Hair loss is a distressing symptom of menopause. Hair becoming thin and brittle, as well as emerging patches of baldness, becomes much more likely once women reach their forties, fifties, and sixties due to hormonal activity that occurs in the body in these years. Imbalances of estrogen, progesterone, and androgen affect hair follicle health and other menopause symptoms can worsen this. It's difficult to know how best to treat hair loss; awaiting hair regrowth takes time, but could herbal remedies speed up the process, or are there other ways of treating the symptom?
Herbal Remedies for Hair Loss
Herbal remedies can be applied topically to the hair or scalp to limit breakages and stimulate regrowth. There are several types of herbal remedies that can help with hair loss.
Phytoestrogens are plant-based estrogens, and are used to treat menopausal symptoms in general. Foods containing phytoestrogens include beans, soy products, peas, lentils, whole grains, and seeds. They may relieve menopausal symptoms like hair loss by simulating estrogen production and are therefore useful for fixing sex hormone-related problems.
Hormone-regulating herbal supplements can be an effective natural treatment for menopause symptoms like hair loss. These supplements stimulate the natural production of hormones.
A combination of ginseng, lavender, and rosemary oils could work to prevent further hair loss: ginseng promotes blood circulation, lavender stimulates the hair follicles, and rosemary has anti-androgenic functions to help regulate the hormonal imbalances that cause hair loss during menopause. Massaging these oils gently into the scalp using your fingertips will further enhance blood circulation.
Nourish your hair by applying herbal moisturizers that have nutrients to replenish damaged hair. Sources of vitamin E are the way to go, as these are naturally moisturizing for the hair shafts and contain antioxidants to boost hair health. Try applying avocado oil, argan oil, coconut oil, or olive oil on a twice-weekly basis to achieve this effect.
Dietary Remedies for Hair Loss
Hair loss is often caused or worsened by an iron deficiency. The primary function of iron is to carry oxygen in the bloodstream for healthy red blood cells and blood circulation. Increasing your intake of iron by eating more red meat, poultry, nuts, seeds, and legumes will boost blood circulation to the scalp to stimulate hair regrowth. Drink a glass of orange juice with your iron sources, as vitamin C maximizes iron absorption in the body.
Other Hair Loss Treatments
While occasional and responsible use of hair products is unlikely to dramatically affect hair health, irresponsible or overuse of hair dyes and heat products will worsen hair loss. Some hair dyes contain lead that can cause scalp irritation; bleach contain harsh chemicals that - even with responsible use - dry out the hair and make breakages more likely; and heat products, like straighteners, curling irons, and hairdryers, deeply penetrate and damage hair shafts. Even hairstyles that tightly pull back that hair, such as some ponytails or braids, put strain on the hair follicles and intensify hair loss. Limiting harsh treatments will help improve the thickness and condition of your hair.
When it comes to finding the best solution for hair loss, it's often not as straightforward as simply choosing one treatment and expecting miracles. There's no one cure for hair loss, but a combination of herbal remedies and lifestyle changes are the gentlest way to improve hair follicle health and stimulate hair regrowth. In the meantime you may wish to use cosmetic disguises, such as hair pieces or scarves, if you're feeling self-conscious, or boost your confidence in other ways, by accentuating other body parts or acquiring a new skill.
- Bhat, G. et al. (2011). Aloe vera: Natur's soothing healer to periodontal disease. Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology, 15(3), 205-209. Retrieved fromhttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3200013/
- Dinh, Q.Q. & Sinclair, R. (2007). Female pattern hair loss: Current treatment concepts. Clinical Interventions in Aging, 2(2), 189-199. Retrieved fromhttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2684510/
- McKinley Health Center. (2010). Dietary Sources of Iron. RetrievedJune 24, 2014 from http://www.mckinley.illinois.edu/handouts/dietary_sources_iron.html
- Murata, K. et al. (2013). Promotion of hair growth by Rosmarinus officinalis leaf extract. Phytotherapy research, 27(2), 212-217. doi: 10.1002/ptr.4712
- National Center of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. (2012) Lavender. Retrieved June 24, 2014 fromhttp://nccam.nih.gov/health/lavender/ataglance.htm
- National Health Service UK. (2012). Hair loss - treatment. Retrieved June 24, 2014, from http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Hair-loss/Pages/Treatment.aspx
- National Institutes of Health. (2014) Female pattern baldness. Retrieved June 24, 2014 from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001173.htm
- Park, S.Y. et al. (2013). Iron plays a certain role in patterned hair loss. Journal of Korean medical science, 28(6), 934-938. doi: 10.3346/jkms.2013.28.6.934