The Hairy Truth about Menopause
If you’re like many women, you’re not just dealing with hot flashes and night sweats. There are many more new and unwelcome surprises at mid-life.
You are not alone! This is not in your head! You’re not crazy, these things are really happening to you and they happen because your body is experiencing massive hormonal shifts. These are similar to what you experienced in your teen years. Remember the hormonal roller coaster and how jarring it was to see your body change, acne appear, mood changes, more interest in sex and lots more?
At midlife, you’re also undergoing sort of a reverse hormonal roller coaster, but fear not, there’s a lot that can be done if these changes are overwhelming you or making your life miserable.
You may have noticed
A Racing Heart – Even without a hot flash, your heart might race; your ears might pound or pulsate. This can be disconcerting and frightening; discussing this with your provider can be reassuring and helpful.
Tender Breasts – During menopause, your estrogen levels rise and fall, which can lead to sore and enlarged breasts and the feeling that you’re going to get your period.
Unwanted Hair –Menopause hits with a double whammy in the hair department, with coarse hairs appearing on the chin and upper lip. It feels like a new crop sprouts overnight. For unwanted facial hair, electrolysis, laser, waxing and threading can help. There are also medications, such as Vaniqa that can slow down the regrowth of hair after removal.
Hair Loss – It’s not your imagination. You’re eyebrows and eyelashes are shorter and thinner. You may have also noticed a little thinning of the hair on your head and/or loss of hair around the temples. This can be worse if you’re a vegan or vegetarian and not taking vitamin supplements.
There are over the counter and prescription serums to help lashes and eyebrows grow, such as Latisse. For hair loss on your head, do ask your health care provider to check your Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D levels and consider over the counter treatments that contain the active ingredient Minoxidil.
Dry Skin – As estrogen levels drop, collagen levels drop leading to more wrinkles and dryer skin. You’re also more prone to developing dark patches of skin from sun exposure. Do moisturize regularly and use a sunscreen. Be kind to yourself with at home facials, masks and if you can afford it, see a dermatologist for other treatment options, because you can reverse some of these issues with various prescription medications.
Vaginal Dryness – Lowered estrogen levels can make things feel like a desert down there! To combat this, use plenty of lubricant when engaging in sexual activity. You may also want to talk with your health care provider about vaginal estrogen which helps restore the healthy bacteria, known as lactobacilli, which protects against odor and infection.
Read more about all things related to midlife and menopause in my award-winning book The Hot Guide to a Cool Sexy Menopause
P.S. I donate all of the proceeds from the sale of the book to FAME Hospital and Clinic in Tanzania, where I volunteer.