Hair loss in Women: Causes & Treatment
Many women suffer with hair loss , thinning of hair or bald patches. They keep it well hidden by concealing with different hairstyles or using extensions. It can affect both younger women and older women alike. The earlier it is detected and treated, the better the results.
The key to treating a hair loss problem is identifying the cause and then multimodal treatment. 5 S Approach described by Dr. Anmol Chugh works very well in female pattern hair loss/hair thinning too.
Identifying the cause of hair loss
- Androgenetic Alopecia: It is a genetic condition that can be inherited from either parent. Patient in this condition complain of hair thinning or loss of density in patches especially in crown region. It can start as early as teenager or can show as late as 50 years. Problem lies in the shortened hair growth cycle that results in fall of hair more than the new hair.
- Traction Alopecia:Is a form of alopecia, or gradual hair loss, due to strong pull applied to hair in a tight ponytail, braids or other hairstyle. It is frequently seen in professions like airhostess, service industry, corporate jobs where there is high number of women tying their hair in that hairstyle.
- Hormonal problems: It can be due to increase in the testosterone: estrogen ration due to an underlying disorder. Testosterone promotes hair loss. It can be associated with PCOD (Polycystic Ovarian disease) which not only causes hair loss but irregular menstrual cycles and infertility too. Metabolic syndromes can be another cause that can lead to hair loss and problems like obesity and hypertension along with it.
- Micronutrients deficiency: An important part in hair growth cycle is played by micronutrients like Zinc, Iron, Selenium and vitamins especially Vitamin B12. Deficiencies of these factors due to underlying anaemia, malabsorption can lead to hair fall/hair loss.
- Stress: Underlying stress due to work or at home front can lead to hair fall as seen in condition known as telogen effluvium in which hair cycle is shortened.
Treatment of Hair loss in females
The 5 S approach applies to female pattern hair loss too
- Stress: Stress buster activities like yoga, listening to favourite music, going for a run should be incorporated in daily schedule. This helps in both physical and mental rejuvenation and helps in decreasing hair loss.
- Stimulators: 5% Minoxidil is effective in most of female pattern hair loss and is FDA approved. It is better if used in foam preparation once daily and has been shown to be effective in upto 80% of patients. The effect takes time of up to 3-4 months to show. Finasteride although mainly used in male pattern baldness can be added to the regime.
Also in some studies Rosemary oil has been shown to be equally effective as Minoxidil. The basic aim is to increase the blood supply of the scalp so that hair gets proper nourishment.
- Supplements: Iron deficiency can lead to hair loss alongside vitamin deficiency. It is important to add a multivitamin with micronutrients rich supplement. Also sometimes due to hormonal imbalance drugs like Spironolactone can be added after due consultation with endocrinologist.
- Self- factors: PRP or Platelet rich plasma can help in reducing the hair fall and increasing hair density. It has body’s own growth factors that when injected into scalp nourish hair. It requires multiple sessions at the gap of 2 months. Results also can take time to show up.
- : Surgery is the last resort when there is excessive hair loss or bald patch. In patients who don’t have sufficient donor area or don’t want to use their hair, Synthetic hair transplant can also be done.