Hairloss is Horrible for Most Women
Recently www.cosmopolitan.com published an article titled 7 Surefire Ways to Stop Thinning Hair, which was written from the perspective of a hair stylist. While I agree with some of the stylist’s thoughts, I believe that a great deal of information was not covered from a hair loss expert’s medical views on the subject.
One out of every four women has hair loss. By far, the greatest reason for this situation is genetics (female pattern hair loss). When I evaluate women with thinning hair, I ask them about women in their family—from both sides of her family—who may have had thinning hair, regardless of their age. I mention age because it’s extremely common for younger women I see whose mothers, aunts, or grandmothers experienced hair loss at a much older age than the patient is experiencing it.
As was mentioned in the article, it is normal to shed 100 hairs per day, which often is surprising to people. If one loses more than this, they probably have female pattern hair loss.
There are two, and only two non-surgical treatments for this condition: minoxidil (Rogaine Foam) and Low Level Laser Therapy (Capillus272 Laser Device). Each of these treatments is FDA cleared for safety and efficacy and each works independently of the other. I recommend that most of my patients use these together to get the very best opportunity to both stop progression of hair shedding and re-growth as well.
The other effective treatment for hair loss in a woman is hair transplant surgery. If she’s a good candidate, I will transplant hair follicles from the back of the head, which are genetically programmed to grow forever, to the areas that are thin or bald. After a period of three to four months, these transplanted hairs begin to grow about one-quarter inch per month. At approximately month six, the new growth becomes aesthetically noticeable. These hairs will grow permanently and can be cut, curled, colored, and permed because they are your own growing hair!
One common observation that women often describe to me is that they think their hair is breaking when they see a lot of short hairs throughout their scalp—especially along the hairline. People would have to harshly treat their hair with chemicals for it to break. I, thankfully, almost never see this in practice. What these short hairs are miniaturized hairs—the hallmark of female pattern hair loss.
In addition to female pattern hair loss, women can experience a different kind of hair loss called telogen effluvium. This is an oft-times considerable, but temporary, hair loss due to a physiologic stress. Common causes are pregnancy (actually, after delivery), general anesthesia, and high fever. The hair usually sheds for a few weeks to months after the insult, and then it typically grows back within six months. Something to note, however, is if a woman already has female pattern hair loss, then the regrowth after she delivers a baby often is not as thick as it was prior to the pregnancy.
Hair loss is horrible for most women who experience it. It is critical that they are medically evaluated by an experienced hair restoration surgeon who takes care of hair loss patients every day in their practice.