Hair loss in women presents differently to that in men but it was thought, for a long time, that the principal causes were the same. This has turned out to be far from the truth which means the solutions will be different too. So what are the differences? Also, if they are only now being discovered, does this imply research on solutions lags behind the research for men? We bring you up to date.
Whats In A Name Anyway?
Whereas men will lose their hair in a familiar process that starts at the temples and ends with the horseshoe, most women experiencing hair loss will see their hairline remain intact with a more general thinning across the scalp – though usually most noticeable on the top of the head. While in men the process is called Androgenetic Alopecia, it is a mark of just how little understood the process has been in women that it does not even have a name. In any case, whatever the Doctors wanted to call it the assumption around the solution was that reducing androgens would help – androgens are a naturally occurring steroid hormone which control the development of male characteristics. Then, in 2010, a woman presented with hair loss who also had a total androgen insensitivity – effectively debunking the long held theory.
Doctors treating female patients with hair loss remain extremely limited in their options. Hormonal therapies are sometimes used, mostly in the form of oral contraception – though these can come with a range of mild but discomforting side effects. Some will also recommend minoxidil foam applied directly to the scalp. There are currently no FDA approved medications for women, the two that are available to men both work by converting testosterone into the more potent dihydrotestosterone.
What Happens Next?
Another key difference between the experience of men and women is the progress of the condition. For men it tends to occur in stages, they can be very short or aggressive. There can be months or even years between them. For women the experience tends to be very slow, progressive. What they have in common is a shared level of expectation in terms of what can be achieved. It is a sad truth that, for the vast majority, the height of expectations should be to have the head of hair they arrived at their doctors with a couple of years from now.
It means everyone is in the same boat, waiting for science to crack the code and return us all to the heads of hair we had at our best – or more!
In the meantime there are a range of options available to woman choosing to do something about their own hair loss.
Hair replacement systems are popular, though come with some restrictions on your lifestyle. Transplants are an option for many and can add density where required. Scalp Micropigmentation is becoming a popular choice for women who still have hair on top and simply want to add the appearance of greater density. If you would like to know more why not book an appointment for a free consultation at your local HIS Hair Clinic, find it by clicking here