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What hair loss treatments are available for women?


When we think about hair loss, the first image that often comes to mind is of a 40-year-old man who is struggling to hang on to his hair in fear of looking like his balding relatives. Rarely do we think of a woman who is silently suffering as she watches her hair come out with each stroke of a hairbrush. Noticeable hair loss affects approximately 30 million women in the United States.

The global hair care industry is estimated to be an $87.73 billion market this year and it is expected to increase to $102.28 billion in 2024. Many products promise fuller, younger-looking hair without clinical evidence. The woman who is staring at the Pantene commercial, full of young models with beautiful thick hair, will buy any product that will help her hold onto to her own hair.

What causes hair loss in women?

Women lose hair differently than men. In general, women suffer from diffuse hair loss, as compared to the characteristic frontal and crown pattern hair loss in men.

Some of the reversible medical causes of female hair loss include a thyroid hormone imbalance, anemia, low vitamin D levels, post-partum hormone changes and menopause. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) has been related to female hair loss. Medications such as contraceptives, antihypertensives, steroids and antidepressants have been associated with hair loss. Significant physical, psychological and emotional stress may result in hair loss.

By middle age, approximately 40% of women show signs of male pattern hair loss (androgenic alopecia). This is often devastating! Hair extensions may be used to camouflage how thin a woman's hair is getting. However, traction on the weak hair often leads to more hair loss, making the situation even worse!

How can hair loss be treated in women?

The first step in rebuilding hair is to evaluate the underlying causes of the increased shedding and correcting the medical problems, if present. Next, using hair products that have been clinically proven to strengthen the hair, prevent shedding and nourish the scalp are essential to restoring a healthy amount of hair. We recommend the Hair Medica products to all of our patients.

For women with thinning hair, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) gel treatments may be used to stimulate hair growth. PRP is full of growth factors that keep more hair follicles in the active growing phase, anagen, creating thicker appearing hair and covering the scalp more evenly. PRP is injected into the scalp in three sessions one month apart. To maintain fullness, PRP injections are performed every six months.

For women with bald areas, hair restoration procedures are used to transplant hair follicles from the thicker areas in the back of the head to the thin areas in the front or top of the head. The follicles are harvested individually and placed precisely where needed. This is used to restore a youthful hairline, fill in patches of hair loss, or bring back a fuller look throughout. This procedure restores not only the hairline but self-confidence and self-esteem!

If you are a woman who is considering hair restoration, be sure to find a board-certified plastic surgeon in your area for a consultation to discuss your case and review treatment options.

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