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Hair loss is a devastating problem for many women despite the notion that it only happens to men. According to Harvard Medical School, almost every woman will eventually suffer some sort of hair loss and while it can happen anytime after puberty, most women notice it during menopause when hair loss increases. While most women are aware of mood swings and hot flashes during menopause, the expected hair loss is often a shocker and many women suffer in silence. With hair being associated with beauty, women are often unaware of how to deal with this real issue since about 40% of women experience hair thinning  (which is at the same rate of men) after menopause. This topic in recent year is being discussed and we are seeing women walking away from the shame of hair loss and looking for viable options to fix it. Deborah.Brow  inquired about this very real issue women can and do face in our Curly Q&A.

Question

The menopause - natural journey.

52+, in the mist of menopause (for about 10 yrs. now-no med only herbal), started transitioning 9.15.  (I) always had a full head of hair until about a year prior.  It's the reason I finally decided to go natural.  (I) started to notice more hair than usual in the sink after washing.  My beautician didn't see any different.  But after 30 years of relaxing I decided to change.  But (I am) not sure if I'm going to have anything to flat twist soon.  I don't want to do the big chop but I have been snipping about 1\4 to 1\2 a month so it's still growing. The tangling is the WORST and a lot of shedding from the root during /after washing.  I've been using Blk castor oil throughout the head (thinning  areas ), coconut oil,  carols daughters,  sheamoisture,  to name a few.  Nothing is working tee shirt dried nor mostly air dried.  Plain and simple please someone HELP !!!...!

Not sure which editor to select, somewhere between 4a/4c not sure because of the relaxer, so I go with the middle queen.  Please put my case at the round table.

Answer

What you are facing is normal and a concern for many women, so we appreciate you sharing your story with us. This type of hair loss is called androgenetic alopecia and involves the hormones called androgens, which affect sex drive and the regulation of hair growth. Androgens are found in both sexes and androgenetic alopecia occurs in both men and women and the hair loss associated with it is a result of a shortening of the anagen phase, which is the growing phase in hair.

Research has shown that hair loss during menopause is a result of hormonal imbalance and related to a lowered production of estrogen and progesterone and an increase in the production of androgens. Despite what feels like your body working against you, there are steps you can take to treat your hair loss and improve the quality of your strands.

Talk to your PCP and or Trichologist

The time is now to discuss with a professional what your body is going through so you fully understand and verify that nothing else is causing the hair loss. They can also offer medications and while they do not work for every women, women are finding success in them like Women’s Rogaine.

Reduce stress

As I mentioned above, stress is a direct result in excessive hair shedding for me, but I am far from alone. According to Healthline, reducing stress can help keep your hormones in check and exercise like yoga are effective in fighting menopausal symptoms.

Eat well and stay hydrated

Eating a well-balance diet is one of the best defenses against hair loss and that includes drinking a lot of water to stay hydrated. Eating right allows all the nutrients you need to give your body the energy and fuel it needs for stronger hair. That includes, essential fatty acids (salmon, flaxseed oil, and nuts), vitamins (potatoes, spinach, fish), and protein (eggs, soy products, chicken). The right foods help to power your body and staying hydrated allows for a properly functioning body and healthier strands. Water is your best bet along with steering clear of sugary drinks.

Going natural

You are doing your hair wonders by going natural and reducing your heat applications, as they can cause heat damage and dryness. Recent studies have shown that black women are more prone to hair loss and it has been attributed to extensions, wigs, and braids, because of tight applications and keeping them in too long. The chemicals found in dyes and perms also compromise your scalp, so continue to go natural and steer clear of heat.

DIY

I love hair rinses and use them faithfully since I have noticed I suffer from excessive hair shedding when I am stressed. Black tea rinses are great and you can find five simple hair rinses for shedding here. Garlic, onion, emu oil, all of these along with other herbs, foods, and plants are great for helping with hair loss or shedding, so try checking out some recipes that will help while you work on a few of the above mentioned tips.

Menopause does not have to be a negative experience if you know how to combat some of the ill effects and work on a better you.