Hair….we lose where we want it and grow it where we don’t. Hair dramatically impacts your look. For some, bald is beautiful; but for others, especially women….it can be devastating. While men often expect to experience some degree of balding, women actually make up 40 percent of American hair loss sufferers. Unfortunately, while people discuss male pattern baldness all the time, society has forced women to suffer in silence! Many physicians don’t treat thinning hair in women at all….they look at it as just part of the aging process. But according to the American Hair Loss Association, for some women, the psychological damage caused by hair loss and feeling unattractive, can be just as devastating as any serious life altering condition and can no longer be ignored by the medical community and society as a whole.
What are the causes of hair loss in women?
Before treating your hair loss, you should find out why you are experiencing hair loss – especially if it is sudden. Hair loss can be complicated, but, the three main causes of hair loss in women are: hormone imbalance, thyroid conditions and child birth. Just as in men, one of the main causes of hair loss stems from the presence of a hormone byproduct called dihydrotestosterone (DHT.) DHT causes hair follicles to become thinner and finer until the hair is permanently lost.
What are the treatment options?
Besides wearing a hat, there are some pharmaceuticals on the market that are effective. According to the Founding President of the American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery, Dr. Shelly Friedman, every woman (in her mid-forties or older) who is starting to experience hair thinning should immediately start Rogaine 5% foam. Erik Borchardt of Evolution Hair Center agrees that Rogaine foam is an excellent choice for women. Rogaine (FDA approved) works by stimulating hair follicles and keeps them in the growth phase, therefore reducing hair loss. Unfortunately, Propecia, the very effective drug you may hear your guy friends talking about, isn’t effective for women. Why? Women get their testosterone from a different place than men do, so it just doesn’t work. Another treatment option is the use of Spironolactone. Prescription only, Spironolactone (which is a “potassium sparing” diuretic) has shown to decrease DHT levels in women – but is not well tolerated.
Are there non-pharmacologic options?
In addition to lathering up your scalp with a little Rogaine every night, it is recommended that you use a shampoo that is specifically formulated to treat dandruff one or two times per week. Not for dandruff, but to stimulate your scalp. And if you really want to get serious about preventing future hair loss and regrowing as much natural hair as possible….then laser treatment is an impressive bomb. Offices such as the Evolution Hair Center carry a laser device that is proven to regrow hair. These devices are especially effective when combined with pharmaceuticals that treat hair loss. There are also laser devices that are available for home use.
So if you don’t want to be sporting the “bald is beautiful” look as the decades pass, you may want to save this article for your next drugstore visit.