When we hear the word female balding, the first thing we think of is female pattern baldness. Of course there are pages of other reasons for hair loss, but this is the type that leads to baldness in women. Many women around the word-specially nowadays- suffer from female pattern baldness (FPB). And the most asked question is: “What is the right baldness cure?”. Luckily, experts worked hard on finding the right cure, be it medicines or foams. But do these treatments really work?
Female pattern baldness (FPB)
Female patter baldness is a distinctive form of hair loss that occurs in women with androgenetic alopecia. Most people think balding is a medical problem only impacting men. In fact, women make up about forty percent of hair loss patients. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, it’s a increasingly recognizable aesthetic concern, affecting thirty million women in the United States.
In FPB, there is a diffuse thinning of hair on the scalp due to increased hair shedding or a reduction in hair volume, or both. Unlike male pattern baldness, which usually begins with a receding frontal hairline that progresses to a bald patch on top of the head. In women’s case, it is rare to have a receding hairline or a complete balding.
Understanding female balding
Each strand of hair sits in a tiny hole (hair follicle). In general, baldness occurs when the hair follicle shrinks over time, resulting in shorter and finer hair. Eventually, the follicle does not grow new hair. The follicles remain alive, thought, which suggests that it is still possible to grow new hair. But what really causes this hair condition?
FPB has a strong genetic predisposition. The mode of inheritance is polygenic, indicating that there are many genes that contribute to FPHL. These genes could be inherited from either parent, or both. Genetic testing to assess risk of balding is currently not recommended, as it is unreliable. Currently, it is not clear if androgens (male sex hormones) play a role in FPB. Although androgens have a clear role in male pattern baldness.
The majority of women with baldness have normal levels of androgens in their bloodstream. Due to this uncertain relationship, the term FPB is preferred to ‘female androgenetic alopecia’.
Androgen impact on hair growth cycle
Hair grows at one-half inch per month and the growth phase lasts two to six years. With yet-to-be discovered physiologic signals, the hair goes into a resting phase for a period of time. Then the hair follicle falls out and a new follicle starts the process all over again. In some women with a genetic predisposition to hair loss, a group of hormones (androgens) interferes with the growth cycle of the hair. These androgen hormones-testosterone, Androsteinedione, and Dihydrotestosterone (DHT)– are dominant hormones in men. But they are present in women to a lesser degree. In many women, balding is due to the action of androgens on the hair follicles. To prevent further baldness, it is preferable to see a dermatologist for an early baldness cure. The sooner a woman treat her baldness, the more effective the cure is.
Available baldness cure and treatment
The most important decision you can make is early medical intervention when you first detect hair loss. Early medical intervention is a very important step you make in order to maintain and keep your existing hair. If you delay treatment, female balding can be hard to treat and some times can become permanent due to complete loss of your hair follicles. Treatments are available, although there is no cure. It is important to manage expectations when seeking treatment, as the aim is to slow or stop the progression of balding rather than to promote hair regrowth. However, some women do experience hair regrowth with treatment. Results are variable and it is not possible to predict who may or may not benefit from treatment.
Minoxidil 2% Topical Treatment
The only medicine approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat female pattern baldness is minoxidil. Minoxidil is available as 2% and 5% solutions; the stronger preparation is more likely to irritate and may cause undesirable hair growth unintentionally on areas other than the scalp. Further more, a combination of low dose oral minoxidil (0.25 mg daily) and spironolactone (25 mg daily) has been shown to significantly improve hair growth, reduce shedding and improve hair density.
Hormonal treatment, i.e. oral medications
This type of oral medications block the effects of androgens responsible of hair loss.
This baldness cure is the generic name for Propecia/Proscar. This medication was original made to treat prostate disease. It works primary by inhibiting an enzyme that harms the hair follicle ( 5-alpha). This is a prescription medication that mostly treats male pattern baldness. But it can be effective as a treatment for female pattern. However, it has some side effects and may not be suitable for all women specially those in child bearing years. Because it has some serious birth defects.
- Your first stop would be to see your general practitioner who can perform a medical workup to exclude other reasons for hair loss. Your GP can refer you to a dermatologist for further management of your condition.
- It is important to seek reliable information and advice from authoritative sources. Because there are many bogus treatments that are expensive and do not work. Some will even make your condition worse.
- Treatment needs to continue for at least six months before noticing any results. It is also important not to stop treatment without discussing it with your doctor first. Long term treatment is usually necessary to sustain the benefits.