Pattern baldness is often misconceived to be a disorder affecting only men. However, nearly one-third of women experience pattern hair loss at some point in their lives. This statistic goes up to nearly two-thirds of all women who have undergone menopause and suffer thinning of hair and bald spots.
The main type of hair loss is observed to be the same for both men and women, and its medical term is androgenetic alopecia. In men, this is characterized by hair loss above the temples and is preceded by a receding hairline that forms an M shape before progressing to baldness. In women, hair loss is defined by thinning at the part line, preceded by increased, diffusing hair loss radiating from the top of the head. In women, a key difference is that this condition seldom reached complete balding, unlike in men. Early detection and hair treatment for women has proven to work wonders, with all the new methods and technologies coming up.
What is androgenetic alopecia?
Androgenetic alopecia is caused by androgens, which are hormones that are essential for normal male sexual development and several other important functions in both sexes, such as sex drive and hair growth control. It’s also a condition that could be hereditary but can be triggered by environmental and hormonal changes as well.
Androgenetic alopecia causes hair loss in both men and women due to a biologically predetermined shortening of anagen, a hair’s growing period, and a lengthening of the time between shedding a hair and the beginning of a new anagen phase. This implies that it takes longer for hair to regrow after it has been shed during the natural growth cycle.
Hair loss treatment for women
Medications are the most common and non-invasive form of hair treatment for women. They include the following:
This medication was initially used to treat high blood pressure, but users found that it prompted regrowth of hair in areas where they had previously lost it. Minoxidil, when applied directly to the scalp, has been shown to promote hair growth in studies. It is now available as a 2% and a 5% solution when a stronger solution is needed for a woman’s hair loss.
While it is an effective drug, it does not work for all women and cannot restore the full density of lost hair. It is not a quick fix either, as it takes up to 2 months to show visible results.
The minoxidil solution leaves a residue on certain women’s scalps, which dries and irritates them. This discomfort, known as contact dermatitis, is most likely caused by the alcohol added to assist drying rather than by the minoxidil itself.
Minoxidil is effective, but it can have unpleasant side effects, apart from those unrelated to the alcohol-induced skin irritation. The color and texture of the new hair vary from that of the surrounding hair in some cases. Hypertrichosis, or excessive hair growth in the wrong places, such as the cheeks or forehead, is another possibility(with the stronger 5% solution, this issue is more likely to occur).
Androgens, which include testosterone and other “male” hormones, can hasten female hair loss. For the treatment of androgenic alopecia, some women who did not react to minoxidil may benefit from the addition of the anti-androgen medication spironolactone. Since women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) produce excess androgens, this is particularly effective in these cases. Doctors usually also prescribe spironolactone with an oral contraceptive for women who are of reproductive age. Potential side effects can include weight gain, loss of libido, depression, and fatigue.
Hair loss in some women can be caused due to iron deficiency. If you’re a vegetarian, have a history of anemia, or have severe menstrual bleeding, your doctor may measure your blood iron level. If you have an iron deficiency, you’ll need to take a supplement, which might help prevent you from further losing hair. If your iron level is normal, adding more iron can only cause side effects like stomach upsets or constipation.
Follicular unit transplantation, which was first adopted in the mid-1990s, is now used by 90% of hair transplant surgeons.
Surgeons divide a thin strip of scalp into hundreds of tiny grafts, each containing just a few hairs, during this operation. Each graft is inserted into a slot in the scalp made by a blade or needle in the region where the hair is missing. This treatment allows for hair loss to be curbed and helps the newly transplanted sites look natural.
Hair loss can be hard for anyone, which is why you should consider finding the best hair treatments for women as early as you can!