Menopause Thinning Hair - Complete Symptom Guide | Stella

Menopause and thinning hair


Thinning hair is common during menopause, and many of us find this a very sensitive and difficult subject to talk about. You may use your hair as a way to express yourself to the world and hair loss can be a very visible reminder of the changes going on inside your body during menopause. Understandably, hair loss can be extremely distressing. While there is no foolproof remedy, let’s take a look at what can help thinning hair during menopause.




You may notice changes to your hair during menopause. Your hair may become thinner, or you may notice other changes including a receding hairline, bald patches, or changes to the quality and texture of your hair. It may feel drier or more breakable.

You may also hear this called “female pattern hair loss” or female androgenetic alopecia. 

Many other types of hair thinning are not necessarily related to age or menopause – your healthcare provider will be able to advise on which is affecting you.

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Very likely, although this is a problem for about 10% of people even before menopause.

As you get older, thinning becomes more common. A Harvard Medical School report found that as many as two-thirds of postmenopausal women experience hair loss.

Read more about the stages of menopause.


General thinning – either all over your scalp or only in certain areas. It is most common to see thinning at the crown and front of your scalp

Your hairline changing or receding, or a widened parting due to hair loss or bald patches

Shedding – especially during brushing or hair washing

Drier, more fragile hair


Check in with your healthcare provider

Menopause is just one of many causes of thinning hair. Your healthcare provider will be able to help you determine if there is another cause. For example, thinning hair often goes hand-in-hand with anemia and thyroid conditions, both of which are treatable. Your healthcare provider may also advise seeing a dermatologist if they think other treatments may help.

Review your medications

If hair changes are affecting you, ask your healthcare provider for a medication review. Some medicines can lead to hair changes including thinning. Your healthcare provider will be able to help you to weigh the risks and benefits of each medicine in your personal circumstances.

Eat a balanced diet

A healthy diet with plenty of nutrient-rich foods is essential for hair growth.

Think about minoxidil

This medication is applied directly to the scalp and comes as either a liquid or foam. Some products are available without a prescription, but it is worth checking in with your healthcare provider before starting to ensure that this is the right option for you. If it is, you can expect to see results after three-to-six months of use. You will need to continue using minoxidil long-term to see continued effects.

Have a heart-to-heart with your hairdresser

They may be able to recommend certain cosmetic options to help disguise the thinning. These include dyes, styling, and hair products. Extensions are sometimes used but be aware that these may cause further damage to the hair due to the way they pull at the hair’s root or follicle.

Hairpieces might help

Consider trying a wig or hairpiece if it would boost your confidence. These are widely used and you can find almost every style imaginable, from appearing very natural to completely outrageous! Alopecia UK has a helpful guide on getting started.

Consider hair transplant

If less invasive treatments haven’t worked for you, you may want to think about a hair transplant. This surgical procedure involves transplanting hair follicles from areas of the scalp with thicker hair to those where you see thinning. This is only available privately at present.

Keep an eye on your mental health

Hair loss can have a big impact on your self-esteem, mood, and sex life. If you have any concerns, speak to your healthcare provider.

Can hormone therapy (HT) help?

Possibly. Some women notice an improvement in their hair after starting HT, however, there is not yet any scientific evidence that HT reverses menopausal hair thinning.

For this reason, HT is not typically prescribed for thinning hair alone. This is because of the way the risks of HT are weighed against their benefits.

HT can effectively treat many other symptoms associated with menopause, such as hot flashes, mood changes, and sleep disturbance, among others. Read more on the risks and benefits of HT.

HT is not suitable for everyone. Speak to your healthcare provider if you would like to find out more about the best treatment for you. 

Thinning hair and menopause FAQs

Hormonal changes are thought to be responsible. Estrogen may also play a role in maintaining a full head of hair. Healthcare providers are still learning about other ways in which estrogen impacts hair growth, but it seems that estrogen may have indirect effects by regulating other hormones involved in this process. Estrogen is thought to increase the amount of time hairs spend in the anagen growth phase.

Reduced estrogen levels can also have an impact on the strength and quality of hair. One study found that declining hormone levels were associated with a 25% decrease in collagen from many areas like hair, skin, and breasts.

When it comes to hair thinning it isn’t just about decreasing levels of estrogen and progesterone. Other hormonal changes also happen at menopause, such as a shift in the balance of androgens. These are sometimes misleadingly referred to as ‘male hormones’ although they are present in women too, although at different levels. 

At menopause, the decline in estrogen and progesterone levels can make the activity of androgens more prominent. This leads to several changes including the growth of unwanted facial hair. Higher androgens can also cause a reduction in a hair’s active growth phase, and this is thought to contribute to thinning.

Some people without raised androgens still experience menopausal hair thinning. This suggests that there are more complex mechanisms at play, and the debate is ongoing.

There is definitely a genetic component. Hair thinning is thought to be more likely if you have certain genes, which can be inherited from either parent.

Where there is a strong family history, it is common to see earlier and faster female hair loss.

Thinning and hair loss tend to continue over time, although how quickly this happens is impossible to predict. However, it is rare for women to go completely bald due to the different ways in which hair follicles are affected.

Also, hair loss caused by menopause should not affect your eyebrows or eyelashes.

Speak to your healthcare provider if thinning hair is causing you problems. It is a common problem and one which can have a real impact on your self-image and mental health.

Likewise, seek medical advice if you notice:

  • Your hair changes have happened suddenly
  • Your hair changes are severe
  • You also notice any skin changes – especially any inflammation, blisters, scales, or scarring on your scalp
  • Any loss of eyebrows or eyelashes
  • That your hair loss coincides with any other illness or symptoms
  • Any other worries or concerns


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What are the 34 symptoms of menopause? Read more

What are the signs of perimenopause? Read more

The stages of menopause. Read more

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