Hormonal hair loss can throw us right off-kilter, challenging our conceptions of femininity, sexuality and self. There are psychological and physical benefits to keeping hold of our hair for longer, so isn’t it time we started to take control and cast off the idea that hair loss is somehow a predefined factor of ageing?
Here’s what makes hair a crucial part of our identity, and how you can begin taking steps towards rebalancing your hormones and reclaiming your future:
Why is hair so important to us?
Our hair is integral to our health and feelings of overall wellbeing. We’re likely to experience both psychological and physical symptoms should menopause start to deprive us of it.
We’re all so much more than just our looks. But, with something like hair – that is both personal and public simultaneously – it becomes intrinsically linked to our identity and feelings of femininity. For better or worse, luscious locks have long been associated with femininity and cutting them short a symbol of female empowerment.
Hair loss can quickly diminish self-esteem, which will in turn impact our existing relationships and our capacity to form new ones. It can play havoc with our libido, making us feel less attractive, even if others don’t agree. Hair is also a natural barrier against contaminants, so our risk of picking up infections is increased.
Why does menopause cause hair loss?
Two important sex hormones, oestrogens and testosterone are involved in either promoting the growth or the loss of hair. And of course, we also need to consider thyroid function. When thyroid is low (hypothyroidism) our hair may lose its shine and full-bodied lustrous looks, together with diffused hair loss. With excessive thyroid function (hyperthyroidism) we also get hair loss. It is important for menopausal women to get their thyroid tested – nearly as many as 25 per cent of perimenopausal women suffer from some form of thyroid problem. And importantly, every one in eight women between the ages of 35 and 65, and one in five women over the age of 65 have some form of thyroid disease.
Both oestrogens and testosterone levels decline with age, as do all steroid hormones. In women, oestrogens decline more rapidly than testosterone, provoking an imbalance within these important ratios – something that is known as an ‘androgen dominance’ scenario. The proportional imbalance in the ratio of testosterone to oestrogens can cause hair loss, and again, as in thyroid issues, brittle and thinning hair. What’s even worse…you may see the beginnings of hair growing on your upper lip and other undesirable places. This age range can turn into a perfect storm of hair loss drivers, with factors like stress, illness, cosmetics and medication all combining to deprive you of your beloved locks.
How can this be offset with restorative medicine?
But, it doesn’t have to be like this. With functional/restorative medicine, you can naturally re-tune your unique hormonal melody and boost your levels back to a pre-menopause high-water mark. You can re-awaken your youthful self (but, this time a little wiser) and keep hold of your hair for good.
- Stress – Stress can (quite literally) leave you pulling your hair out. A hormonal imbalance can cause mood swings, anxiety and depression. But, with mindfulness, a few little indulgences (think: hot bath with scented candles) and some light yoga or tai chi, you can take ownership of your stress and use the energy to your advantage.
- Exercise – Exercise is another factor that feeds into your overall hormonal balance. When this is in tune, you feel revitalised. It doesn’t need to be strenuous and you can incorporate it into your social calendar. Try joining a friendly gym, going for a group walk or a long bike ride in the country.
- Diet – Possibly your strongest defence against hair loss; a balanced, low-carb, low-glycemic diet without trans fats is just what the doctor ordered. Make healthy fats (olive, coconut, sesame oil, and even butter), green tea, essential fatty acids and high-quality vitamin B6 supplements staples of your everyday diet, and you can’t go far wrong. The following supplements have also been found to be helpful in maintaining healthy hair: biotin, nettles, indole-3-carbinol, rosemary, saw palmetto.
- Hydration – Up to 60% of the adult body is water. That’s why hydration plays a role in almost all of your body’s systems. From helping to reduce stress to enhancing your exercise regime, staying properly hydrated will augment all of your other hair loss prevention efforts.
- Beauty – Until you’ve found your natural balance once again, you’ll need to look after the hair that you have left. This means taking a temporary holiday from heat tools like straighteners and curlers, extensions and synthetic hair dyes and shampoo.
Bioidentical hormone restorative therapy
Experts in restorative medicine rely on bioidentical hormone restorative therapy as a safe and long-term way of tuning your hormonal balance back to perfection. Using wholly natural compounds that are effective and finely balanced (unlike the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach of synthetic hormones) you can keep your hair for many years to come.
High-quality supplements prescribed to combat hair loss include:
|Saw palmetto||A herb that helps block out DHT, a key factor in the ageing process.|
|Adaptogenic||A herb category that helps lower stress, balance hormones and reduces cortisol (the ageing hormone). Look out for herbs like ashwagandha and Rhodiola.|
|Pumpkin seed oil||Oil that’s choc-full of zinc – proven to prevent hair loss. An expert in restorative medicine may choose to put you straight on high-quality zinc supplements.|
|B-complex vitamins||Thicken your hair naturally with biotin and support adrenal gland health with vitamin B5.|
|Omega 3||Fatty acid reduces inflammation and assists in achieving natural hormonal balance.|
Hair loss doesn’t need to define you – it isn’t even an inevitability! With some healthy dietary and lifestyle choices, combined with high-quality bioidentical hormone supplementation, you can keep hold of your hair and rejuvenate your body’s systems.
Find out how to get started, and keep hold of one of the things that makes you the woman that you are.