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Hair Loss: The Menopause Ego Buster

As a woman going through menopause, you know there are many symptoms that come with this transitional stage of life. Some can be extremely uncomfortable and disruptive, such as hot flashes, fatigue, mood swings, incontinence and night sweats, while others can prove to be alarming and mentally disturbing. This is especially true for women who are dealing with hair loss, a not uncommon symptom of menopause.

HFN 079 HairLoss F28832367The Cause
As a woman ages, her body begins to produce fewer and fewer hormones. The ensuing hormonal imbalances are responsible for just about all of the symptoms of menopause that women endure, including hair loss. Estrogen is particularly important for hair growth. If you have ever been pregnant, you may recall that during your pregnancy, your hair was thick and vibrant. This was due to a high level of estrogen. (Some women experience hair loss after giving birth as a result of hormonal changes, but it's common for their hair to grow back.) As a menopausal woman, your estrogen levels are lower, which creates the opposite effect.

Women who possess a higher level of testosterone are also susceptible to hair loss. When testosterone reacts with enzymes in hair cells, it is converted into dihydro-testosterone (DHT), which causes the follicle to weaken and become incapable of supporting additional hair growth. Hair loss can also be triggered by a high level of stress, something extremely common in women going through menopause.

Remedies
The good news is that hair loss doesn't always have to be permanent. If you notice a consistent loss and thinning of hair, you should see your doctor or a dermatologist to rule out other causes. Issues with your thyroid, for example, could cause hair problems, and a simple blood test will reveal any abnormality.

On your own, you can make changes in your lifestyle. Making sure you have a balanced diet with plenty of vitamins E, B and C, iron, and protein is important. Frequent use of alcohol and caffeine should be avoided. You can achieve and maintain the correct vitamin and mineral levels by taking a good multivitamin or by adhering to a specific diet. Vitamin E can be found in foods like nuts, olive oil, and avocados, while B Vitamins are common in eggs, poultry, and meat. Protein-rich foods include liver, fish, eggs, beans, and cheese, while iron can be found in meat (choose lower-fat varieties), eggs, raisins, dark green leafy vegetables, and whole grain foods.

There are also herbal considerations that can be made. Herbs like black cohosh have naturally occurring estrogenic components, and work by helping to restore hormonal balance within the body. Some herbs, such as Macafem, don't contain estrogen, but are believed to stimulate hormone production by providing the pituitary and endocrine glands with the nutrition needed to produce hormones.

Since stress can also be a big contributor to hair loss, it is important to identify and eliminate, to the extent possible, continual sources of stress in your life. Stress reduction practices such as meditation or yoga can provide additional benefits.

Consult Your Doctor
Before embarking on any type of herbal, dietary, or lifestyle changes aimed at addressing your symptoms of menopause, it is important to first consult a doctor. Even treatments as seemingly harmless as herbal remedies can be dangerous if you have an unknown allergy. Your healthcare provider can evaluate your specific situation and give you sound advice based on your condition. ♀

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