There are effective drugs to control hair loss in women and they are used to cure excessive hair fall with a fair amount of success.
Both men and women have their reasons for losing hair. They can cause baldness in men and thinning of hair in women. Some treatments to stop hair fall are common while some treatments are exclusive for men and some for women
There are many causes of hair shedding, which result in thinning hair in women. These range from stress, hormonal reasons, iron-deficiency anemia, to medical treatments such as chemotherapy. These causes are self-limiting, meaning once the cause is cured or removed, hair fall stops.
However, ninety percent of the hair loss is due to genetic causes and the solution to this type of hair loss lies in treatments with medications that actually work.
Women account for 40 percent of these 90 percent hair loss sufferers. That talks of the vastness of the problem and needs to be addressed promptly.
This is because women do tend to suffer hair loss in silence, which does not at all help. Early treatment always gives better results.
Among the types of hair loss, female pattern hair loss (also called androgenetic alopecia) is the most common and is due to genetic reasons.
Some women may develop female-pattern hair loss early on in life, in their late teens, which tends to be quite severe.
The sooner you treat this type of female hair loss with the right solutions, the better are the results because long-standing androgenetic alopecia can destroy many hair follicles, as a result of which hair cannot grow back from these dead follicles.
The use of anti-androgens helps the hair to grow from the hair follicles that are dormant yet alive. However, having proper nourishment with vitamins and minerals is essential.
Female-pattern hair loss does not cause a receding hairline nor are there any bald spots. This type of hair loss causes visible thinning of hair especially over the top of the scalp.
Why women suffer from this type of hair loss is because the growth cycle of the hair is shortened causing the hairs to shrink and stay for a shortened period.
The following medications help in curing female hair loss. Know how they work and how much they help you succeed.
You also need to follow these tips that help to prevent hair fall and have a nourishing diet to feed your hair and keep it healthy.
Drugs to treat hair loss and thinning hair problems in women
1. Minoxidil (Rogaine): The topical solution
This is the most commonly used medicine to control hair fall and have hair your grow back.
The use of Minoxidil in treating hair loss was discovered accidentally. Minoxidil pills were used to treat high blood pressure and it was discovered that these patients developed excessive hair growth, which in fact was a side effect.
Further studies discovered that applying Minoxidil directly on the scalp helped stimulate hair growth. This benefit of Minoxidil was more pronounced in women than in men.
In most women, Minoxidil helped to slow down or stop the hair loss. Regrowth of hair was seen in about 20% of the women.
The absorption of Minoxidil through the scalp is negligible to cause any side effects and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the 2% concentration for this purpose. This is the only drug approved by the FDA for female pattern baldness.
However, the FDA does not approve the 5% concentration, though clinical trials have shown this concentration to be more effective in stopping hair loss as well as stimulating new hair growth.
You must continue using Minoxidil local application treatment for a long time because stopping it will start hair loss again.
2. Spironolactone (Aldactone)
Spironolactone (brand name: Aldactone) and Finasteride (brand names Propecia and Proscar) are potassium-sparing diuretics used to treat high blood pressure, potassium deficiency, water retention and a hormonal disorder called hyperaldosteronism.
Androgens cause genetic hair loss, which is why this hair loss is called androgenetic alopecia.
Spironolactone helps in treating female hair loss by inhibiting the production of androgens in the adrenal glands and the ovaries.
Secondly, it blocks the action of dihydrotestosterone (DTH) by preventing it from binding to its androgenetic receptor.
About 50% of the women benefit with this treatment and experience hair growth.
These drugs are contraindicated in pregnancy because they can cause birth defects in the newborn.
3. Cimetidine, (Tagamet)
Cimetidine, brand name Tagamet, is mainly used to treat gastric ulcers due to its histamine blocking action.
The American Hair Loss Association confirms that Cimetidine has an antiandrogenic action in the body, which simply means that it blocks the biological action of the male sex hormones.
Its regular use can lower the levels of testosterone and consequently the DTH levels in women.
Higher doses are required and, therefore, men should not use this medicine to treat their hair loss problems due to the fear of feminizing complications and adverse sexual side effects.
4. Cyproterone Acetate
Cyproterone Acetate (CPA) is sold under the brand names Dianette, Androcur, Andro-Diane, Cyprone, and Cyprostat,
It has been used as an antiandrogen in many countries for the treatment of various ailments such as prostate cancer, precocious puberty, severe hirsutism in women of childbearing age, androgen-related skin conditions such as seborrhea, acne, and androgenic alopecia in women.
It is also prescribed to reduce sex drive in men with pronounced sexual aggression.
It is not FDA-approved for use in the United States due to its hepatotoxic properties.
For hair loss in women, it is used to treat hair loss caused by excessive levels of male sex hormones.
Cyproterone acetate and its derivatives work in female pattern hair loss by blocking the action of the male hormones on the hair follicles.
Estrogen/Progesterone pills are used to treat hair loss in women whose estrogen and/or progesterone levels are lacking for some reasons.
They form part of the hormonal replacement therapy and are the most common form of systemic treatment for androgenetic alopecia in women with menopause.
Low levels of these hormones can lead to hair loss and female pattern baldness. This particularly happens for three months postpartum (after child birth) and during menopause.
However, postpartum hair loss is temporary and does not need treatment as hair loss is corrected after six months to one-year post childbirth.
During menopause, hormonal replacement therapy corrects the levels of estrogen and progesterone and stops hair loss.
6. Oral contraceptives for stopping hair loss
Oral contraceptive pills or birth control pills can be of low androgen index or high androgen index.
High androgen index pills can trigger hair loss once it has been initiated by other causes. Women who face hair loss problems should, therefore, avoid them. Examples include Levonorgestrel, Norethisterone, and Gestidone.
Low index birth control pills should be used instead. They decrease the production of androgens from the ovaries, thereby stopping hair loss. This is because androgens promote hair loss as in androgenetic alopecia.
This is especially true if you have a genetic predisposition to hair loss due to hormonal imbalances and/or if your hair follicles are sensitive to androgens.
Examples of anti-androgenic oral pills include Yasmin, Dianette, and Cileste.
Stopping oral contraceptives can at times cause hair shedding, which is similar to postpartum shedding. This is due to sudden drop in estrogen levels. This hair loss is temporary and hair will start growing back once the hormonal levels have stabilized.
Ketoconazole has anti-fungal properties and is used as a topical application to treat fungal infections of the scalp, which can cause hair loss.
It is also anti-androgenic and inhibits the production of testosterone and other androgens from the adrenal gland and the male and female reproductive organs (ovaries in women).
Nizoral shampoo is available in concentrations of 1% and 2% of Ketoconazole.
The 2% concentration is available on prescription only while the 1% concentration is available over the counter and is not as effective as its 2% counterpart is.