How to Curb Menopausal Hair Loss in Women

The HealthCentral Editorial Team | March 26, 2012

Reviewed by Peter J. Chen, MD, FACOG

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Among the many unfavorable changes women face during menopause, hair loss is one that contributes to the growing anxiety in menopausal women. But menopausal hair loss can be curbed, helping you to take this phase of your life in stride. Here are some things you should know about menopausal hair loss and what you can do to control it.

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Pay attention to your hair

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Female hair loss can often be combatted when targeted early. Women usually notice a thinning over the crown or widening of their part, as opposed to men, who get receding hair lines or bald spots on top of the scalp.

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Eat more protein

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Hair is made of protein, so it is essential that you are getting sufficient amounts of it in your diet. Good sources of protein are egg whites, low-fat cottage cheese, lean meat, legumes, and nuts.

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Non-dietary protein sources

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Non-dietary protein sources such as salon keratin treatments and protein-enriched shampoos are another way to deliver protein to your hair to avoid hair loss. Next time you’re at the salon, ask about their protein-enriched shampoo or treatment options.

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Vitamins and minerals

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There are so many vitamins and minerals that we’re told to make sure we have enough of, but which ones should we be focusing on for hair health and, in particular, hair loss? Iron, zinc, biotin, and vitamin A are just a few of the nutrients needed to keep hair healthy and strong.

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Wear a hat outdoors

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You should also wear a hat when you’re outside to protect your hair and scalp from the harsh sun. Consuming more vitamin E will also help keep your hair, skin, and scalp protected.

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Be gentle with your hair

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Ease up when brushing or combing to be sure you’re not pulling out any hair. Avoid tight hairstyles or twisting, rubbing, or pulling your hair to avoid unnecessary stress to your hair and scalp.

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Hormone therapy

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Hair loss may come about due to hormonal abnormalities for some menopausal women. An excess of male hormones, for example, could cause hair loss that looks similar to male hair loss. This can be treated through hormone replacement or antiandrogen therapy. Other hormonal dysfunction such as thyroid imbalance may cause excessive hair loss. It’s important to talk to your doctor about your treatment options if you discover there is a hormonal imbalance.

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Avoid harsh chemical products

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When experiencing hair loss, it might be tempting to do all sorts of things to try and hide the fact. But adding harsh chemical products to dye, curl, or straighten your hair might exacerbate the problem. Try switching to more natural products.

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Consider medication

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There are medications that specifically target hair loss, although most are used for male-pattern baldness. There are topical medications and pill forms, and all medication options should be thoroughly discussed with your doctor.

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Consider surgery

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If you feel like you’ve tried everything, yet nothing has worked, surgery may be an option. Hair transplants and scalp reduction are two procedures that can provide a permanent improvement to your hair. These surgeries can be expensive and painful and are associated with infection and scarring risks, so be sure to weigh all your options before you go this route.

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Own it

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Sometimes, owning your condition can be very empowering. As long as there are no dangerous diseases associated with your hair loss, menopausal hair loss can serve as an excuse to wear all sorts of fun and different hair pieces. Many high-quality and natural-looking wigs and hair pieces are available today. If you’re concerned about menopausal hair loss, be sure to talk to your doctor about all of these points.