Up to 50 percent of men experience hair loss before hitting 50. Yes, that many, and yes, the issue is that common – as are the treatments. Everything from transplants costing thousands of dollars; to the well known drug Propecia, with its libido-losing side effects; to faithful natural solutions that are long-lasting because they work on making the entire body healthy rather than focusing only on the hair.
The main type of hair loss for both genders is androgenetic alopecia, also known as female pattern hair loss or male pattern hair loss.
Female pattern baldness may not be as common, but for those affected it can be even harder, as a shaved head is sometimes not a desired look among women as it is for men. No matter the reason for the hair loss, the anxiety and stigma that follows with female pattern baldness is stressful for many.
What is Androgenetic Alopecia?
Harvard Medical School wrote this about androgenetic alopecia:
“As the name suggests, androgenetic alopecia involves the action of the hormones called androgens. Which are essential for normal male sexual development and have other important functions in both sexes, including sex drive and regulation of hair growth. The condition may be inherited and involve several different genes. It can also result from an underlying endocrine condition. Such as overproduction of androgen or an androgen-secreting tumor on the ovary, pituitary, or adrenal gland. In either case, the alopecia is likely related to increased androgen activity. But unlike androgenetic alopecia in men, in women the precise role of androgens is harder to determine.”
What Causes Female Pattern Baldness?
The causes are many, including medical conditions, medications, and physical or emotional stress. When the clinicians explain female pattern hair loss, they most commonly use the Ludwig Classification from 1977. The Ludwig Classification divides female pattern hair loss into three categories:
- Type I is mild, with minimal thinning that can be camouflaged with hair styling techniques.
- Type II moderate and is characterized by decreased volume and noticeable widening of the mid-line part.
- Type III is extensive with a see-through appearance (sometimes total baldness) on the top of the scalp.
Almost every woman will eventually develop some kind of female pattern hair loss. When it occurs will depend on your DNA. For some it can start as early as puberty, for others during menopause. The risk rises with age, and the risk is higher for women who have a history of hair loss on either side of the family.
What Can You Do?
The most common treatment is through medication – here are some of them:
Some anti-angrogens are Aldactone and Propecia, but these androgen receptor-blocking drugs are not really for women to use. There are only a few studies on what affect they have on women, which means little reliable evidence that they are effective or even safe. Therefore these options are really only open to men.
When women lose hair, iron deficiency can be one of the causes. Get your clinic to test you and see if you are short on iron. If the iron level is less than 70 nanograms per milliliter, then your doctor may suggest taking an iron supplement.
Going green is always a wise suggestion. Botanical supplements contain many of the nutrients your hair needs. These kind of supplements are usually sourced from herbs and vitamins that go along well. The ingredients target the potential triggers of thinning hair and provide your hair with the essential nutrients it needs to stay healthy.