Hair Loss & Menopause
The Body During Menopause
When women get to their late forties or early fifties, they go through menopause. Menopause is the permanent cessation of menstruation and the end of a woman's fertile period. During menopause, the ovaries stop or reduce their production of the hormones that define a woman's earlier years. Estrogen is still produced in small quantities, but progesterone is completely absent. These hormones, especially estrogen, are involved with mediating many of the body's functions. When these hormones drop off during menopause, many parts of the body are affected. Many women experience hot flashes, night sweats, weight gain, and incontinence. For many women, one of the most troubling and embarrassing symptoms is hair loss.
How Can Menopause Cause Hair Loss?
Hair loss during menopause is usually caused by an imbalance in testosterone as compared to estrogen. While testosterone levels do, usually, drop off a bit during this time, this does not happen as quickly as the changes in estrogen levels. The net effect is an excess of testosterone. Testosterone acts on the hair follicles and causes the female version of pattern baldness. The lack of progesterone can also cause problems. When progesterone production ceases, the body begins to produce higher levels of adrenal cortical steroids to fulfill some of the functions once filled by progesterone. Unfortunately, these steroids have certain androgenic characteristics. Thus they, too, can contribute to female pattern baldness. Many women also develop thyroid problems during menopause. Low thyroid function can contribute to hair loss. It is important to see your doctor to obtain an accurate diagnosis. Approximately twenty-five million American women suffer from some form of hair loss, most due to menopausal changes. Fortunately, most regain their hair once they"ve passed through the transitional period.
Sources: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hormone-therapy http://www.power-surge.com/educate/hairloss.htm http://www.womentowomen.com/symptoms/hairlossdryskin.aspx
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