Somewhere between 21 million women in the United States will experience some degree of hair loss in their lives. Often, this can be attributed to menopause, which is a biological process that all women experience as they age. And for many women, hair loss is a common occurrence during menopause.
However, unlike your father’s receding hairline, menopausal hair loss tends to be more subtle. And it is believed that this comes as a result of hormone imbalance during menopause. Specifically, that of a lowered production of estrogen and progesterone.
These hormones aid in hair growth, and when the levels of them drop, hair thins and grows slowly. Menopause can also trigger an increase in the production of androgens, a group of male hormones that result in hair loss.
Thankfully, there are some treatments that can help stop the side effects of hormone imbalance during menopause. These treatments work by restoring some of the lost hormones. Hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, involves taking female hormones, typically estrogen and progestin together, to battle hormonal imbalance. These hormones can be given to women in various forms, like creams, pills, and patches.
Even better, HRT doesn’t just help with hair loss or thinning hair. This treatment can also be used to help menopausal women ward off osteoporosis, a bone-thinning condition that is common in menopause because of the drop in estrogen levels that occurs. In effect, doctors will use HRT therapy to replace the body’s natural hormones and treat some uncomfortable symptoms of menopause and aging.
Even though these treatments usually aren’t a first course of action for menopause symptoms, many women will find them to be a common and effective treatment. HRT should only be given to women if they are menopausal or post-menopausal, and thus not at risk for the adverse effects they can suffer.
This is because even though hormone replacement therapy has a number of benefits for general health and symptom management, like all medical treatments it also has a number of side effects. Before making a decision about HRT therapy for menopause, consult with your health care provider about the benefits and side effects and make an informed decision.