Female Pattern Hair Loss: What it is And what to do about it
Female pattern hair loss is a condition that is characterized by the loss of the thick, long, and dark hairs mainly on the top and frontal parts of the head, resulting in a visible reduction in hair density. This process of the thick hair being replaced by thinner hair is called follicular miniaturization. Hair loss among women is common, with some studies finding a prevalence of 19% (1) - about 20 women for every 100! This occurs in adult women of all ages, but mostly to those postmenopausal. Why this occurs is not fully understood and may be from genetics, a hormone imbalance, or both. Female pattern hair loss does not cause discomfort or disability, but can contribute to significant psychological distress.
If you are experiencing hair loss, go see your doctor! There are a few conditions that should be evaluated for like iron deficiency anemia, thyroid disease, and sex hormone imbalance. In a series of 109 women with moderate to severe hair loss, there was evidence for elevated male sex hormones in 39% of the women (2).
Left untreated, female pattern hair loss results in a slow, progressive decline in the density of scalp hair. Traditional first line therapy includes topical minoxidil for one year, however this does not work for everyone. Shedding of the hair commonly occurs during the first 2-8 weeks of treatment with minoxidil with other potential side effects of scalp itching, flaking, and facial hair growth.
I’m excited to be offering a treatment for female pattern hair loss that utilizes your own body’s growth factors to stimulate hair growth. Platelet rich plasma (PRP) has been used for the treatment of hair loss in both men and women. A placebo-controlled, randomized, half-headed trial that included 12 men and 13 women with androgenetic alopecia (hair loss) found greater increase in hair density in sites treated with PRP compared with control sites six months after the first of three monthly PRP treatments (3). Another study looked at 10 people who were not responding to topical minoxidil or antiandrogens and concluded that PRP had a positive therapeutic effect on hair density and diameter with no adverse events reported (4).
This is an in-office procedure that involves taking a sample of your blood, spinning it down in a specialized centrifuge, activating your platelets with specific nutrients, and injecting this into the scalp. The solution contains your very own growth factors that act to stimulate the hair follicles for hair production. A complete treatment includes one treatment per month for a total of six months.
Stay tuned for next week's blog post where we'll be discussing how PRP can help with hair loss in men. For the month of May only, all PRP services will be 20% off. Contact my office for full pricing details.