience symptoms.
This commonly occurs in women’s 40s but it can begin much earlier. While the average length of perimenopause lasts for 4 years, some women may experience symptoms for up to 10 years.
The perimenopause phase ends once a woman has gone through 12 months without a period, which indicates she has now reached menopause.
Symptoms of Perimenopause
Some women will experience mild symptoms while others will experience huge changes throughout their bodies that affect their day-to-day life. Some of these symptoms include:
Irregular periods are the most commonly reported symptom during this transition phase.
Due to the unpredictability of ovulation, periods may be longer or shorter or you could experience a change in flow; periods may be lighter or heavier.
When the time between each period lengthens, this indicates that you are now in late perimenopause.
Mood swings are typically the result of fluctuating hormones and they could be one of the first symptoms that you notice.
Keep an eye on your moods over several weeks, as this can be an indicator of perimenopause.
While hot flashes and night sweats are more common during menopause, they can still affect women going through perimenopause.
This is caused by fluctuating hormones, which makes it difficult for the body to regulate its temperature.
Does Perimenopause Cause Hair Loss?
Unfortunately, perimenopause can cause hair loss. This is due to a decline in the hormones estrogen and progesterone, both of which play a huge role in hair growth. As these hormones decline, hair production slows and hair becomes thinner as a result.
Hair loss can occur at the start of perimenopause or much further down the line.
While hair loss can be daunting for many women, it doesn’t necessarily indicate that something is wrong.
It’s worth remembering that hair loss caused by menopause is only temporary.
Is It Common?
Perimenopausal hair loss occurs in more than 40 percent of cases, which makes it extremely common.
Diet, genetics, and age can all play a huge factor in whether you experience hair loss. But in most cases, it’s unavoidable.
If you do have hair loss, try not to panic, as there are many ways to treat it.
Signs You Are Suffering From Hair Loss
Hair loss can be subtle and occur over a long period of time, which can make it harder to spot the signs. Here’s what you need to look out for.
There’s More Hair In Your Hairbrush
We shed between 50 and 100 hairs every day, so it’s not easy to distinguish between what’s normal and what can be a sign of perimenopause.
That’s why it’s important to pay attention to the smallest details.
If you notice that you’re removing more hair than usual or simply having to do it more often, this could be an indication that you’re suffering from hair loss.
While this sign alone doesn’t mean that you are going through menopause, it can point towards this if you are experiencing other symptoms, too.
There’s More Hair In The Shower
When you wash your hair in the shower, you will notice that this is the time that you experience the most hair fall.
This is completely normal and it occurs when shampoo and conditioner stimulate the scalp, causing old hairs to fall out.
It’s part of the natural growth cycle, and it’s not usually something to be concerned about.
But if you are noticing more hair falling out than usual, that could be a sign of hair loss.
Your Hair Appears Thinner Than Usual
Hair thinning is something that affects many women and it’s associated with perimenopause. In fact, many women will report hair thinning as one of the early indicators.
You might notice that your hair doesn’t look as thick or voluminous as usual. There might be some thinning at the top of the head or on the sides of the head.
If you put your hair in a ponytail, you could notice that it appears thinner than normal. These are all indicators that you are suffering from hair loss.
How To Combat Perimenopausal Hair Loss
The good thing is perimenopausal hair loss is treatable. The following tips can help reverse hair loss and promote new growth.
Stress is a major cause of hair loss, and during perimenopause, it’s even more important to keep stress levels at bay to prevent a hormonal imbalance.
Practicing yoga and using essential oils like lavender every day can help you to relax and stabilize your moods. When stress levels are lowered, your hormones become balanced, too.
Exercise is essential to maintain good health and keep hair strong and healthy.
Exercise helps to stabilize hormones which in turn, helps to reduce many perimenopausal symptoms, like mood swings, bloating, and hair loss.
Find a gentle exercise like yoga, swimming, or walking that you can fit into your daily schedule.
Increase Water Intake
Dry hair and skin are common perimenopausal symptoms.
This is because when estrogen levels drop, the oil glands secrete less oil, leaving the hair and scalp drier as a result.
You might find that your scalp becomes itchy too since there is not enough oil to keep it hydrated.
When the hair and scalp become very dry, it can start to become brittle and break off.
To combat this, you must increase your water intake to replenish lost moisture. The more you stay hydrated, the more this will reflect in your hair and skin.
Increasing your water intake also helps with some other perimenopausal symptoms, like night sweats and hot flashes.
Eat A Varied Diet
Eating a healthy, balanced diet is often overlooked, but it’s one of the most important steps to reducing your perimenopausal symptoms and treating hair loss.
But what does a healthy diet look like? Well, limiting sugar and processed foods and focusing on natural, whole foods is a great start.
Getting a wide variety of fruit, vegetables, and grains into your diet helps to keep your whole body functioning properly. Include the following in your diet:
- 3 – 5 portions of vegetables a day, good examples are leafy greens including spinach and broccoli
- Whole grain oats, brown rice
- Dark chocolate (in small quantities)
- 1 – 2 portions of fruit a day
- Oily fish like salmon and sardines
- Nuts and seeds
Supplements may be necessary for people who struggle to get all of the essential nutrients from their diet.
It’s recommended that you take Vitamin C, A, B12, Iron, Zinc and Folic Acid to maintain healthy, strong hair.
Look for a good multivitamin that has all of these key nutrients.
While it’s still important to maintain a healthy diet as well, a multivitamin can provide additional support and help in the treatment of hair loss.
When Should You Seek Help?
While your hair loss could be perimenopausal, it could also be caused by other factors like vitamin deficiencies or an underlying health issue.
You shouldn’t try to guess or self-diagnose. Instead, book an appointment with your doctor and explain your current symptoms.
They will help you to get to the root cause of your issue. Also, if the following tips don’t help or you continue to struggle with hair loss, it’s important to tell your doctor about this, too.
They can run necessary tests to rule out anything serious and may suggest medication to treat the cause of your hair loss.
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