Baldness is a condition that is characterized by excessive hair loss from the scalp, which could be due to heredity, stress, an underlying medical condition, etc. Baldness, especially in females, can prove to be quite worrisome. This article provides some information about the condition, types, causes, as well as the treatment methods available.
Hair is one of the most beautiful assets for women. However, if baldness is adversely affecting your physical appearance, then it becomes necessary to seek the right treatment at the right time. Hair loss, which is also known as alopecia, could occur due to a wide range of reasons. In the United States alone, more than 2% of people are affected by this condition, with majority of the cases being that of alopecia areata. In 95% of the cases, heredity may be the root cause. The remaining 5% of the cases can be attributed to other causes of hair loss such as stress, lack of quality diet, and various illnesses.
Scientists believe that this type of hair loss, falls into the class of autoimmune diseases. Alopecia areata is common among both sexes. It is a disease in which the hair follicles are mistakenly attacked by the immune system.
The treatment for this type of hair loss involves the use of hormones such as glucocorticoids, and topical immunotherapy such as Anthralin and 2% Minoxidil. The course of action followed by the dermatologist, would depend on the extent of the hair loss.
Some physicians may also prescribe oral and topical estrogens. However, the oral contraceptives that are recommended for the treatment of female hair loss, should not exhibit androgenic activity. It is believed that it is better to opt for norgestimate or ethynodiol diacetate-based oral contraceptives. Testosterone must be avoided.
Referred to as female pattern baldness, androgenetic alopecia is the most common type. Female pattern alopecia is not the same as that found in males. In this type, the hair thins all over the head. However, it has been observed that the frontal hairline is retained. The crown may lose an average amount of hair, but would not be as extreme as is found in men.
The treatment for this condition can be achieved by applying 2% solution of minoxidil to the scalp directly. The solution is found to stimulate hair growth, and is the only drug approved by the FDA as a treatment for alopecia. 5% minoxidil, in clinical trails, has been found to cure hair loss in women. Oral and topical estrogens are also used to treat this condition.
Proper hair care is not only about using hair care products such as shampoos and conditioners. Sometimes, the cause of hair loss in women is of their own making: their choice of hairstyle. This type of hair loss is called traction alopecia. The cure for this condition can be very easily achieved by letting your hair a little bit loose, rather than bunching them together into a tight braid or a ponytail. Tight hairstyles, as well as use of hair extensions, over a period of time culminates into local trauma due to the constant pull on the hair follicles, which in turn could lead to hair loss in women.
Other Treatment Options
In the future, the cure to alopecia may be achieved by the use of drugs based on the thymosin, which is a hormone produced by thymus gland. It is believed that thymosin might help overcome autoimmune reactions that harm hair follicles. This may help cure female hair loss. In clinical trials, a new thymosin-based drug called Thymuskin, was found to be 95% and 85% effective for treating androgenic alopecia and alopecia areata respectively. It is believed that the thymosin-based drugs may prove useful in hair loss prevention, especially during chemotherapy, menopause, and pregnancy-related hair thinning. This new drug is not yet approved by the FDA, but it is believed that it may also stimulate new hair growth. The FDA has approved Thymuskin formulations for cosmetic purpose only.
If one is looking for an instant cosmetic treatment, the option of hair transplant can be opted for as a solution, to the emotional problems that one faces due to the condition. The state of your hair reveals the state of your general health, therefore adopting a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle can help prevent this condition. However, one must also be aware that it is difficult to beat the inherited genes responsible for the condition.
Disclaimer: This HerHaleness article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.