In this article we look at hair loss in both men and women. Common causes and available treatments. Hair loss can affect self esteem, especially for women. If you are experiencing hair loss, do not despair. Lets get going. First, this is what you will find in this article:
Hair Treatment for Men
When it comes to hair loss treatment for men there are is a lot of misinformation to confuse consumers. You’ll find that price is no indication of whether a treatment will work and you’ll also come across a lot of misinformation and misrepresentation. And because it’s such an emotional issue you need to know the facts. Americans spend nearly $4 billion a year trying to stop hair loss and regrow their hair. Unfortunately, only about 1% of those products are legitimate.
There are many causes of hair loss but that basic fact remains the same whatever the reason—the hair falls out because the hair follicle dies. You cannot regrow your hair if there is no follicle for the hair to grow from. Early intervention is crucial so you should begin your choice of treatment as soon as you notice your hair thinning or falling out.
One treatment that is effective for many men is Finasteride, the generic name for Propecia and Proscar. It was originally developed as a treatment for enlarge prostate glands but an interesting side effect was noticed—the subjects actually began to regrow hair and hair loss slowed or stopped altogether. Finasteride in the form of Propecia became the first FDA approved drug to successfully treat male pattern baldness (androgenic alopecia).
Propecia inhibits an enzyme that turns testosterone into DHT, which destroys hair follicles. By lowering DHT by around 60% when taken on a daily basis you can stop hair loss in most men and even experience an increase in hair growth.
Minoxidil is another drug whose side effects were surprising. Originally used to treat high blood pressure, patients taking it began to grow hair not only on their heads but on the backs of their hands and other unusual places. Through trial and error researchers found that Minoxidil applied directly to the scalp could slow hair loss and even regrow the hair. Since then there have been other successful treatments discovered and Minoxidil is now considered a temporary measure. Treatments that proclaim it as a “miracle cure” sell like hotcakes but rarely live up to the hype for most men. It is, however, better than leaving hair loss untreated.
There are many reason for hair loss and the good news is that you may not need any type of drug or treatment to stop it. The drugs men take for many conditions can cause them to lose hair so researching the medications you are on before investigating treatment might save you a lot of time, expense and disappointment. For example, Accutane and other drugs for acne derived from vitamin A can cause hair to fall out. Blood thinners (anticoagulants) including Coumadin and Heparin are another culprit. Some cholesterol medications, anticonvulsants, anti-depressants, antifungal drugs and amphetamines are also chemical causes. Heart and gout medications, beta blockers, steroids and anti-inflammatories as well as thyroid medications can cause hair loss. Obviously, you should not discontinue any of these medications without consulting your physician!
Before you try any treatment for hair loss be sure that it’s approved by the FDA.
Hair Loss In Women: Why It Happens and What to Do About It
Men might see their hair loss as a badge of honor, cracking wise about their steadily-growing foreheads and bald spots, but hair loss in women can be a downright unpleasant experience.
Hair loss is particularly devastating to women. When men lose their hair people say they look distinguished—it’s even become a fashionable trend for men to shave their heads. But when women lose their hair they not only feel unattractive but can be ridiculed by strangers and avoided by men—no matter how wonderful their other qualities may be! A woman’s self image and confidence can be destroyed by hair loss but there is now hope thanks to medical and psychological research.
Female pattern baldness, more common than one would think, is called androgenetic alopecia. Androgen is another name for male hormones, which both sexes have. When females have an excess of androgen it can cause hair loss; doctors are reluctant to prescribe medications to treat that hair loss for fear it can interfere with a woman’s androgen levels. Most err on the side of caution and prescribe topical remedies applied directly to the scalp.
It’s important to notice and treat hair loss as soon as possible. If your hair follicles are merely dormant and not destroyed, you can regrow your hair. If you notice your hair thinning or more in your brush than usual it may be time to see a dermatologist and stop hair loss before it gets a good start.
