Although male pattern balding is better known, there is also a female hair loss pattern. It’s a gradual but progressive condition, but treatment can slow or staunch the thinning and hair loss. While hair loss may start at any age, for most women it becomes noticeable once they are menopausal. Your doctor diagnoses female hair loss via a clinical scalp examination and a medical history. He will then advise you on the best treatment for your situation.
Hair Loss Medications
If you are diagnosed with female hair loss pattern, your doctor may prescribe topical Minoxidil, the only FDA-approved drug for treating this issue. Minoxidil helps lengthen the growing phase of hair follicles. While men are prescribed Minoxidil in 5 percent strength, the female version is much lower, at 2 percent. Women may have to apply the medication to their scalp twice a day for up to a year before noting results. Minoxidil has few, if any, side effects.
Certain nutritional supplements and/or dietary changes may increase hair growth or slow the loss rate. Lack of specific nutrients, such as iron, may cause hair loss. Supplements containing biotin and other B vitamins may help restore growth, but consult your doctor before starting any vitamin regimen.
“A woman’s crowning glory is her hair,” states the old adage, and hair loss can profoundly affect a woman’s mental and emotional state. If hair loss is causing depression or anxiety, your doctor can prescribe antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications. Counseling is another option, with or without drug therapy. Becoming upset about hair loss is natural, and there’s no shame in dealing with problem either through therapy or medication.
For some women, changing their hairstyle camouflages the balding areas. If your own stylist isn’t adept at making these changes, your doctor can recommend someone specializing in this art. If you’re using Minoxidil, you need a style compatible with its regular application. Wigs are another possibility, as are hair extensions to add volume.
For some women, hair transplantation surgery can restore their crowning glory. It’s especially effective for women with female hair loss pattern. The procedure involves removing plugs of hair – so-called “donor” plugs – from thicker areas and transplanting them into bald patches. While hair transplantation is expensive, the results are generally quite good, as well as permanent.
Without treatment, you will never restore your hair. Speak with your doctor about the best options for reversing your hair loss.