Learn about the differences between male and female hair loss, and why female treatments differ. These differences reflect both the physical disparities between men and women, and social factors like dieting.
Female hair loss treatments often differ to men’s, for several reasons. Propecia is the main drug that’s prescribed as a treatment for men who are losing their hair. Even though it is less effective for women, a study performed in Italy is showing some promise with it.
The study followed the experience of 37 women who were given 2.5 mg of Propecia a day, and the contraceptive pill. Apparently, Propecia cause developmental deformities in the sex organs of the male fetus. Therefore Propecia cannot be given to pregnant women, or women who have the potential to conceive.
The results of the study were measured by photographing the female’s head. Then the computerized light video dermoscopy technique was used to measure the hair density. It was determined that women’s hair experiences thinning but not complete baldness when they suffer from hair loss.
Twenty-three women (62%) had improvements in their hair thickness after 12 months of receiving treatment. The women who experienced the most hair reduction in the center or top of their head showed the most improvement. Only one woman was found to have lost more hair.
Additional studies on Propecia as a female hair loss treatment has to be performed before it can be given the go-ahead as a viable treatment option. Not only is there fetal damage issues, making it a risky drug for women, but this study is not conclusive as evidence that it will work for all, or most, women.
Usually, women receive topical treatments like minoxidil to boost hair growth. There are drawbacks to using minoxidil. For instance, you have to apply it to the scalp twice a day, and some women have an allergic reaction to it. Unfortunately, scientists have not come up with a hair loss medication that will definitely work for women.
Female treatments also differ from men’s because the root causes of the female hair loss usually varies. For instance, women’s hair loss is often associated with hormonal changes that occur during menopause, pregnancy and when the birth control pill is discontinued. There is a 3-month delay before signs of hair reduction show up, so if you are seeing signs of hair loss now, it was most likely triggered by something that occurred 3 months ago. And it can take another 3 months before new growth shows.
Another factor in female hair loss is sudden weight loss or extreme dieting. Hair requires nutrients to grow, just as any other part of the body does. What we eat can not only affect how shiny and healthy our hair is in appearance, but if also affects hair shedding. Although men can experience hair loss from their weight loss efforts, women are at higher risk because they get involved in more extreme diets than men.
It is important to mention that female hair loss can show underlying medical conditions, such as an under-active thyroid gland, anemia, diabetes, and PCOS. So it’s advisable to get these health issues ruled out by a medical professional. If these conditions are the root cause of the thinning hair issues, then no amount of topical treatments, medications, or vitamins will stop the hair loss until the health condition is treated.
Hair loss that results from emotional or physical stress usually corrects itself when the aggravation is eliminated, without treatment. Keep in mind that it can take at least 6 months before any improvements can be noticed because of your hair’s growth cycles.