It’s also important not to fall for every “miracle” remedy and you’ll see many of them in magazines, on television and in stores. The FDA has approved Rogaine (Minoxidil) for use in both male and female hair loss and it has been proven safe. It is effective for many men and women, too. Minoxidil was originally developed to treat high blood pressure; hair growth was a side effect that eventually proved useful, more for women than for men. You can get it over the counter (OTC) in a 2% solution but unless you have a dermatologist’s supervision it may not work as well as you expect.
There are other treatments that inhibit androgen production and thus stop hair loss. Aldactone is a form of diuretic that reduces the amount of androgens that your ovaries and adrenal glands produce. It blocks their function by preventing DHT from binding to the androgen receptors. Tagamet, commonly used as a treatment for stomach ulcers, blocks DHT just as Aldactone does. You need high doses of Tagamet for positive results and it has an added bonus of preventing excess facial hair. You can find Tagamet (Cimetidine) OTC but you should never take it to treat hair loss without the supervision of a dermatologist.
For women going through menopause or those lacking effective levels of estrogen and progesterone, hair loss can be treating with HRT (hormone replacement therapy). This is often done by prescribing low-androgen birth control pills but women older than 35 and smokers should be cautious about this treatment.
Nizoral shampoo containing 2% katoconazole is also used to treat hair loss and scalp condition in women. You can get 1% solution OTC but it may not be as effective as prescription strength.
Stress and certain drugs like those used to treat thyroid conditions can cause hair to thin or fall out. Hormone imbalance, childbirth and other conditions can also be responsible. This is why it is so important to consult a physician before you try any treatment, even those available without a prescription.
If you are suffering from hair loss or fear that you are at risk for it, you’re not alone: more women than you might realize experience such problems in their lifetimes. Fortunately, it’s possible to fight both the underlying causes and the immediate symptoms of female hair loss.
Think of telogen effluvium as a cry for help from your body. This type of hair loss typically occurs after a stressful life event, like pregnancy, major surgery, or a death in the family. It has also been linked to certain types of medication. Telogen effluvium is usually temporary, running its course once the stress in your life has dissipated, although you may have to ask your doctor about changing your prescription if you suspect medication is the cause. If general stress and not a specific stressful event is the culprit, consider lifestyle changes that might chill you out.
Millions of women have under-active thyroid glands. The resulting hormone imbalance can cause all sorts of problems, from weight gain and depression to unexplained hair loss. The issue here is that low levels of thyroid hormone can stunt the growth of keratin-rich cells, which include nail and hair follicles, making them brittle and subject to breakage or loss. A course of routine hormone therapy should get your body back on track and stem your hair loss.
Affecting middle-aged women almost exclusively, lupus is a frustrating disease. It’s an autoimmune illness, which means that it’s caused by your body’s immune system incorrectly recognizing your own cells as invaders and trying to fight them off. The disease’s signature symptoms are intense joint pain, fatigue, and hair loss. You won’t lose all of your hair at once, but you will notice it coming out in patches in the shower or pool. Lupus-related hair loss can be treated with oral steroids like prednisone, while the associated scalp rash can be fixed with a simple prescription cream.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Known as PCOS, this is a complex illness that often begins with the onset of puberty and can seriously affect adult reproductive health, ultimately rendering its sufferers infertile if left untreated. Milder symptoms include unusually thick facial hair growth and a related loss of scalp hair. Since the over-production of testosterone is the underlying cause of PCOS, birth-control pills that block its uptake can typically neutralize these associated effects.
According to WebMD, a typical woman loses 50 to 100 strands of hair per day, with perhaps 250 coming out in the course of a vigorous hair-washing. If you think you are losing more than this relatively small amount, look for standard clues like excessive hair on your pillow, clumps in the shower drain, and a tangled mess of a hair brush. Once you have confirmed that your hair is thinning, don’t panic: most of the underlying causes of female hair loss are treated easily.