Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Female Pattern Hair Loss

Female-Pattern Hair Loss (FPHL), also known as Androgenetic alopecia, occurs when genes trigger a sensitivity to a class of hormones called androgens e.g., testosterone, which causes hair follicles to shrink. Women with FPHL generally maintain a frontal hairline while experiencing a diffuse thinning of the hair over the top of the head or crown.
About Female Pattern hair Loss
Some degree of hair thinning is experienced by 50 percent of women by 50 years of age. Women who experience FPHL usually begin to notice initial hair thinning in their 20's and 30's. The signs can become more noticeable in these women at approximately 40 years of age and particularly after menopause. FPHL differs from Alopecia Areata where well defined bald patches occur.
In both male and Female-Pattern Hair Loss, shrinking follicles (the sheath that surrounds the root of a hair) produce thinner hair. There is a gradual transition from large, thick, coloured hairs to thinner, shorter hairs and finally to short, wispy, non-coloured hairs in the involved areas. As the condition progresses the patient may notice an increase in hair shedding. Women with FPHL generally lose hair diffusely over the crown. This produces a gradual thinning of the hair rather than an area of marked baldness. The frontal hairline is often preserved in women with FPHL.
Cause of Female Pattern hair Loss
There is often a family history of FPHL. The condition is dependent on androgens (male hormones), however, a blood test will often show that a woman with FPHL has normal levels of circulating androgens. Excessive shedding of hair may also be associated with various illnesses and drug treatments, rapid weight loss, anaemia, stress or pregnancy. If a woman with FPHL is showing other signs of androgen excess such as increased body hair, deepening of the voice and/or irregular or absent menstruation, a full medical examination is required to exclude an androgen-secreting tumour.
Health Care
Always consult your Doctor for the diagnosis and treatment of FPHL. Ask your Doctor about the latest treatments available for this condition. In contrast to Androgenetic Alopecia in men, an evaluation of this condition in women should include medical tests to rule out other causes that may mimic FPHL. A complete blood cell count and measurement of thyroid hormones and iron levels are useful but rarely reveal abnormalities. Hormonal studies are not indicated unless other signs of excessive androgens are present
The treatment options for androgenetic alopecia are not very successful. Minoxidil (Regaine), applied to the scalp, may slow hair loss or stimulate fine regrowth in a minority of cases. It must be used for 4 to 6 months before any results are seen, and new hair growth is generally poor. When therapy is discontinued, the new growth soon falls out, and the woman returns to her pretreatment condition. Surgical treatment of alopecia includes hair transplantation (macrografting and micrografting) and various forms of scalp surgery.

Vitamins, Minerals & Herbs
Jojoba Oil is used in preparations designed to stimulate hair growth and rejuvenation. Biotin, one of the B Group Vitamins, has been used for this condition. Vitamin B3 is thought to increase blood supply to the head. Zinc - Supplementation with high dose zinc has been shown to reduce hair loss in some people. It may be worth considering zinc supplementation in cases of patchy or total hair loss. Iron - If anaemia is the cause of FPHL then consider taking an iron supplement. A normal blood count does not exclude iron deficiency as a cause of hair loss. Ferritin levels may be normal despite an iron deficiency.
Saw Palmetto - A clinical trial indicates that the herb saw palmetto, taken in adequate doses, helps to block the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone. This action may result in an improved outcome for women with FPHL. Catechins are molecules found in green tea that may be beneficial in reducing the severity of FPHL by influencing circulating levels of hormones. Green tea has been associated with higher levels of sex hormone binding globulin (SBHG). Increased SBHG may be of help in reducing the effects of FPHL. One cup of green tea contains approximately 100 mg of catechins. A therapeutic dose of catechins is 300 mg daily. Alternatively, capsules of green tea are available.

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