We all know about male hair loss .. the receding temples, the bald spot, and the W-shaped forehead. Well, women have an equivalent. But women have a whole host of other ways to lose their hair, and a broader range of reasons why they might get bald patches, hair thinning or simply go bald .. almost overnight. So .. what can we do about female hair loss?
Female pattern hair loss is a woman’s answer to male pattern hair loss. It’s caused by the same genetic sensitivity to testosterone, which women also produce (albeit in much smaller quantities), but it shows itself in a quiet different way. Female pattern hair loss results in a thinning hair all over the top of the head while the sides of the head are relatively unaffected.
A rather dramatic condition is telogen effluvium which results in the possibly complete loss of hair about three months after a severe stress. It often comes as the person feels they are getting over the initial trauma, but the three month period is because at the time of stress all the hair follicles move to the resting phase. Normally the follicles take it in turns to rest. Towards the end of the resting period, the hair falls out. Traumatic events can be natural ones such as childbirth, but other events such as pregnancy termination or a change of birth control pill can cause it too. The condition often rectifies itself once the stress is dealt with but, if it doesn’t, holistic intervention may help.
Diffuse hair loss is what it says and also requires a holistic approach. The blood will need to be checked for hormone levels and proper functioning of a number of bodily processes and the lifestyle should also be examined for possible aggravators and opportunities to improve.
Alopecia areata causes bald patches that may come and go or may progress, sometimes as far as total baldness. While it can happen after stress it’s root cause appears to be the autoimmune system. It’s not uncommon, about one woman in a thousand will experience it at some point color treated hair.
Finally, traction alopecia is usually caused by wearing a hairstyle such as braids that continually pull on the hair. This damages the hair follicle and can stop it working, leading to bald patches particularly at the hairline.
So, what can be done about female hair loss?
Trying to treat hair loss yourself is going to be much less effective than working with a professional trichologist. That’s because what works best is a combined approach, using everything that works all at the same time to wrong-foot the hair loss at every point.
An effective treatment program to stop hair loss and encourage hair regrowth starts with a diagnosis of the problem, an assessment of all possible contributory factors, and the creation of a custom treatment program. That’s followed by regular monitoring, and the ongoing opportunity to ask for advice as the treatment progresses. At each regular assessment, a scalp photograph is taken so there is a record of progress.
So what are the parts of a successful female hair loss treatment plan?
The cornerstone of an effective female hair loss treatment plan is likely to be Minoxidil, an FDA approved hair loss drug that is applied to the scalp in order to improve the blood circulation to the hair follicles. Improvement becomes visible after about four months. Minoxidil is more effective for women, which rather compensates for the fact that women are not able to take the male hair loss drug Propecia.
Successful treatment is likely to require prescription medications because Minoxidil in stronger concentrations is only available on prescription, and when prescribed may be mixed with one of two additional ‘helpers’: Medroxyprogesterone (MPG) or Azelaic Acid (AA), which both work to interrupt the destructive process where testosterone causes the hair follicles to shrink.
The FDA-cleared HairMax LaserComb, along with ultra-violet light therapy, specially developed shampoos and conditioners and nutritional supplements are also often included in the treatment mix.
Usually, female hair loss is treatable, but not by an off-the-shelf solution. Effective treatment requires a combined approach that tackles all possible routes to a solution and includes ongoing monitoring so treatment can be adjusted as necessary. With all that in place, female hair loss can be routinely stopped and often reversed.
The Belgravia Center is Europe’s largest hair loss clinic, successfully treating thousands of people every year. Established in 1991, Belgravia’s goal is to provide the most effective treatments and professional service at the best price. Hair loss treatments are available at its London clinic or online.
Jonny Harris is a director of the Belgravia Hair Loss Center in London and is an expert in the field of hair loss and the treatments that are available. Harris writes all of the literature on the Belgravia Center website and Blog which are both useful and up-to-date sources of information for any man or woman experiencing hair loss.