Menopause is a season of transition within the female body. A coveted perk of menopause is no longer having the monthly, but this perk comes at a cost. Common and known menopause symptoms include hot flashes, forgetfulness, fatigue, weight gain, moodiness, and a decreased sex drive. Less known effects include how menopause affects the skin and hair. During this time of hormonal transition, the body needs and requires proper nutrition, antioxidants from our food, sleep, exercise, and meditation.
It is common for peri-menopausal and menopausal women to experience hair loss. This hair loss can be due to androgenetic alopecia and to telogen effluvium. As estrogen levels decrease, testosterone levels are unopposed. Androgenetic alopecia is due to hair follicles becoming more sensitive to testosterone. Telogen effluvium occurs due to the hormonal shift and the internal stress that one can experience with menopause. How can hair loss be combated? Again, the basics must be followed: adequate nutrition, sleep, regular exercise, and meditation. Topical Rogaine helps to maintain hair follicles in their growing phase. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a technique utilizes our own growth factors which are produced by platelets. These growth factors provide nutrients to the hair follicles and promote hair regrowth. Low-level laser light has also shown promising results.
As hair loss occurs on the scalp, menopausal women may experience increased facial hair. It is common for coarse hairs to develop on the chin, cheeks, and neck. The gold standard for treating unwanted hair is laser hair removal. Laser hair removal is effective for dark hairs. Gray, blonde, and red hairs are not responsive to laser hair removal. The target of the laser is pigment within the hair follicle. Light colored hairs lack this pigment and therefore, the laser does not have a target. Other options include Vaniqa, a cream applied twice a day, waxing, and threading. Laser hair removal offers the benefit of minimizing ingrown hairs that can cause itchy bumps and unwanted pigmentation.
Many women undergoing menopause complain that deodorant may lose its effectiveness in controlling sweating and underarm odor. This may be treated with Botox injections to the underarms.
With decreasing levels of estrogen, the skin loses elastin, collagen, and its ability to retain moisture. Dry skin is often experienced on the trunk and extremities. To offset dryness, short luke-warm showers with a moisturizing soap is helpful. Immediately after a shower, moisturize with a thick lotion all over the body. Facial volume loss is due to decreased skin collagen and elastin. Unwanted wrinkles of the forehead can be treated with neurotoxins such as Botox, Dysport, or Xeomin. Volume loss of the lower face can be treated with fillers such as Juvederm, Voluma, Restylane, Radiesse, and Sculptra. Pelleve is an excellent therapy which uses radio frequency to rebuild your own collagen on the face and neck.
Hormonal acne is a hallmark of menopause and usually occurs along the jawline and lower cheeks and can be resistant to therapy. An aggressive and consistent regimen consisting of a retinol/retinoid, topical antibiotics, chemical peels, and laser rejuvenation may be required.
With menopause, excess fat develops around the stomach. It is important to maintain muscle tone with weight training, pilates, and yoga. Adequate muscle tone, helps with stimulating the metabolism. As the body transitions through menopause, bones lose their density making strong muscle tone even more important. Fat will tend to collect around the stomach, back, hips, and thighs. Strength training helps to reduce unwanted fat. Excess fat of the neck, commonly known as the double chin, can be combated with Kybella. Kybella is an injectable deoxycholic acid used to permanently remove this resistant fat. Body contouring with SculpSure has entered the market within the past year. It is a light-based therapy that permanently destroys fat in the treatment area with the use of heat. Each treatment session is 25 minutes. SculpSure effectively reduces fat of the stomach, love handles, back roll, and thighs.
Vaginal dryness contributes to painful intercourse and overall vaginal discomfort. These symptoms can be alleviated with daily lubricants such as Pre-Seed, Replens, or Astroglide. For severe symptoms, hormone replacement may be required. This is a very important discussion that should be had with your physician. Laser treatment with MonaLisa Touch helps to restore collagen that is lost from the vaginal walls during menopause. By restoring vaginal collagen, the symptoms of painful intercourse and vaginal dryness improves. Vaginal restoration with this laser also helps to reduce urinary incontinence.
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