Hair Loss in Women

Hair is the defining feature of one’s face and sets its limit. The personality and the elegance of the person are reflected through their hair. The loss of hair is a cause of great concern not only for men but also for women. Mostly baldness is related with men and all the importance is given to them in comparison women are not taken seriously about their complaint of hair loss. It is very disheartening and distressing to lose hair not only for men but even more for women. The fear of looking unattractive can cause indirectly lot of emotional and physical problems. Hair loss should be given appropriate importance by treating physicians to boost their patient’s morale and enhance the aesthetic looks.

Hair Loss Pattern in Women

  • The hair fall in men and women is usually more or less same.
  • The hair starts thinning all over the scalp and a bald patch may appear in the centre, or the center parting may start becoming wider and wider, and the hair thinning may also occur on the sides of the scalp.
  • Unlike men receding hairline is not seen in females.
hair loss treatment for women

Reason for Hair Loss

Excessive styling

An intricate hair style, tight ponytails, cornrows produce lot of traction which may cause traction baldness or traction alopecia. The hairline recedes due to excessive pulling. Letting hair loose may help in preventing hair loss.

Central Cicatricial Centrifugal Alopecia

The condition is seen only in African American females, which leads to significant hair loss. Excessive traction and use of harsh relaxers and dyes cause such baldness.

Androgenic Alopecia

Baldness occurs due to gradual loss of hairs from the crown area, it is known as male pattern baldness but in females it is called as female pattern of baldness. The baldness may be due to hormonal problem or hereditary reasons. This type of baldness is mostly seen in females nearing menopause. Changes in hormonal levels occur during menopause with increased levels of male hormones which can promote hair growth in other parts of the body and hair loss from the crown. Drug formulations are prescribed such as vasodilators (minoxidil) which increase the circulation of blood in the scalp to promote hair growth, growth factors for promoting the growth phase of the hair. Hair transplant is recommended.

Alopecia Areata

Hair loss is seen in usually round patches. It is an autoimmune disorder, the defense mechanism of the body targets its own follicles mistaking them for invaders. The reason of such event is not known. The hair may not grow or regrow and fall again. In some hair may grow and never fall again. There is no treatment for this condition; however, the doctors give some medications for treating other hair disorders.

Hormonal Dis-Balance

Any hormonal change whether due to contraceptive pills or due to poly-cystic ovary syndrome, thyroid or any other reason affects the growth of hair.

Women also secret testosterone from their ovaries and adrenal glands which reaches the blood where some of it binds with the serum hormone binding globulin leaving low levels of free testosterone. The balance between the free testosterone and its metabolite is lost. The increased level of its metabolite causes hair loss. The contraceptive pills prevent ovulation and increase the amount of serum hormone binding globulin which forms the metabolite and cause hair loss.

Excess or less thyroid hormone may affect growth of hair together with other disease related symptoms. Treatment of thyroid disorder might help in reducing hair fall.

Hair growth is enhanced in pregnancy due to increased levels of estrogen. But after delivery the hormone levels return to normal thereby resulting in significant hair loss. The hair fall stops once the hormonal level is normalized.

Medications

Medicines for heart problem, blood pressure, etc. may cause hair fall which might stop once the medication is stopped. Chemotherapy in cancer patients effects hair follicles and great hair loss is seen. This is reversible the hair grows back once the therapy is over.

Fungal Infection

Fungal infection causes round itchy patches that are contagious and may be seen in other family members. Anti fungal substances may be effective in treating the bald patch.

Therapies for Hair Fall

Minoxidil

Minoxidil is the FDA-approved drug to treat baldness. It helps in regrowth of gradually thinning hair. Minoxidil prolongs the growth phase of hair follicle. It is a vasodilator and probably improves the circulation in scalp by dilating the scalp blood vessels. This might improves the hair follicle function and stimulates the scalp hair growth.

Amexidel -5 solution

A combination of minoxidil (10 or 5%)with aminexil (1.5%) is used for male pattern baldness. Aminexil is a compound similar to minoxidil.

Catechin

It is a flavonoid and the main ingredient in green tea. The flavonoids in green tea inhibit the action of the enzyme (5-alpha reductase) that initiates hair loss and also anti-inflammatory action of catechins help in preventing hair fall in both males and females. Green tea has the potential to treat flaking of scalp and dandruff and can also be used for washing hair. Hair products containing green tea are available in the market.

Caffeine

Caffeine also stimulates the hair growth. Caffeine enriched hair products are better options for preventing hair fall instead of drinking 50-60 cups of coffee.

Sabal Extract

Extract of fruit Sabal serrulata also known as Saw palmetto is used for preventing hair fall in androgenic alopecia as it inhibits the activity of enzyme responsible for hair fall in a dose dependent manner. Mixture of saw palmetto oil and olive oil when applied to hair may revive hair follicles and improve the quality of hair.

Hair transplant

Permanent solution for hair fall is hair transplant or hair grafting in which the follicles are extracted from the area where the hair density is more and shifted to the bald or thin density area. The number of hair follicles remains same altering the density of the donor and graft area. Transplant is more effective in Male Pattern Baldness type of thinning, as the donor area that is about an inch above the nape of the neck has more dense growth, however, in case of all over thinning it becomes difficult to find a donor area. The procedure is carried out under local anesthesia and takes about few hours depending on the number of grafts. Transplanted hair shed after 3-4 days and new hair grow. The result is visible after few months.

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy

The PRP is separated out from the patient&’s own blood concentrated and injected in the scalp for promoting hair growth. It has several growth factors which activate the growth of hair follicle by stimulating the stem cells in the follicles and other surrounding cells. The effect is visible after three months.

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