Although it is believed to be a predominantly male orientated problem, current figures show that up to six million women in the UK alone are currently suffering from the embarrassing and often taboo condition of hair loss.

The anxieties and anguish that many men face on a day to day basis are often overlooked when it comes to the female of the species, despite the problem being more common than one might think. Apart from the obvious physical effects, the loss of hair in a female can often cause many psychological effects that may not be as obvious in their male counterparts. There is very little doubt that when a female encounters the issue, the physiological effects can have a huge impact on the person’s confidence, self esteem and it can sometimes feel like a very catastrophic experience for the sufferer. Despite men suffering some of the same mental anxieties that are associated with hair loss, for women there is very much a social stigma attached to losing hair or going bald and as a sufferer you may notice people staring at your hairline increasing the feeling of self consciousness further. From an emotional perspective, the loss of hair in a female can be a very daunting, rollercoaster ride of feelings. Many sufferers of alopecia may not only suffer from a loss or lack of confidence, they may also find themselves facing emotional detachment. This may is more often the case in women who are married or are currently in a serious relationship. The loss of hair can prompt the sufferer to lose their sensuality and their general perception of themselves. They may counter this by putting up an emotional “barrier” or block between themselves and their partners and the condition may even result in the breakdown of relationships with partners, family and friends, often caused by questioning themselves about whether or not their partner will still love them. It is sometimes the case that female sufferers of hair loss may find themselves becoming more and more socially reclusive. The sufferer may give up hobbies and activities that they previously were known to enjoy and in particular any hobby or activity that may involve the sufferer being “discovered” or exposed. Often this will be restricted to only hobbies that involve being in a communal area, be it in the changing rooms after a gym session or a few lengths at the pool or even more common situations where the person may be in a more confined area surrounded by people such as the local pub or club. Female hair loss can happen for a number of different reasons. Female pattern hair loss is usually inherited genetically from the mother or farther. This is often referred to as androgenetic alopecia. This type of hair loss often begins as early as the late teens. It has also been proven that the earlier that the hair loss begins, the more severe that the symptoms can be. One thing that is important to bear in mind as a sufferer of alopecia is that you are most definitely not alone. There are many treatments available that may assist in the stalling or prevention of hair loss, many of which have good success rates, but it is also imperative that you share your experiences with other people that may be in the same or similar situation. This will help ease the psychological effects of the condition, easing the emotional burden and allowing you to have a clear head and concentrate on getting the right treatment for your condition. Discussing the issue with friends and family will allow them to support you as you aim to continue with your life, relatively stress free and it is common knowledge that stress can in fact exuberate the condition further. As a female sufferer of hair loss, it is important that you seek the right treatment from the early stages. By getting treatment early on, you are giving yourself the best opportunity to slow down the process or indeed stop the process of hair loss altogether and in some cases you may be able to re-promote the growth of hair. Many dermatologists will recommended the use of an over the counter drug called Minoxidil. Minoxidil is a treatment that is proven to slow down and stop hair loss all together and actually promotes the growth of new hair on the scalp. The drug is marketed under a number of different names including Avacor Physician’s Formulation, Mintop, Amexidil to name a few. It is also sold over the counter under the name of Loniten which is in fact a form of the drug which can be taken orally. The drug was originally produced to treat the symptoms of high blood pressure. The drug however was discovered to have a rather interesting side effect: hair growth. At present, although available over the counter or by private prescription, the drug can not currently be prescribed by the NHS however this may change in the future. So as a female sufferer of hair loss, it is important to remember that treatments are available should you require them. Although you may think that the subject of alopecia is still considered to be taboo, you may now realise that you are not alone as a victim of the condition and that there may be many other people that are in a similar situation as yourself and that will be willing to talk to you about the subject. This will not only ease the burden on you emotionally but will also help to bring back the confidence that you may have already lost. There are many forms of treatment available of you, not all of them can be prescribed by the NHS or your local GP, but certainly they will be available over the counter from your local pharmacy. Minoxidil has proven successful on many sufferers of hair loss and in some cases has proven to promote hair growth, so hope is not all lost.

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By Damien

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