“Some women experience thinning of the hair on the scalp in midlife. For many, this is because of an interplay of genetics, hormone shifts and environmental factors”.1

Umbrella
What may the Menopause Hair Changes Umbrella include?

Depending on the Source (DotS) this Umbrella may include:

  • Chin Hair
  • Downy Hair
  • Facial Hair Growth/Increase
  • Hair Loss
  • Head Hair
  • Hirsutism
  • Thinning Hair
  • “Peach Fuzz”
  • “Rogue Hair”

Grey Hair

Is there an association between aging and gray hair?

The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) note:

Menopause Hair Changes
“Aging increases the likelihood that hair will become gray and more brittle”.2

Hair Loss and Age

Is there an association between hair loss and age?

On page one in Nutraceuticals May Be the Secret To A Full Head of Hair for Women At Midlife the NAMS elaborate on:

“There are many different types of hair loss that occur with age. In some (non-scarring), the hair follicle is preserved and hair has the potential to grow back. Others (scarring) are characterized by irreversibly destroyed hair follicles that do not allow hair to be replenished. Today the term most commonly used with women is female pattern hair loss (also known as androgenetic alopecia). Although it’s similar to what happens to men, hair loss patterns in women are typically different”.3

Female Pattern Hair Loss

Is there an association between menopause and female pattern hair loss (FPHL)?

In Menopause FAQs: Your Health After Menopause – Q. Is there anything I can do to stop my hair from thinning? the NAMS elaborate on:

“A. Some women experience thinning of the hair on the scalp in midlife. For many, this is because of an interplay of genetics, hormone shifts and environmental factors. Known as female pattern hair loss, the hair thins mainly on the crown of the head, starting with a widening through the center hair part”.4

In Menopausal Hair Loss: Why Does It Happen? the (British) Women’s Health Concern explain:

“FPHL is very common and increases with age and varies across ethnic groups. Although it can happen at any age, the condition occurs most commonly following the menopause. This does not mean that hormones alone are to blame, although oestrogen may have a protective role, helping to keep hair in the ‘growing phase’. Age itself is a factor and whilst women can take care of their hair cosmetically, it is one aspect of the ageing process we cannot always control”.5

On page one in Nutraceuticals May Be the Secret To A Full Head of Hair for Women At Midlife the NAMS note:

“With female pattern hair loss, the hair’s growing phase shortens and fewer hairs are in the active growing phase. Hair follicles shrink, leading hair to become thinner and finer with decreased numbers of hairs overall. Women typically report progressive ponytail thinning, increased scalp visibility, and easy sunburn. Usually there is a preservation of the frontal hairline with diffuse central thinning and accentuation of the part-line with a Christmas tree appearance”.6

Female Pattern Hair Loss Common or Not

How common is FPHL?

On page one in Nutraceuticals May Be the Secret To A Full Head of Hair for Women At Midlife the NAMS elaborate on:

“Hair thinning is one of the many symptoms that accompanies the menopause transition. Roughly 40% of women over 60 will experience what’s known as female pattern hair loss (also known as androgenetic alopecia)”.7

Other Causes

Apart from menopause, what may other causes of hair loss include?

The NAMS note:

“A. …Other causes of hair loss may include nutrition deficiencies (such as low iron intake), significant or prolonged stress, thyroid disease and other chronic illness, and certain medications or supplements. Women also may notice increased hair loss when stopping hormone contraceptives or estrogen therapy”.8 Menopause Hair Changes

Facial Hair

Is there an association between facial hair and menopause?

The NAMS note:

“Women often report large rogue hairs on their chins that seems to grow to a great length almost overnight, and other women notice the appearance of downy hairs (peach fuzz) on their faces”.9

In Menopause, Perimenopause and Postmenopause: Can Menopause Cause Facial Hair Growth? the (United States) Cleveland Clinic explain:

“Yes, increased facial hair growth can be a change related to menopause. The hormonal change your body goes through during menopause can result in several physical changes to your body, including more facial hair than you may have had in the past. If facial hair becomes a problem for you, waxing or using other hair removers may be options. Talk to your healthcare provider about your options to make sure you don’t pick a product that could harm your skin”.10

Hirsutism

What is hirsutism?

