How does Perimenopause affect Your Hair?

Your hair changes through perimenopause, mostly due to a shift in your sex hormones, especially estrogen and progesterone. Around your mid 40s you may start to experience thinning hair, hair that falls out, greying, frizzing or dry hair. Estrogen helps to promote hair growth and gives it its fullness, while progesterone supports hair follicles. But your sex hormones are not the only reason you may be experiencing hair changes through perimenopause. 

The loss of estrogen and progesterone through perimenopause plays a key role when it comes to the health of your hair, but did you know there are other factors that can affect it too?. Other factors (besides your sex hormones) that affect your hair health during perimenopause include: 

  • Low Iron
  •  STRESS!!!
  • Poor diet/poor digestion
  • Medications
  • Medical conditions
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Thyroid health
  • Genetics

It can be a very discouraging and emotional time for some women struggling with hair changes or loss during perimenopause, especially if you always had thin hair to start with, but there are simple things you can do to support the health of your body and ultimately your hair. In this blog post you will get some easy tips and recommendations to not only help support your health heading into menopause, but to also get some of your hair’s body and shine back. I will also talk about your hair health from a traditional Chinese medicine perspective. As always, we are not medical doctors, so if you are losing your hair, feel tired constantly or are not feeling well, please seek treatment from a medical health practitioner to ensure that nothing more is going on.

How can you revive your perimenopausal hair - a conversation

Recently I had a wonderful conversation with Alison Bladh, nutritional therapist, who offered great information about how to revive your Menopausal Hair! Alison says there are many factors that can lead to the thinning or loss of hair through perimenopause, but one factor is “our decline in estrogen which affects our keratin and keratin is a protein that forms the hair…hair becomes thinner.”

Another factor that Alison spoke of was heavy periods (which is very common during perimenopause) leading to an iron deficiency. Iron is a key nutrient for our hair and body and should be checked via a blood test with your health practitioner or doctor before supplementing. Foods that supply iron for us include red meat, organ meat, fish, spinach, lentils, oats and tofu. Eating a whole foods diet that is full of nutrients is very important for your hair health, but so is your ability to manage stress in your life. Alison notes that “stress affects our hair follicles and has an affect on hair growth, due to the stress hormone cortisol” and “learning to manage stress is key.”

Check out the video of our chat below or listen to the MP3.

Revive your menopausal hair

In this video Alison and I discuss the wonderful changes that happen to us going through menopause that includes the changes in our hair. 

Play Video

Revive your Menopausal Hair

Listen to the audio version of our conversation
To listen to the MP3
Click Here
Alison Bladh, nutritional therapist

How does traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) look at Your hair health?

The kidneys’ store your essence or Jing, needed for all of the activities of the body. It supports your respiration and hearing, growth and reproduction. Your kidney essence generates blood and bone marrow to nourish your bones and teeth,  dominates the water in your body and governs your qi (energy). It is the root of your life from the perspective of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). 

During perimenopause your Jing or essence begins to decline, naturally, as it diverts your monthly bleeding to other parts of your body for support. You will also have a decline of your yin, the body fluids that keep moisture within your tissue, skin, eyes, vagina and hair. Loss of essence can leave us susceptible to osteoporosis and loss of teeth as we get older. In TCM your kidney essence is reflected in your head hair, so the loss of essence through menopause can leave it limp, sparse, greying or falling out. But not to fear I have listed 5 ways you can support your kidneys and ultimately your hair health below!

5 ways to support your (TCM) kidneys

  1. Eat a whole foods diet filled with lots of colour, especially dark colour such as eggplant, dark leafy vegetables, black sesame seeds, kidney beans, lentils, figs, dark berries
  2. Avoid eating too much spice or foods that are cold such as chilis or hot peppers and ice cream
  3. Keep your feet warm through the cold seasons – if you’re standing or walking on a cold ground, this can bring cold into the body
  4. STRESS MANAGEMENT – yes that is also a thing in TCM! It can deplete the body of valuable nutrients and disrupt your digestion
  5. Rest and replenish – adding in some meditation, mindful walking, Tai Chi, Qi Gong or gentle Yoga can help to ground and nourish your yin, while supporting the energy of your kidneys

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About the Author
Picture of Cindy Willems

Cindy Willems

Cindy is the owner/creator of My Fit Over 50. She is a registered acupuncturist, certified Pilates instructor, holistic nutritionist and educator. She takes a holistic approach to achieving whole body health and she believes that it is important to keep challenging the body and mind safely and efficiently as we age. Cindy also has a busy clinic called Women's Health Centre in Toronto, Ontario.