INTRODUCTION
FEMALE PATTERN HAIR LOSS
(Androgenetic Alopecia)
TRACTION ALOPECIA
HAIRLINE RECONSTRUCTION AFTER
FACE-LIFTS
CHEMICALS AND BURNS
PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL STRESS
ALOPECIA AREATA
MEDICATIONS
PREGNANCY
SKIN CONDITIONS
TREATMENT OPTIONS
SO WHAT SHOULD I DO IF IíM
LOSING MY HAIR?
IíVE BEEN TO MY GP AND
EVERYTHING IS NORMAL
MEDICAL HAIR RESTORATION
INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF HAIR RESTORATION SURGERY
CIPLA
SOUTH AFRICAN HAIR FOUNDATION - SOUTH AFRICA'S PREMIER HAIR INFORMATION CENTRE
HOME PAGE EMAIL US
HOME MEDICAL EXPERTS CAUSES OF HAIR LOSS DISEASES OF THE SCALP "MIRACLE CURES" FOR HAIR LOSS HAIR LOSS TREATMENTS
 
WOMAN AND HAIR LOSS
 
INTRODUCTION
 
To any woman, hair loss can be devastating. Initially you may deny what is happening. You may convince yourselves that it is a temporary situation. You become an expert in disguising your hair loss from everyone.

Most people believe that hair loss in women is uncommon. As a result, if you start losing your hair you may start to wonder if there is something seriously wrong with you. It may take some time for you to pluck up the courage to discuss the issue with your doctor. It may take even longer for you to get specialized medical advice.

Normally people, both men and women, shed an average of 100 hairs per day. Fortunately these hairs are replaced; but, when these hairs are not replaced or when the daily shedding exceeds the normal, then true hair loss occurs.
The difficulty in dealing with hair loss in women is that a number of conditions result in the same diffuse pattern in which the hair over the top and crown of the head becomes thinner (occasionally the temples will recede too). There is often some investigation needed to first isolate the true cause before working on a treatment.
BACK TO HOME
 
FEMALE PATTERN HAIR LOSS (Androgenetic Alopecia)
 
This is the most common type of hair loss seen in women and is an inherited condition. Just as men acquire the susceptibility to lose hair from one or both parents, so too can women. This determines the location and the number of hairs that are lost or thinned. The hair loss is triggered by androgens (male hormones).Therefore; it may occur at any time form puberty, but is most commonly seen at menopause. All women have a small amount of male hormone, and these levels can become more pronounced if levels of female hormones decrease, as occurs at menopause.

In men and women, the male hormone Testosterone is converted to Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) by the enzyme, 5-alpha reductase. DHT then proceeds to influence the susceptible hairs to fall out or thin out. In women, however, it is thought that hair loss does not proceed as far as it does in men because women have only half the amount of 5-alpha reductase. In addition, women have increased amounts of the enzyme Aromatase which converts male hormone into female hormone.

Female pattern hair loss is not related to poor circulation, frequent hair washing or the wearing of hats. Efforts made with medicines, creams, lotions, shampoos and unusual physical exercise can only be temporary, with varying degrees of effectiveness.

BACK TO TOP
 
TRACTION ALOPECIA
 
This is hair loss caused by tight braiding or pulling on the hair, and is temporary if the traction is short term but becomes permanent with prolonged trauma. Usually the situation that we see is a bald area at the very front of the hairline, and this is commonly seen in African woman where it is in style to tightly braid their hair. Another common (although less so) cause of traction alopecia is associated wit emotional or psychological disturbance. In these cases, woman will actively pull their hair out. In these situations, psychological counseling is the only way to prevent the traction alopecia continuing.

Once the cause of the traction alopecia is eliminated this form of hair loss is easily and effectively treatable with hair transplant surgery.

BACK TO TOP
 
HAIRLINE RECONSTRUCTION AFTER FACE-LIFTS
 
With the increasing popularity of face-lifts, we are now seeing women with hair loss above and in front of the ears due to the traction of the face-lift. This will often result in widened scars. Again, this is easily and effectively treatable with hair transplant surgery.
BACK TO TOP
 
CHEMICALS AND BURNS
 
Chemicals, such as those used in hairdressing, can cause hair breakage that is not true hair loss. However, if the substances are used incorrectly, they can actually cause damage to the skin and to the hair roots, and thus cause permanent hair loss. Similarly, burns to the skin can destroy the hair roots and cause a bald patch.

