About two years ago, I was confronted by the Menopause symptom that shattered my Pollyanna outlook forever. My hair seemed to be thinning at an alarming rate. There was no consoling me when I saw the amount of hair in my brush or around the shower drain each day. So overwhelming was my anxiety over this development, that upon meeting a high-powered, intelligent female friend of my brother’s for the first time, I forgot my social graces completely. I answered her innocuous question "What did you do today?" with a full-blown Menopausal Tourette’s performance. (we’ll address Menopausal Tourettes at greater length in a later blog entry.) "I went to my hairdresser because I’m losing all my hair," I blurted. "Oh god, me too," she gasped. We began an earnest discussion and continued it via email. Our cyberspace conversation was joined by her sister. Here is an excerpt:
Aug. 14, 2006, at 8:15 AM
Lynette and Barbara,
Hope all is well with you both.
Just saw a segment on hair loss. This is not good! It can be hereditary (Barbara, in our case Aunt Edna is not a good sign!), indicator of medical problems (thyroid), a particular disease, menopause, and 10 other things.
They recommend seeing a dermatologist to find out your particular problem, but the real solutions are injections, plugs, Minoxidil (sp?)….or get a wig.
Aug. 14, 2006 at 1010 am
Hi Janet (and Barbara)
I did a search on the net re: hair loss – came up with much the same. My hairdresser tells me that ALL her menopausal clients that are not on hormone replacement freak out about their hair loss. It stables out (she says) at a certain point, and then hair starts growing back, but never as thick as it once was. My girlfriend Theresa says that was true for her. I AM going to get my thyroid tested again. Also, estrogen dominance can cause hair loss, so a saliva test to check for estrogen vs progesterone in our bodies is a good thing. I doubt that I have this, since I use a natural progesterone cream and no plant estrogens, herbs, or soy. (all of which are natural estrogen replacements.) If you are using any herbs or eat lots of soy, you might want to have this checked.
Bad news with Minoxidil (aka Rogaine) it apparently does not grow nice normal hair but short little hairs that break off, giving one a peach fuzzy look – okay for balding men, not so great for women. Ugh.
I am using a natural shampoo system that was recommended on some menopause blog. Supposedly takes 2-4 months but will grow strong healthy hair. There’s a weird "thing" DST or something like that, I forget (menopause again). Anyway, this substance is secreted on the scalp as we age and it screws up the hair follicle so it can’t grow. Supposedly, this shampoo system blocks the effect of this substance and voila, hair again. (I found out about the DST one place, and read that it is blocked by the shampoo on their site, so it isn’t something the shampoo folks made up.)
My loss seems to have decreased, no big bunches of hair coming out – it’s just really thin now.
The shampoo system I’m trying is called Curetage – I got it from Curetage.com. So far no real hair growth, but my husband says my hair is looking much better. so we will see. I’ll keep you posted re: results.
Plugs and injections do not sound good to me. Wig likewise. oh well, onward.
Keep in touch.
Aug. 14, 2006 at 1253pm
RE: The Mystery of the Disappearing Hair
(A Nancy Drew thriller for menopausal girls)
I have watched with both horror and humor – humor? I think not! Well, horror, then -as my hair washes down the shower drain. It started about three years ago, and just when I think I’ll see no more pink, another batch washes away. I used to have bangs – now I just have one bang. Anyway, I read lots of lit, but outside of the obvious (babushkas), there seems to be not much to do about it.I asked my hairdresser, Pat, what she thought of "hair-in-a-can", but, of course, she pooh-poohed the idea. Sounded good to me.
I’ve started to use Nioxin again. I really think if I continued to use it for the last three years, it might have done the trick. It keeps the gook from clogging your hair shafts.
It does not pretend to grow new hair;I’m not sure anything can do that. I had my thyroid tested in December, and it’s fine. So, I’m going to blame it all on Aunt Edna, and Lynette, you can, too. She’s so nice – she won’t mind.
Well, enough nonsense. I hate the whole thing, including the vanity that I was unwilling to acknowledge that I had. We could each buy a wig (blond, brunette, red head) and trade them around each month? Oh, every man’s dream come true…
Over and out,
Stay tuned for Part Three of the Mystery of the Disappearing Hair – coming soon. (Adapted from our upcoming book "Venus Comes of Age, The Wit and Wisdom of Menopausal Goddesses".)