Menopause – how Permanence can help

Unwanted hair will have different characteristics for every woman. On the face it will vary from a few hairs on the chin, light growth on the upper lip through to heavy beard-like growth. Menopause is inextricably linked with unwanted hair growth because both are caused by the same hormonal changes. Some medications, including hormone replacement products, may also contribute to a degree of facial and body hair.

The key hormone controlling the type of hair you grow, either fine peach-fuzz (vellus) or thick, dark (terminal) hair is an androgen called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Higher DHT levels cause hair to convert from growing vellus hair to terminal hair production. During your reproductive years, the higher relative levels of oestrogen keep production of DHT low. However, as menopause sets in and oestrogen levels drop, DHT increases.

It is at this point that you may begin to see frustratingly wiry hairs on the face and outbreaks of male-pattern body hair. Unfortunately, once a hair follicle converts from growing vellus to terminal hair there is no going back and the only solution is to permanently kill the follicle. Plucking, waxing and laser can only remove the hair stem and, in the case of laser, do some damage to the bulb from which it grows, but in each case the hair will recover and eventually grow back.

The galvanic multi-probe electrolysis method used by Permanence is guaranteed to kill terminal hairs at the bulb, destroy the bulge from which it regenerates, and prevent regrowth. This is a guarantee we back in writing. The electrology equipment used by Permanence has been custom-designed for our clinic. It is fast, minimises pain and is safe. The fine control unique to our machines means minimal discomfort during the procedure and reduced recovery time for your skin.

Our therapists can put together a treatment plan that will see your beauty and confidence restored and banish this most visible sign of menopause permanently.

Menopause – in detail

Your hair doesn’t feel as bouncy or full as it once did, you find yourself relying on your eyebrow pencil to fill out your brows, and then you find hairs growing on your chin. What is going on here!

It’s bad enough that hot flushes and mood swings can turn your life upside down, but menopause can also lead to some serious changes in your hair. Hair on your head can start thinning and, rubbing salt into that wound, hair can start sprouting in all sorts of odd places.

According to the North American Menopause Society, thinning hair happens to half of all women by age 50 while 15 percent of women encounter hair growing on their chin, upper lip, or cheeks once menopause sets in.

The culprit in all these changes is oestrogen and androgen (male type sex hormone) levels. Levels of both hormones go down during menopause but at different rates. Oestrogen levels drop severely while androgen levels taper off slowly. As a result, the ratio of oestrogen to androgen changes dramatically at the start of menopause before eventually reaching a new steady state.

Definition

Officially, menopause is reached when you have not had a menstrual period for 12 consecutive months indicating permanent cessation of menstruation. The average age for reaching menopause is 51.

Symptoms of transition

Every woman’s experience of transition into menopause is slightly different but the most common symptoms are:

Irregular periods – Leading up to menopause hormones hover around the tipping point of being able to instigate a menstrual cycle or not resulting in periods becoming more and more irregular before ceasing altogether. Associated with this may be unusually light or heavy periods as the cycle itself is sped up or slowed down.

Hot Flushes – These occur when a part of the brain called the hypothalamus, which regulates body temperature, is tricked into believing the body is too hot. To cool the body down it dilates blood vessels near the surface of the skin and increases blood flow. You will feel a rapid increase in heart rate, a reddening of the face and neck followed by a cold chill as the body realises its mistake.

Difficulty sleeping – Melatonin is the hormone responsible for regulating sleep cycles but it also regulates the start and length of your menstrual cycle. Lower oestrogen levels have the flow-on effect of lower melatonin production which, in turn, disrupts regulation of sleep.

Vaginal dryness – This is cause by a thinning and lower elasticity of the vaginal wall. Again, this is due to lower oestrogen levels. Associated with this may be pain during intercourse.

Hirsutism – Defined as male pattern hair growth in women and ovarian hyperthecosis in menopausal women. This can vary from inconsequential to severe depending on your body’s androgen sensitivity.

Varying sex drive – As the balance between oestrogen and androgen changes, sex drive may increase before settling to a lower level. Again, the extent of this is related to your body’s androgen sensitivity.

Treatment

Several prescription hormone therapies are available to help relieve menopause-related symptoms and decrease the long-term risk of heart disease and osteoporosis across the menopause transition and beyond.

• Oestrogen hormone therapy has been widely studied and used for more than 50 years by millions of women. A variety of oestrogen types, delivery systems, and dosage strengths give you a better chance of finding out which option is best for you. Oestrogen-only therapy is usually only taken by women who have had a hysterectomy now days.

• Progestogen, another hormone, is sometimes used alone during menopause transition to treat symptoms such as hot flushes or to manage abnormal uterine bleeding. There are various progestogen options, and they allow tailoring to each woman’s needs.

• Combined estrogen-progestogen therapy (EPT) with various dosing schedules can also be used for menopause-related symptoms. These regimens can involve taking oestrogen and progestogen separately or through combination EPT products.