Preventing and Treating Hair Loss in Women

Hair loss is very real and problematic. But so far the attention has been going to the men. In regards to how hair loss affects them in what way. It is time we gave equal attention to the women.

The term used for hair loss that affects both men and women is “Androgenic Alopecia”. But what we confuse is that hair loss in women is a lot different than it is for men.

Women don’t go bald as men do. But they lose hair/start losing hair at one point in life. So here we will be highlighting female pattern hair loss, the causes, and its treatments.

Causes of hair loss in women

Men and women are born with both types of hormones. Major changes come when the gender gene kicks in, and later at a stage of puberty. But even then, men have more testosterone and very little estrogen. And women have more estrogen with very little testosterone. The secondary hormones are in a negligible amount.

Majority of the male population is prone to hair loss at some point. This can be either partial or complete loss of hair. For women, this process is a lot different. They do not go bald, but rather have hair thinning only. This phase comes in their late 40s.

Hair loss prevention in women is not as complicated as we think. The first step is identifying the causes. Next comes to the remedial measures and treatments for those problems.  We lose an average of 80-100 hair a day. But if the hair loss is abnormally frequent, then it needs to be checked.

As we mentioned earlier, women are least likely to bald. Doctors have categorized female pattern hair loss into three types.

Type 1 is minor hair thinning in the temple areas of the head.

Type 2 is the hair split becoming wider with more thinning in the surrounding areas.

Type 3 is receding hairline, and your scalp becomes more visible because of spreading hair loss.

Is Female Pattern Hair Loss Genetic?

It is an undeniable fact that hair loss is genetic. It is passed down from parent to children. Thus women are likely to inherit the hair loss gene if the parents or grandparents had it.

If it is genetic then hair loss prevention is almost impossible.

Causes of Female Alopecia

There is always more than one reason for everything. In this case, here are the most common reasons

  1. 1. Genetics/Hereditary
  1. Hormonal Imbalance
  1. Underlying endocrine conditions
  1. Hormone-secreting cyst/s or tumor/s
  1. Hyper/Hypothyroidism 
  1. DHT production in women after childbirth and during menopause.

 

Can Women in their 20s have Female Alopecia? 

So far, all cases of female alopecia involved women above the age of 40. It is very rare for it to affect those under 30 years. But then again, there are multiple reasons and possibilities for anything.

Presence of excess male hormones called androgens causes hair loss in men. And the same can happen to women, except it is hair thinning.

How is it Diagnosed?

The most obvious sign of female alopecia is abnormal hair fall. This is when you go see a dermatologist. They will examine your scalp and check for all possibilities of hair loss.

Sometimes the reason can be an underlying condition. And the indication of that problem is hair fall. For further confirmation, doctors will take a blood test to see what else is in the body.

Treatments for Female Alopecia

While complete hair loss prevention is not possible, there are ways to control and stop the excess hair fall. Thus preventing the “balding effect”.

Early treatment is strongly advised, as it can help prevent future hair loss. Your treatment plan will likely consist of one or more medications approved to treat hair loss.

Minoxidil for Hair Loss Prevention

Minoxidil is an FDA approved the medication for treating hair loss. It is available in 5% concentration for women. This is the most effective amount that will help grow back hair.

The application is simple; use it once a day and every day. Apply minoxidil on the affected areas where hair is thin. Make sure you apply on the scalp. Gently massage it in, and repeat this every day.

This will take about 30-60 days before you see any results. Also, you need to be consistent and punctual with the treatment. If you stop or discontinue, then progress will reverse.

Dutasteride and Finasteride

Dutasteride (Avodart) and Finasteride (Propecia) are FDA approved hair loss treatments for men. They’re not officially approved for women, but some doctors do suggest these for female alopecia.

Clinical trials have mixed results. But overall they are efficient in helping women regrow hair.

Other Treatment Options

Iron deficiency is known to contribute to hair loss. Doctors will prescribe an iron supplement and recommend iron-rich foods. For now, there is no evidence that directly links iron to hair growth. But it improves blood circulation and makes red blood cells carry more nutrients and minerals.

Faster supply of more nutrients for hair follicles does mean better and effective growth. Other supplements like folic acid and biotin also make hair thicker.

Another study showed that women grew thicker hair after taking omega-3, omega-6 fatty acids, and antioxidants. However, it’s best to ask your doctor first and make an informed decision.

Laser combs and helmets are FDA-approved methods of treatment for hair loss. It uses light energy to stimulate hair growth.

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy can also be beneficial. This involves drawing your blood, spinning it down. Then injecting your own platelets back into your scalp to stimulate hair growth.

If you dye your hair, stop doing that. Dyes are ammonia based products which are harmful to your hair and skin. Ammonia is a form of waste product forms our body. When re-exposed, it causes premature graying, pigment loss in hair and dryness.

Can Female Pattern Baldness be prevented?

In some cases hair loss prevention is unavoidable. You can’t stop female alopecia, but you can protect your hair from breakage and loss. By being careful with your diet, hair care routine and checkups in case of abnormal hair loss.

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Jim Palmer in Columbiana, United States
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