One of the most common yet least talked about symptoms of menopause, hair loss can be devastating for the millions of women who suffer from it. Americans spend upwards of a billion dollars per year on hair loss treatments. According to the American Hair Loss Society, 99% of these treatments are unfortunately ineffective. Most women do not want to sit back and let their hair fall out slowly without taking action. Luckily, there are alternative solutions that are safe and effective for the multitudes of women experiencing hair loss.
As hair loss for menopausal women is typically a direct result of fluctuating hormone levels, namely estrogen and testosterone, it is best to address the problem at the hormonal source in order to reverse it.
Though it used to be popular to prescribe hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to treat this fundamental imbalance, persistent links to blood clots and stroke have caused most healthcare professionals to rethink this drastic option. Many agree that the most effective approach is to combine a few changes in lifestyle with alternative treatment options.
Three Approaches to Treat Hair Loss
Three levels of approaches can be considered for treating menopause symptoms. These are categorized as: (1) Lifestyle Changes, (2) Alternative Medicine, and (3) Medications and Surgery.
Beginning with lifestyle changes, is recommended first, due to its low risk. Medications and surgery should be used only in extreme cases.
1. Lifestyle Changes that Promote Hair Growth
This primary level of treatment involves the least amount of risk, although it requires the highest degree of self-discipline. Many times, some simple changes in lifestyle can reap huge benefits in fighting hair loss and improving overall health.
Of particular importance in the battle against hair loss is a balanced diet. Vitamin D deficiency, insufficient iron or protein intake, or an extreme diet of any kind can cause hair to fall out.
Reducing caffeine and alcohol consumption, exercising regularly, and practicing stress reduction techniques such as yoga or meditation can also help promote regenerative hair growth. Taking care to not pull or twist hair in destructive ways and avoiding other physical traumas such as harsh processing techniques or excessive heat in styling will also help to protect hair.
Foods that Promote Hair Growth
- Protein. Liver, brewer's yeast, fish, eggs, beans, cottage cheese, yogurt, and tofu.
- Iron. Liver, whole grain cereals, dark green leafy vegetables, eggs, dates, and raisins.
- Vitamin D. Fortified orange juice.
- Essential fatty acids. Walnuts, canola oil, fish, and soy.
- Vitamin E. Avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil.
Making these lifestyle changes is easier said than done, especially if one is accustomed to a certain routine. In addition, while these changes will help prevent further hair loss, they do not address the problem directly at the hormonal source, so further treatment may be necessary.
Alternative medicine is one option for treating hair loss in a safe and natural way.
2. Alternative Remedies for Hair Loss
Alternative approaches involve little to no risk and can be an extremely effective means of treating hair loss. This level of approach includes several different therapies. Herbal remedies are the most prominent, though in addition women may turn to such techniques scalp massage in order to help stimulate hair follicles and regenerate hair growth. These can be valid and effective options, though most women find that herbal remedies are the easiest alternative treatment to follow, as the others require a greater time and monetary commitment. In addition, herbal remedies are the only viable option to treat the hormonal imbalance directly at its source.
In the case of herbal remedies, there are two types of herbs that can be used for treating hair loss: phytoestrogenic and hormone-regulating herbal supplements.
Phytoestrogenic herbs, such as ginseng or black cohosh, contain estrogenic components produced by plants. These herbs, at first, do treat the underlying hormonal imbalance by introducing these plant-based estrogens into the body. However, as a result of adding outside hormones, a woman's body may become less capable of producing estrogen on its own. This causes a further decrease of the body's own hormone levels.
By contrast, hormone-regulating herbs do not contain estrogen. These herbs stimulate a woman's hormone production by nourishing the endocrine glands, causing them to more efficiently produce natural hormones. This ultimately results in balancing not only estrogen, but also testosterone, another hormone that impacts hair loss and growth. Hormone-regulating herbal supplements can be considered the safest way to treat hair loss naturally as the body creates its own hormones and does not require any outside ones.
From "Nature and Health Magazine," Dr. Gloria Chacon says:
"Macafem nutrients help restore natural hormones in women. Unlike hormone drugs, which override your body's natural endocrine functioning with synthetic hormones, Macafem acts totally different in your body. It nourishes and stimulates your own natural hormone production by inducing the optimal functioning of the endocrine glands." Click on the following link to discover more about Macafem.
Lifestyle changes, combined with alternative medicines, are a highly effective treatment option for most women suffering from menopausal hair loss. However, for some women, the symptoms will be so severe that a more drastic treatment is necessary. Before beginning to take prescription medicine or getting surgery, a woman should consult a trusted medical professional to better understand the potential benefits and risks involved.
3. Medications and Surgery
Prescription medications, while effective, can carry high risk and be incredibly expensive. The most common drug therapy for treating the 34 menopause symptoms in the U.S is hormone replacement therapy. This may be a quick and strong way to combat hormonal imbalance, but unfortunately, it entails serious side effects and increases the risk of blood clots and stroke, as the following study has shown.
In 1991, The National Institute of Health (NIH) launched the Women's Health Initiative (WHI), the largest clinical trial ever undertaken in the United States. The WHI was designed to provide answers concerning possible benefits and risks associated with use of HRT. This study was canceled in July 2002, after it was observed that synthetic hormones increase risks of ovarian and breast cancer as well as heart disease, blood clots, and strokes. The findings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
Hair transplant surgeries, scalp lifts, or laser therapy are other options for serious cosmetic changes, but they entail a great deal of time, money, and are not without side effects, as is the case with any sort of surgical procedure. If symptoms are at the level of severity that a woman is still considering this final option, it is wise to speak to a healthcare professional for guidance.
These three levels of approaches are not mutually exclusive. A woman may use different approaches at different times or any combination of them depending on the duration and severity of symptoms. Today, more and more women find that dealing with menopause symptoms is best accomplished via a combination of healthy lifestyle and alternative treatments.
A Safe Way of Treating Hair Loss
Hormone-regulating herbs for treating hormonal imbalance, as seen in the second approach, are considered to be the most effective solution. Low costs and the non existence of side effects are only some of the reasons why this treatment option is preferred.
Macafem, for example, is an excellent hormone-regulating herb. It's simple: rather than putting hormones from the outside into your body artificially, Macafem stimulates your hormone glands into producing the necessary hormones naturally. This is what makes Macafem so unique. Click on the following link if you want to learn more about Macafem.
- Beoy, L.A. , Woei, W.J. & Hay, Y.K. (2010). Effects of Tocotrienol Supplementation on Hair Growth in Human Volunteers. Tropical Life Sciences Research, 21(2), 91-99. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3819075/
- National Health Service UK. (2015). Women and hair loss: coping tips. Retrieved April 14, 2016, from http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/hairloss/pages/womenandhairloss.aspx
- National Institutes of Health. (2014). Female pattern baldness: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Retrieved April 14, 2016, 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
- Rasheed, H. et al. (2013). Serum ferritin and vitamin D in female hair loss: do they play a role? Skin pharmacology and physiology, 26(2), 101-107. doi: 10.1159/000346698
- Riedel-Baima, B. & Riedel, A. (2008). Female pattern baldness may be triggered by low oestrogen to androgen ratio. Endocrine regulations, 42(1), 13-16. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18333699