As this subject is a hot topic that will affect all women in one way or another in their lives, I felt my guidance appropriate. Since the lockdowns, many people are achieving a healthier work and life balance as many women are taking charge of their medical and mental health and looking for answers their GP’s are not always able to provide.
While symptoms such as fatigue, hot flushes, weight gain, poor memory, sleep issues and period changes may be tolerable to many women (lucky things), this is not always the case, mainly hair loss. It particularly riles me that anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications are prescribed too flippantly and a consideration that a 40-year-old could be entering into the peri-menopause! I plan to discuss the most two most relevant hair loss conditions triggered by the hormone changes here.
Hair loss in the menopause
- Women often consult me over concerns their hair density in the upper region is thinning. This doesn’t have to be accompanied by hair shedding, but it is enormously upsetting with some ladies stating they feel “less of a woman” because of their changing appearance. This hair loss condition is a permanent change, and I explain that the density that used to be will not ever fully return but can at least be halted. This condition is called Androgen Dependant Alopecia, a genetically inherited, hormone change triggered condition otherwise known as Female Pattern Thinning. I can treat this condition well, stopping the progression and improving the density in most cases.
- Hair Shedding The second complaint that women of all ages can experience is Telogen Effluvium, a condition that causes hair to fall out. It is noticeable in the shower, during brushing, or on the pillow (some women notice the hoover is more clogged up with hair suddenly). It’s very distressing; however, this is a temporary type of hair loss and will usually resolve entirely with the correct diagnosis, advice and treatment. The overall density changes, and it shows around the frontal-temporal region as shown in the picture. Some GP’s overlook the need to carry out blood tests on peri or post-menopausal women, simply and incorrectly attributing the issue down to hormones. I can advise and guide if tests are required and set up privately where necessary.
Professional and experienced GP who can help:
My colleague Dr Corinne Fletcher and I have referred patients to and from each other for years, and it is an enormous support to menopausal women. She offers a fantastic service online; therefore, in today’s busy world can discuss your most personal concerns from the comfort of your own home. Dr Fletcher and I can offer a complete package that really gets to the root of the problem (pun intended). Do have a look at her site here.
What does Corinne say about menopause and hair loss?
I am a GP and currently work as a menopause specialist with Dr Naomi Potter at the Menopause Care Clinic. This is an online private menopause service set up by Dr Potter to address the often unmet needs of women in peri-menopause and menopause.
There are many symptoms of peri-menopause and menopause because we have oestrogen receptors on almost all of our cells throughout our bodies. When oestrogen levels start to fall during this time symptoms can occur. Hormones can also fluctuate wildly during the peri-menopause as the ovaries become more erratic.
Common symptoms that women present to me include: mood changes, including anxiety and flat low moods; irritability; memory disturbance, women can worry that they are developing dementia; concentration difficulties; weight gain; muscle and joint pains; migraine; palpitations; hot flushes and night sweats; fatigue; disturbed sleep; social withdrawal, not wanting to see or speak to friends; skin changes, including the skin, looking older and rashes; new allergy symptoms. Women describe feeling that they have lost themselves somewhere and don’t recognise themselves anymore.
Hair symptoms are often the reason women book to see me. They can be the last straw, even when women have been tolerating their other symptoms, sometimes for years. Hair thinning and hair loss can cause significant distress to women (and men). It contributes to the low self-esteem and low confidence they describe during their consultations.
I have worked with Shuna for years now and know that she offers a professional, evidence-based and compassionate service that is much appreciated by her clients. She takes the time to explore their concerns and offers advice and treatments that are practical, realistic and effective.
Maybe this article has given you a brief insight and perhaps stuck a chord with your hair concerns; I am here to help when you are ready.