How the menopause affects your hair


Eileen Durward
Menopause Advisor
@EileenDurward
Ask Eileen


05 September 2016

Read the full video transcript below

Today's topic

Hello, and welcome to my weekly video blog. And today on A.Vogel Talks Menopause,  I’m going to talk about hair in the menopause. Now, I know I covered it briefly in one of the questions and answers sessions, but an awful lot of women get in touch with me because they’re worried about what’s happening to their hair. And apparently around about 40% of women going through the menopause will have one sort of problem or another. And our hair is very important to us, isn’t it? It’s our crowning glory, and we all know how it feels when we have a bad hair day.

But during the menopause, these hair problems can be continuous and they can have a huge impact in our confidence, in the way we present ourselves to the world, in the way we see our own body image, and with all the other problems that can be going on as well, it can end up making us feeling really low and even depressed. But is it all actually down to the menopause? Because there could be lots of other factors.

What can happen to your hair?

But first, let’s have a little look at all the sorts of things that can happen to your hair. You can find that it just starts to fall out, it can start to get a lot thinner, it can start to get brittle. You can find that you get patches, especially around the temples is a very common area where you find that you suddenly start to lose hair. Your hair can start to get very dry. You can end up getting dandruff and other scalp irritations. And some women find that their hair suddenly develops a life of their own and it gets very wiry and out of control.

What are the causes of hair problems?

Now, what are the main causes for hair loss or hair problems at this particular time?

Oestrogen

Well, oestrogen is a factor, and falling oestrogen can affect your hair growth cycle. So it can slow everything down. So you just think, “Oh my hair’s not growing as much as normal.” It takes much longer for everything to happen in that way. You find that sometimes you lose the hair and it doesn’t actually grow back. And sometimes your hair won’t actually grow as long as what it used to before it actually starts to fall out.

Stress

Now, another problem is stress, and we’re all stressed in one way or another. The menopause itself, as I’m always saying, puts tremendous pressure on your body without anything else happening. So if you have day-to-day stress as well as the stress of the menopause, then that can be another factor in having problems with your hair.

Diet

Diet. This is really, really so important. By the time we get to the menopause, especially if we haven’t been looking after ourselves as well as we should have been, then we are going to be really low nutritionally, and the menopause really drains us of energy, and vitamins, and minerals. And if our body is using vitamins and minerals to keep us going and to keep our energy levels up, it’s not going to have enough for our hair as well.

And the body is very sensible because in nature, hair or fur and beautiful nails and markings, they’re all decoration, they’re embellishments of the body. And if our body is struggling nutritionally, then it’s going to say, “Well, you know what? Hair and nails are not that important. We don’t need it to stay alive.” And if you are getting problems with your hair and your nails as well, then it’s a good indication that something is going on inside and you’re a little bit nutritionally low in certain vitamins and minerals. Now, we’ve got the usual three for causing hair problems. That’s low iron, low thyroid, and low vitamin D. And remember just last week I was talking about how important vitamin D is during the menopause.

Liver

The other really important thing for hair growth, believe it or not, is our liver. And again, I’ve talked about how important the liver is during the menopause at helping to support us. And good liver function is very important for proper hair growth. So if our livers are stressed, that’s going to be another issue with our hair growth as well.

Dehydration

We also need to look at dehydration. Now, that’s the usual one, so especially if you’re getting hot flushes and night sweats and you’re finding that you’re hair is getting very dry and brittle, then that can be a really good indication that you’re dehydrated. So just remember to up the water.

So what can you do?

So what can you do to look after your hair at this particular point? Certainly there are a number of things that you can do for yourself. You can look at plant oestrogens, phytoestrogens. We have our fermented soya product, Menopause Support. So that’s certainly one thing that you can look at.

Improve your diet

Your diet, really important. A good, varied diet, lots and lots of different foods every day. Your hair needs vitamin A, all the B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin D. It needs iron, it needs magnesium. And how often, you know, do I talk about the fact that we can be very low in magnesium? So another mineral that’s really important for hair growth, and of course iron as well. And please, please, please at this time, going on a really restricted calorie-controlled diet in the menopause is going to cause problems with your hair. So if you need to keep your weight under control, then do it sensibly, but still keep that really varied diet. And maybe look out for a really good vitamin and mineral supplement as well.

Help for your liver

If you feel your liver is a bit sluggish, so again, if you’re getting a little bit of fatigue, if you’re just feeling not quite right but there’s nothing really particular wrong, that could just indicate your liver’s a little bit stressed. So you could look at things like Milk Thistle Complex, you could look at just going on a little bit of a liver-friendly diet as well. So cut out the heavy foods, the coffee, and the alcohol, and the high salted, sugar foods as well.

Love your hair

You need to be really careful about what you’re doing with your hair because when it starts to get brittle, if it starts to cause problems, then using shampoos, conditioners, gels, hairspray, even hair dyes can be a problem as well. So they can all cause further damage. And if you’re doing a lot of heat work, if you’re doing straighteners and hairdryers as well, then be really careful that you’re using them on a very low heat to stop any further dehydration as well.

You can also look at something called colloidal silica. This is very important for hair growth. And you can get colloidal silica supplements from your local health food shop. The great thing about these are that they work from the inside out. And silica is needed to strengthen your bones, it’s needed to keep your skin nice and firm, it’s needed for your nails, and it’s needed for your hair. So it’s one of these nearly all-around remedies that’s going to work on lots of different levels. It will take about three months to show benefit purely because it’s working from the inside out. The other thing to remember, as I said before, lots and lots of plain water during the day.

Hair loss and your doctor

Now, really important thing here. If you start to notice hair loss, it can be an indication of your low thyroid function, low vitamin D, and low iron. So it’s really important to go and get this checked out by your doctor. If you’re losing your hair very suddenly, if it starts to shed really, really suddenly, again, please go and see the doctor because there can be other health issues that can cause that as well.

Have you experienced hair loss?

So hopefully this has given you a few tips to help you to look after your hair during the menopause. Give me any stories you have. Did you have any problems with your hair? Is there anything that you have found really, really helpful? Please let us know and then I can pass it on and help other ladies as well. So, I look forward to seeing you next week on A.Vogel Talks Menopause.

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Did you know?

You won’t get the menopause the minute you turn 50! The average starting age is actually between 45 and 55 and it can often depend on a number of factors including hereditary, weight and health, however every single woman will have an individual menopause.

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