Regarding apolecia or thinning hair in women it can be seen in every age group and can be caused by many different factors.
There are several viable treatment options for the most common hair loss disorders affecting patients of either gender. In this article I will narrow the focus to hair loss experienced by women.
As a man, I know how debilitating hair loss can be. However, I cannot begin to imagine what it must be like to be a woman losing her hair. The emotional torment and sense of helplessness must be profoundly wrenching. Society is also less tolerant of female hair loss. A woman’s hair is described as her glory. It is a mark of pride, and also a source of attraction. Many, if not most, women invest a share of their identity in their hair. Thus, when hair loss strikes it can be devastating indeed.
The treatment of female pattern hair loss has historically be relegated to wigs as covering devices and/or lotions and potions which almost invariably failed to accomplish anything useful. In the past several decades the options have improved.
Today, there are basically three approaches to treating female hair loss. The first is covering/camouflage type devices. These include rather sophisticated hair pieces and scalp dyes to reduce the contrast between hair and scalp. The second option is surgical. Here, as with men, sections of hair bearing tissue are repositioned into areas of the scalp where hair has been lost. Unlike men, transplant surgery for women is often less than viable. This is because the area of hair loss in a woman may extend into the back of the scalp where thick hair is otherwise available for men suffering from pattern hair loss.
The third option involves medicinal treatment. The pharmaceutical based options indicated for use by women include spironalactone, hormone therapy and minoxidil.
Spironolactone, brand name Aldactone, is in a class of drugs called potassium-sparing diuretics (often called water pills). Spironolactone is typically used to reduce fluid in your body without causing the loss of potassium. It is also used to treat potassium deficiency, high blood pressure (hypertension), swelling (edema), and a hormonal disorder called hyperaldosteronism.
Spironolactone acts as an anti-androgen in two ways. First, it slows down the production of androgens in the adrenal glands and ovaries. Second, it blocks the action of androgens in part by preventing dihydrotestosterone (DHT) from binding to its androgenetic receptor.
Estrogen and progesterone pills and creams may be an effective treatment for women with androgenetic alopecia who are going through menopause or whose estrogen and/or progesterone are lacking for other reasons.
Some women have shown a positive response to the use of topical minoxidil. Results from a recent clinical study of women ages 18 to 45 years with mild to moderate degrees of hair loss report that after using minoxidil for eight months, only 19% of users had modest regrowth and 40% had minimal regrowth. However, negative side effects are also rather common. These include burning or irritation of the eyes, itching, redness or irritation in the treated scalp, as well as unwanted hair growth elsewhere on the body. Users should stop treatment and seek medical attention right away if they experience the severe side effects: Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); chest pain; dizziness; fainting; fast heartbeat; sudden, unexplained weight gain; swollen hands or feet. Product labeling recommendations suggest that women only use the 2% concentration of minoxidil, not 5%, because the FDA has not approved use of the higher concentration in women.
An exciting area of research suggests that non-drug based compositions may offer greater efficacy in women than drug-based therapy – with the added benefit of being free from negative side effect. One is cautioned to limit the use of such compositions to those which have undergone empirically-tested and peer-review validated scientific research.
In our next installment we will address naturally-based substances that offer promise against pattern hair loss
As well you may want to take a look at another article called hair loss treatment for women.
Guest Author: Dr. Geno Marcovici – Hair Genesis V