by Dr. Carmen Montano, M.D.
This applies to any health condition, and hair loss is no exception. Female pattern hair loss (also known as androgenic alopecia) presents with a diffuse thinning of the mid scalp with the characteristic maintenance of the frontal hairline. Female pattern hair loss is particularly problematic for women, for whom hair loss produces greater social and self-esteem issues than for men. Incidence: 30% of women over 30.
In female pattern hair loss, there is a reduction in the size of affected terminal follicles that regress to become villous follicles that eventually disappear. It can be related to: medications, hormonal disorders (thyroid disease), diet, iron deficiency, stress, autoimmune diseases (example: lupus), hair style, family history of hair loss, history of major emotional or physical stress, trichotillomania (hair pulling), Telogen effluvium (diffuse non-scarring hair loss that presents as a transient or chronic loss of hair).
Management: topical Minoxidil 2-5% solution (FDA approved for female pattern hair loss). Potential local adverse effects: itching of the scalp, flaking and facial hypertrichosis (excessive growth of villous hairs on the face).
Other medications: Spironolactone, which decreases the production of hormones that contributes to androgenic alopecia. Women with androgenic alopecia that do not respond to Minoxidil may benefit from Spironolactone. Potential side effects: dizziness, sleepiness, breast tenderness, elevated potassium in the blood. A hair transplant is another option (expensive).
PRP, a Natural Treatment (platelet rich plasma): PRP uses your own blood (which is spun in a centrifuge to obtain the plasma rich platelets which are then applied to your scalp). More than one treatment is necessary, and results start to be seen after 4 months.
NOTE: PRP doesn’t work in completely bald areas. Significantly better results occur when hair is thinning, but still present.
A blood test is recommended for those with thinning hair to rule out medical conditions which can be causing the hair loss. These need to be corrected prior to initiation of any treatment. If your hair is thinning, please contact me for an evaluation and treatment. And, the sooner the better!