Thinning hair isn’t just a problem for men. Millions of women also suffer from thinning hair and baldness. In fact, women make up 40% of those who experience hair loss in the United States, and many of them suffer in silence.
Hair loss for women can be especially upsetting and emotionally painful because thinning hair is often viewed as a male problem, and many women are too embarrassed to talk about or seek treatment for their condition.
If you're a woman experiencing thinning hair, what are the most effective treatment options available? The truth is, the success of the treatment largely depends on the underlying cause of your hair loss.
What Causes Female Hair Loss?
Some daily shedding is normal for all women. Seeing hairs in your hairbrush or around the drain in the shower is very normal, and all women experience this to some degree. But many women experience an unusual amount of shedding that leads to thinning hair overall. This type of hair loss can be due to a number of factors.
The most common cause of hair loss in women is androgenetic alopecia, or female pattern baldness. Like male pattern baldness, it's a hereditary condition that can happen at any age. If women in your family experienced thinning hair, your chance of developing female pattern baldness increases substantially.
The primary difference between male and female pattern baldness is that men tend to lose hair following a distinct pattern in certain areas of the scalp, while women usually have thinning all over the crown.
Some other possible causes of hair loss in women include underlying medical conditions such as thyroid disorder, malnutrition, low iron levels, hormonal imbalances, extreme weight loss or other underlying diseases. Extreme stress caused by a major life event or trauma such as surgery, pregnancy or illness can even cause sudden and temporary hair loss.
Some medications and birth control pills can also cause hair loss. Oral contraceptives are a common trigger for hormonal-related hair loss in women, which is different than hereditary female pattern baldness.
Many times, hair grows back after the event has passed or the underlying cause has been diagnosed and treated. In the case of hormonal hair loss, for example, it's generally reversed when hormone levels return to normal.
Effective Treatments for Thinning Hair
Female pattern baldness is caused when testosterone is converted to the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which shrinks the hair follicles. This condition cannot be reversed with topical creams or medications, but there are some medications that can slow or stop the progression of the condition.
The two main medications that show the most promising results are minoxidil, the active ingredient in Rogaine®, and finasteride, the generic name for Propecia®.
Minoxidil has been approved by the FDA to treat male and female pattern baldness. The foam medication is applied directly to the scalp and is proven to slow the progression of hair loss and regrow some hair. However, minoxidil has no effect on the hormonal causes of hair loss, so the effects are temporary and hair loss generally continues progressing if the medication is stopped.
Similarly, finasteride is an FDA-approved prescription medication that is taken orally to treat male and female pattern baldness. If taken daily, the mediation can stop the progression of hair loss, but, like minoxidil, the effects only last as long as you take the medication. If you discontinue using the drug, new hair stops growing.
A more permanent solution to thinning hair is hair restoration. NeoGraft’s revolutionary transplant technique uses follicular unit extraction (FUE) to stimulate new hair growth without scalpels, sutures or scarring.
Unlike traditional transplant techniques that harvest a large strip of scalp with healthy hair follicles, NeoGraft extracts healthy follicles one by one with gently pneumatic pressure and transplants them to areas where more hair is desired. The results are permanent and natural-looking because it's your own natural hair.
Thinning hair and female baldness can be an emotionally painful condition that negatively affects a woman’s self-esteem and body image. If you're experiencing hair loss, it's important to consult with your doctor or dermatologist to get an accurate medical diagnosis, so you can find the treatment option that's right for you.
Is thinning hair negatively affecting your quality of life? Contact our team of hair restoration specialists at NeoGraft Dallas today for a consultation.