Hair loss can be a distressing and disturbing experience for anyone, not just the older generation and not just for men. Both men and women of all ages go may through life with a full head of hair for years only to suddenly see it thinning. But wait, do women suffer from hair loss too? Suffering from Androgenetic alopecia can be a severely stressful situation and it does not discriminate. Here are 4 common questions about hair loss in women:
HOW COMMON IS HAIR LOSS IN WOMEN?
About half of all women will experience some amount of hair loss by age 50, so YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Androgenetic alopecia is the diagnosis currently suspected in 70% of women who have thinning. However, it rarely acts the same in women as it does in men. A male suffering from this will experience patterned hair loss on the front and crown with an area of permanent hair located on the back and sides of the head. In contrast, while some follow a pattern, women experience diffuse thinning over the whole head. It can begin as early as your 20s for both genders.
WHAT CAUSES HAIR LOSS IN WOMEN?
The thinning and hair loss occurrence in women (as in men who don’t demonstrate a pattern) can also stem from non-genetic causes. This means, if you notice yourself thinning up top or have concerns about your hair loss, you need to be evaluated for other treatable and somewhat reversible causes before you consider hair restoration surgery. Even if you have androgenetic alopecia, if you don’t have a patterned hair loss where permanent hair is present, then hair transplants are not advised. Non-Genetic factors that can cause thinning are:
- Changes in hormones including estrogen, thyroid and free testosterone
- Nutritional deficiencies (Vitamin D, Magnesium. Selenium, Zinc, Calcium)
- Heavy Metals such as lead, arsenic, cadmium, or mercury
- Auto immune disorders (Inflammatory or scarring alopecia)
- Abnormal hair growth cycle (chronic telogon effluvium)
- Stress (both mental and physical—so any illness)
- Chemical exposures (hair straightening, perms, hair dyes)
- Traction type hair styles (traction alopecia)
WHAT ARE SOME MEDICAL TREATMENTS FOR WOMEN WITH ANDROGENETIC ALOPECIA?
The most common FDA approved medical treatment for women is Rogaine. The other FDA approved treatment for hair loss, Propecia, has not been studied in women like it has in men, but some small pilot studies indicate it may be helpful for some post-menopausal women also. Women of child bearing age are not advised to take the medication because it blocks the conversion of testosterone to DHT so if a woman becomes pregnant with a male fetus while taking the medication, it can potentially lead to birth defects. Dr. Keene is continuing her search and study on potentially effective treatments outside of Rogaine.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I AM A CANDIDATE FOR HAIR RESTORATION SURGERY?
Dr. Keene recommends that you first get a diagnosis to see if there are any treatable sources for your hair loss before you contemplate hair restoration surgery. If there is another treatable non genetic cause, hair restoration surgery will not be the appropriate option until your condition has been properly diagnoses and treated. For example, hormonal supplementation may be what is needed if the cause of thinning hair is a hormonal disorder. Dr. Keene can provide a diagnostic appointment and let you know if you may be a good candidate for hair restoration surgery.
If the diagnosis of androgenetic alopecia is the source of your hair thinning, you may be a candidate for the surgery but only if the back of the head provides a solid donor area that is not thinning. The severity of your hair loss and your goals are additional factors in deciding whether surgery may be the best option for you.
If you need your hairline brought forward, or scars filled in due to brow lifts, face-lifts, or any type of scar, Dr. Keene can easily fill in the area with surgery. This applies to eyebrows, the mustache area, and the beard areas.
If you would like to consult with Dr. Keene for a diagnosis as to what is causing your hair loss, she offers a female diagnostic consult for a nominal fee of $150, plus laboratory work if needed. Call 520-290-5555 for more information.
- Women Experiencing Thinning Hair - May 2, 2017
- Understanding the surgical options for hair restoration - November 15, 2016
- The Skinny on Thinning Hair - October 17, 2016
- Dr. Keene with Physician’s Hair Institute: A Pioneer in Hair Transplant Techniques - September 19, 2016
- Hear What People Are Saying About Hair Transplants in Tucson - September 12, 2016