In both of these cases hair transplant surgery may be a treatment option, but this depends on the amount of scar tissue present. Assessment by a highly qualified hair transplant surgeon who has experience in these kind of situations is recommended.
BACK TO TOP
 
PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL STRESS
 
Sever illness, surgery, medical conditions (such as thyroid abnormalities or low blood count), rapid weight change or emotional stress can cause or accelerate hair loss. Once the stress is removed, the hair usually grows back within a few months.
BACK TO TOP
 
ALOPECIA AREATA
 
This condition is thought to be caused by the body producing substances (antibodies) that prevent the hair roots from producing hair. The condition usually appears as one or more isolated patches of complete baldness. In more severe cases there is total baldness of the scalp (alopecia totalis) and in extreme cases total loss of all body hair (alopecia universalis). Sometimes medical treatment is successful in treating the less severe forms of the hair loss.
BACK TO TOP
 
MEDICATIONS
 
There are over 100 drugs known to cause hair loss, including some forms of contraceptive pills, blood thinning drugs, thyroid medications, and chemotherapy for cancer. Again the effects are reversible once the drug is changed or stopped. If you think that you are losing your hair because of medication that you are on, then you should speak to the doctor who has prescribed you the medication.
BACK TO TOP
 
PREGNANCY
 
Many women experience hair loss a few months after giving birth. This is due to a delay in the normal shedding during pregnancy. In other words, the hair gets thicker during pregnancy and then returns to its normal state afterwards. Unfortunately, other woman will lose large amounts of hair during their pregnancy. This is due to the fact that pregnancy is acting as a stressor. These women will regrow all their hair in the few months after they have given birth
BACK TO TOP
 
SKIIN CONDITIONS
 
Localised skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis, and infections can cause temporary or permanent hair loss. If the hair loss is permanent then surgery can be used to restore hair to the area as long as the underlying skin condition has been successfully treated.
BACK TO TOP
 
TREATMENT OPTIONS
 
NON-SURGICAL

There are innumerable lotions available today for the supposed treatment of hair loss in women. In reality, however, there is only one medication that has an effect on female hair loss (in cases of androgenetic alopecia), and that is minoxidil (Regaine). Other treatment options, though not permanent, can be very effective. These include changing hairstyles, perming, and colouring. Also, hair extensions, hair weaves, and hairpieces can be very effective in covering thinning areas.

SURGICAL
HAIR TRANSPLANTATION

Modern micro techniques have introduced a new era in the treatment of hair loss for both men and women. Images of the old-fashioned hair transplant are now a thing of the past with detail so refined that it is now almost impossible to recognize a hair transplantation.

Some women are more suited to surgical treatment than others (and some are not suitable candidates at all). This can only be determined by a qualified hair transplant surgeon who has experience in transplanting women.

BACK TO TOP
 
SO WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I’M LOSING MY HAIR?
 
The first person you should turn to is your GP. He or she will need to take a detailed medical, drug and family history. Depending on the possible causes of your hair loss, you may need to undergo some blood tests, or you may need to be referred to a dermatologist or a gynaecologist. The treatment you require then depends on the cause found for the hair loss. In many cases where there is permanent hair loss and a sufficient area of normal hair growth, hair transplantation can be contemplated once any underlying problem has been treated.
BACK TO TOP
 
I’VE BEEN TO MY GP AND EVERYTHING IS NORMAL
 
Surprisingly this is the most common outcome. On the one hand there can be a sense of relief for a woman to know that there is nothing wrong with her health. On the other hand there can be sense of acute frustration that no-one seems to be able to provide a cause for the hair loss Ė let alone a solution. When all else has failed, consulting with a qualified hair restoration specialist might be the answer. It is only natural that you would be unsure about what to do. You may well have lots of questions that need to be answered before you can even begin to think about whether or not you would want a specific form of treatment. Even if you should ultimately decide that a form of treatment is not for you, you will find a medical consultation extremely informative and helpful. Hair restoration specialists are very used to dealing with people with hair loss, so there is no need to feel embarrassed or uncomfortable in any way. After your consultation it is up to you to think about what is discussed before deciding what, if anything, you would like to do. Unfortunately, even then, not everyone can be helped. In such cases, forms of disguise such as hairpieces might be the only answer.

For further information: www.medhair.co.za
BACK TO TOP
 
  HOME | MEDICAL EXPERTS | CAUSES OF HAIR LOSS | DISEASES OF THE SCALP | "MIRACLE CURES" | TREATMENTS
 
Copyright © 2008 South African Hair Foundation. All rights reserved. Site designed by monzamedia DISCLAIMER