Perimenopause Hair Loss and What You Can Do About It
Perimenopause is a time of hormonal changes leading up to menopause and can cause a mountain of delightful symptoms including:
...and, because all that isn't enough, you could also be experiencing hair loss and a few extra cheeky little chin or facial hairs.
It's a really distressing symptom when it happens, we know. Please know we're all here to support you so don't suffer alone (scroll down for a link to the PeriSisterhood).
So if this is you, here's why this might be happening:
Perimenopausal hair loss and facial hair happens because of the decline of estrogen and progesterone along with an excess of the male hormone, androgen. It's this hormone that regulates the development and maintenance of male characteristics and when you have too much of it is known as androgen excess.
Perimenopause Hair Loss: What Else Could It Be?
There are other conditions that cause hair loss so it's definitely an idea to rule them out first.
These could be
- Thyroid disease
- Autoimmune disease
- Fungal infections
- Medications for depression
- Blood pressure
- Cholesterol or
- Excess stomach acid.
Because it could be any of these things, it's best you go and get checked out by your Doc to rule out things and to get a clearer idea of what's going on in there.
The Biggest Sign Your Perimenopause Hair Loss is Hormone Related
The biggest sign that hair loss is hormonal is when it's in combination with the sprouting of facial hair.
If your hair loss is caused by hormone changes you might be diagnosed with androgenetic alopecia or female pattern hair loss which is usually hereditary.
Female hair loss is more common around menopause (the point at which you haven't had a period for 12 months) when estrogen levels reduce and androgen hormones might be more consistent.
Perimenopausal Hair Loss? The Treatments
Your GP might suggest hormone therapy because the estrogen and progesterone counterbalance the androgen excess.
There is also the anti-androgen drug: Spironolactone which has noted side effects you should definitely be aware of:
- Depressed mood and
- Reduced libido.
There is also Minoxidil which is the only medication approved for menopause female pattern hair loss noted side effects are temporary hair loss and facial hair.
It’s always good to discuss with your doctor all the available options along with the pros and cons of each.
Perimenopause Hair Loss: Nutrition
As a Clinical Nutritionist, I would always be looking at diet and lifestyle first to identify any opportunities to reduce androgen dominance.
Reversing insulin resistance - if you have excess weight around your middle you might have insulin resistance which can lead to type 2 diabetes and also makes androgen dominance worse. Learn more about insulin resistance here.
The best supplement to reverse insulin resistance is magnesium and inositol. I would suggest speaking to a naturopath, nutritionist and/or functional doctor with regard to dosages and treatment plans.
Zinc can also be helpful in treatment as it protects the body from excess androgens and nurtures hair follicles.
Perimenopause hair loss is a particularly stubborn symptom, so be prepared that it might take a few months before you see improvements.
Remember to always see a qualified health professional to confirm your diagnosis so you can consider your options.
Join a community of perimenopausal women here, all going through this wild peri journey together.