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10 months ago
All questions on female pattern baldness answered by an expert

There was a time when only men opted for procedures like hair transplant or hair loss treatments at a dermatologist’s clinic to treat male pattern baldness. But today’s scenario is different, experts tell us that there has been a steady rise in women patient who seeks hair treatment or helps to deal with female pattern balding. Hair loss in women is a common thing, but balding is little rare, though the condition exists. If a woman steadily loses 50 to 100 hair stands a day and the number keeps on increasing with every passing day, this could lead to thinning of hair and eventually baldness. Baldness is a condition when there is too less hair on the scalp. Here are few causes of excessive hair loss that you need to know.

Here we spoke to Dr Viral Desai, Cosmetic Surgeon, DHI India and CPLSS India to know more about female pattern balding and why it is on the rise these days.

Do you see more women opting for hair transplant and hair treatments to deal with balding?

Yes, early in the 1990s, women made up less than five percent of hair transplant patients. Today, women represent up to 30 percent of hair replacement patients. There are various reasons for this, thyroid abnormalities, iron deficiencies, autoimmune diseases, medications, childbirth, etc. But the most common reason for female pattern balding is genetic. Know more about female pattern balding and why it happens.

Apart from genes what are the other factors that can contribute towards hair loss in women?

Genetics apart, the other common cause of female pattern alopecia or baldness is telogen effluvium. It is a temporary hair loss phase in which a higher than normal percentage of hair shifts into a shedding phase. Telogen effluvium can occur after pregnancy or when a woman goes on or off birth control pills or it can happen following an emotionally traumatizing event such as the loss of a loved one. Crash dieting could also be a reason for temporary hair loss.

How much time does it take for a woman to recover from telogen effluvium?

Telogen effluvium can be reversed but it takes time. If one is able to supplement her diet with the right nutrients and vitamins hair loss can be restored. But often women fail to do that. Ignorance about one’s own health coupled with a sedentary lifestyle and wrong eating habits make things worse for them. They steadily keep losing hair and it eventually leads to alopecia or baldness.

Are there any other conditions that could be responsible for female pattern alopecia or balding?

Low iron or haemoglobin, vitamin B deficiencies, vitamin D deficiencies, calcium, magnesium, zinc deficiencies, could trigger a hair loss pattern. However, this kind of hair loss can be reversed with medications once the deficiencies are addressed either with medication or supplementing with diet.       Sometimes, hair loss could also be due to an underlying medical condition such as lupus, polycystic ovary syndrome, thyroid problem, anaemia or hormonal imbalances. Hair loss can also be a side effect of medication such as ibuprofen, antidepressants, hypertension drugs, anticoagulants and chemotherapy. All of this cannot be reversible and might need cosmetic or aesthetic help.

Are women keen on getting hair transplants to deal with hair loss?

Getting a hair transplant has never occurred to most women. They often picture men who had transplants with an unpleasing appearance. Gone are the days when a hair transplant made a middle-aged scalp look like a field of newly planted corn. New technology and improved surgical techniques have transformed the hair transplant industry. Large grafting procedures that gave transplants their plug-like appearance are outdated. The new methods allow for more hairs in each skin graft to be placed between existing hairs, promoting greater hair density. At the same time, instrumentation that is more precise permits surgeons to work faster with fewer worries about tissue injury. This has turned hair transplants — one of the most tedious and labour-intensive of cosmetic surgery procedures — into minor day surgery. These quicker, more effective procedures have made hair transplants a more attractive option for women.

Is hair transplanting the only option to treat female pattern alopecia or baldness?

No, there are many other scientifically proven and FDA-approved treatments for hair loss. The FDA approved drugs are — Minoxidil and Finasteride.  To slow down hair loss, there are at least four potentially effective basic options. These include medications like Minoxidil, and Finasteride and oral multivitamins, which are for long-term use. These stand to be the first line of treatment. However, if results aren’t satisfactory one might opt for therapies like Mesotherapy, Laser treatment and PRP. Finally, if the hair follicles are lost permanently, hair transplantation is the only natural option left.

Image source: Shutterstock

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