DotS the definition of hirsutism may vary. In Hirsutism: Overview the (United States) Mayo Clinic’s definition is:

“Hirsutism (HUR-soot-iz-um) is a condition in women that results in excessive growth of dark or coarse hair in a male-like pattern — face, chest and back”.11

The NAMS also explain:

“…excessive hair growth (hirsutism) may occur in areas in which hair follicles are especially androgen sensitive, such as chin, upper lip, and cheeks. This condition is thought to be because of the shift in the balance between androgen and estrogen levels associated with declining estrogen at menopause”.12

Health Care Provider

What if I would like help with hair changes?

If you would like help with hair changes, it may be in your best interest to choose to talk to your health care provider about this. Together you can clarify your hair changes, discuss your options and if required, agree on who may be the most appropriate health care provider to help you.

In Menopause FAQs: Your Health After Menopause – Q. Is there anything I can do to stop my hair from thinning? the NAMS also explain:

“A. …Treatments depend on the cause of the hair loss and may include eating a healthy diet and adding a multivitamin to support hair regrowth. Topical minoxidil also can be beneficial for hair regrowth, although it may take at least 4 to 6 months to show improvement”.13

Health Topics A-Z

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Sources

Where may I find the Sources quoted?

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Sources

  1. Menopause FAQs: Your Health After Menopause – Q. Is there anything I can do to stop my hair from thinning? North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopause-faqs-your-health-after-menopause Accessed: 24 August 2021
  2. North American Menopause Society. Menopause Guidebook: 5. Midlife Body Changes – Skin, Hair, and Oral Health: Hair. 8th Edition 2015:41
  3. Nutraceuticals May Be the Secret to A Full Head of Hair for Women At Midlife. 22 September 2021. North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/docs/default-source/press-release/nutraceutical-supplement-for-promoting-hair-growth.pdf Accessed: 23 September 2021
  4. Menopause FAQs: Your Health After Menopause – Q. Is there anything I can do to stop my hair from thinning? North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopause-faqs-your-health-after-menopause Accessed: 24 August 2021
  5. Menopausal Hair Loss: Why Does It Happen? Reviewed: August 2018. Women’s Health Concern https://www.womens-health-concern.org/help-and-advice/factsheets/menopausal-hair-loss/ Accessed: 24 August 2021
  6. Nutraceuticals May Be the Secret to A Full Head of Hair for Women At Midlife. 22 September 2021. North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/docs/default-source/press-release/nutraceutical-supplement-for-promoting-hair-growth.pdf Accessed: 23 September 2021
  7. Nutraceuticals May Be the Secret to A Full Head of Hair for Women At Midlife. 22 September 2021. North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/docs/default-source/press-release/nutraceutical-supplement-for-promoting-hair-growth.pdf Accessed: 23 September 2021
  8. Menopause FAQs: Your Health After Menopause – Q. Is there anything I can do to stop my hair from thinning? North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopause-faqs-your-health-after-menopause Accessed: 24 August 2021
  9. North American Menopause Society. Menopause Guidebook: 5. Midlife Body Changes – Skin, Hair, and Oral Health: Hair. 8th Edition 2015:41
  10. Menopause, Perimenopause and Postmenopause: Can Menopause Cause Facial Hair Growth? Last Reviewed: 24 December 2019. Cleveland Clinic https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15224-menopause-perimenopause-and-postmenopause Accessed: 24 August 2021
  11. Hirsutism: Overview. 14 December 2019. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hirsutism/symptoms-causes/syc-20354935 Accessed: 24 August 2021
  12. North American Menopause Society. Menopause Guidebook: 5. Midlife Body Changes – Skin, Hair, and Oral Health: Hair. 8th Edition 2015:41
  13. Menopause FAQs: Your Health After Menopause – Q. Is there anything I can do to stop my hair from thinning? North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopause-faqs-your-health-after-menopause Accessed: 24 August 2021

Topic Last Updated: 23 September 2021 – Topic Last Reviewed: 24 August 2021
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