It happened to me. I used to chuckle at the older women in my office as they fanned themselves and stripped off their cardigans only to put them back on after a few minutes. I listened to them complain about their weight gain. I noticed the new hairstyle trending was going short and gray. Then it happened to me. I have been through adolescence and puberty, have given birth to two children, and survived the stress of a divorce. I really thought I had the hormonal thing under control until I reached age 45. That’s when it happened to me.
Menopause. From the Greek word “pausis” and the root (men) “month” literally translated means the “end of monthly cycles.” My co-workers had all the classic symptoms: hot flashes, weight gain, dry skin, mood swings, lifeless hair and brittle nails. What they did not mention was the hair loss.
My hair had issues throughout the previous hormonal changes. However, this was different. These changes that occurred were somewhat surprising. Not so much the gray — I noticed that after the birth of my first child at the age of 28, which was the same age that my mother’s coal black tresses turned to snow white. Hair color was the simple solution. Most shocking was that my hair, which was stick straight throughout my entire life, began to curl on its own. I realized the only solution for this “new hair” was to go au naturel. The less I fought it the better it was. Friends and acquaintances were stunned at the sight of my new coiffure. More importantly, it was during this time I felt an unusually large amount of hair in my hands after shampooing. The need to unclog my shower drain was ever-prevalent. The curls somewhat camouflaged the thinning, dull, dry, lifeless strand,s but this was a problem. This was an unnerving problem that also resulted in thinning eyebrows and eyelashes, which lead to a doctor’s visit.
Hair loss in women can be the symptom of other underlying medical conditions. Testing involves a routine blood test including hormone and thyroid levels. The good news is that when hair loss is part of normal hormonal changes and aging, it is treatable. I was relieved to discover this thing happening to me was menopause. In a few years — I am 52 now — I can look back and laugh with the younger girls in the office and tell them how it happened to me.