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Wait, Can Menopause Cause Hair Loss? Here’s What You Need to Know

Can Menopause Cause Hair Loss? Photo of a woman in a robe holding her hair loss.
Sol De Zuasnabar Brebbia/Getty Images

It’s no secret that menopause brings about a host of uncomfortable changes. After all, those pesky hormones (we’re talking about you, estrogen and progesterone) seem to have an impact on damn near everything, from sleep and hot flashes to mood changes and vaginal dryness. Which brings us to the question at hand: Can menopause cause hair loss? We got the full scoop from Dr. Staci Tanouye, OBGYN, plus what you can do about it…because (spoiler) yeah, it definitely can.

Meet the Expert

Dr. Staci Tanouye is a board certified gynecologist in Jacksonville Beaches, Florida. She received her Doctor of Medicine from the Saint Louis University School of Medicine and completed her residency at the Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education in Rochester, Minnesota. 

Can Menopause Cause Hair Loss?

Hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings and dryness down below—those are just a few of the rather unpleasant physical symptoms women experience when going through menopause and, annoyingly, you can also add hair loss to the list. Although not as common as some of the better-known symptoms, the hormonal fluctuations that occur during menopause (i.e., plummeting estrogen and progesterone levels) can indeed cause hair loss.

In fact, Dr. Tanouye tells us that about half of menopausal women report noticing some hair changes, and thinning is one of them. Per the expert: “Aging in general leads to slower hair growth and reduction in hair cycling…[and] as hormone levels decline during menopause, it causes a decrease in the growth phase of the hair cycle, decreased density of hair as well as increased thinning and dryness.” The takeaway? If you suspect that your once-glorious mane has taken a hit as the result of menopause, it’s probably not all in your head.

Is Menopause-Related Hair Loss Permanent?

Hair loss can do a number on your self-esteem and cause real psychological distress—but most menopausal women can rest assured that this too shall pass. “Menopause-related hair loss is not necessarily permanent and, like other symptoms, will often stabilize over time,” explains Dr. Tanouye. That said, if your hair loss is persisting or worsening when other menopause symptoms have begun to abate, you should consult your doctor, so that the cause can be identified, and appropriate treatment administered.

Can Menopause-Related Hair Loss Be Prevented?

The bad news is that there is no way to prevent menopause-related hair loss. The good news is that there are steps you can take to minimize these unwanted hair changes. The doctor recommends making sure you are consistently eating a healthy and balanced diet—your hair needs all the nutrients it can get—and also emphasizes the importance of exercise as a means of reducing stress and increasing circulation, both of which can have a significant impact on the hair cycle. Finally, because stress can trigger hair loss, Dr. Tanouye advises that women prioritize adequate sleep on a consistent schedule, and invest in other stress-reducing activities, like meditation, yoga and journaling, to keep the problem at bay.

What Treatment Options Are Available for Menopause-Related Hair Loss?

In the event that time and healthy lifestyle choices aren’t enough to address a menopause-related hair loss issue, you’ll be relieved to know that there are other treatment options available. Although hormone replacement therapy is not currently recommended for prevention or treatment of menopause-related hair loss, Dr. Tanouye says that minoxidil (i.e., Rogaine)—a topical treatment—is easy, effective and, best of all, readily available over the counter. (Psst: You can learn more by reading this 2019 review, published in Drug Design, Development and Therapy, which concludes that minoxidil “provides remarkable benefits to patients with hair disorders.”) Plus, if you’re still riding the hormonal wave and waiting it out, you can always invest in some high-quality hair care products to boost volume and give your ‘do a little more oomph.

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