About one-third of women experience hair loss (alopecia) at some time in their lives, among postmenopausal women, as many as two-thirds suffer hair thinning or bad spots. Hair fall in women often has a greater impact than hair fall does on men, because it’s less socially acceptable for them. Alopecia can severely affect a woman’s emotional well-being and quality of life.
The main type of hair loss in women is the same as it is in men. It’s called androgenetic alopecia, or female (or male) pattern hair loss IN men, hair loss usually begins above the temples, and the receding hairline eventually forms a characteristic “M” shape, hair at the top of the head and in the scalp also thins, often progressing to baldness. In women, and genetic alopecia begins with gradual thinning at ate part line, followed by increasing diffuse hair loss radiating from the top of the head. Woman hairline rarely recedes, and women rarely become bald.
There are many potential causes of hair loss in women, such as medical conditions, medications, and physical or emotional stress etc. If you recognize unusual hair loss of any kind, it’s important to see your primary care physician or a dermatologist, to determine the main cause and appropriate treatment. You may also want to ask your doctor for a referral to a therapist or support group to address emotional difficulties. Hair loss/fall in women can be frustrating, but recent years have seen an increase in resources for coping with the problem.
Male-pattern hair fall is an inherited condition and is also called as Androgenetic alopecia. It is the main common type of permanent male baldness and affects male Caucasians more than other ethnicities. The condition is characterized by a receding hairline/hair fall on the top of the head.
Male-pattern hair fall is caused by an inherited increased sensitivity to Dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT shortens the anagen phase of the hair cycle, causing continuously finer hairs to be produced. Men who do not generate testosterone (because of genetic abnormalities or castration) do not develop this pattern baldness. Male-Pattern hair fall affects about 25 percent men in their 25s, 30% in their 35s and nearly half of men in their 45s.
Not all cases of hair fall require treatment or can be treated. Temporary hair loss, such as acute telogen effluvium, especially that caused by childbirth or jet lag, is usually self-correcting and re-growth occurs within seven to nine months.
For hair fall caused by cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy, no treatment is necessary, although cooling caps (a specially designed ice pack or cap worn before, during, and after each chemotherapy) may be used as a preventive measure to protect the hair follicles. Hair will grow back a few months after the treatment has completed. Wigs, hats or other coverings may be worn during this time.
If a medication is causing your hair loss then your doctor may be able to prescribe a different medication to treat your condition if an alternative exists.
There are several treatments that may slow or prevent the development or male-pattern hair loss, although these must be used continuously, or the former pattern of hair loss will return,
Propecia(finasteride)- is a prescription medicine that works by inhibiting the conversion of testosterone into 5 alpha-dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone that plays an important role in hair loss in men. Propecia can cause a decrease in sex drive and sexual function.
Minoxidil- can be helpful for male and female-pattern hair fall, or hair fall due to age and hormones. It works better in men or women who have a general thinning of the hair. Hair shedding may temporarily increase during the first few months of use and re-growth may take two to four months. Continued treatment is required otherwise the pattern of balding reverts back to what it was before. The exact way that minoxidil medicine works is not known. Other brand names of minoxidil may be available. Other medications that may be tried for hair loss but are not FDA approved for this indication include:- male-pattern hair loss-Dutasteride, Female-pattern hair loss – Spironolactone, low-androgen oral contraceptives, hormone replacement therapy in postmenopausal women. Alopecia Areata: - corticosteroids, cyclosporine (although the risks may outweigh the benefits)
Hair transplants are a surgical technique that removes hair follicles from one part of the head to another. It is mostly used to treat male-pattern baldness and the cost depends on how much hair is being moved but is usually around $5000 to $18000. Most people see 65% of new hair growth after 5 to 8 months. Hair pieces, hair weave or changes of hairstyle may disguise hair loss. This is generally the less expensive and safest approach to hair falls.
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