Monday, 15 November 2010

Female Hair Loss – How Effective is Treatment?

A woman’s hair has for a long time, been associated directly with her beauty and her femininity. It also plays a large part in defining her as a person. She may choose to wear it long and full of curls or cut short in a contemporary bob style but however she chooses to wear it, there is no getting away from the fact that a woman’s hair is one of her key assets. For this reason female hair loss can be particularly traumatic and very hard for a woman to accept. Small wonder then that some women become extremely distressed at the sight of hair brushes and combs full of stray strands of hair.

The good news - Hair loss treatments for women can be very effective, resulting in hair re-growth and thickening in many cases. Below are some of the common causes of hair loss in women and information on how effective treatment can be for each.

Genetic Hair Loss (female pattern baldness)

Recent figures indicate that approximately one quarter of women are affected by female pattern hair loss but for you to be affected by it, both of your parents will need to be carriers of the dominant hair loss gene. The first signs of a genetic hair loss problem in women occur at the top and front of the scalp. The hair here becomes finer and weaker, and the shaft diameter is reduced as the follicles close. In the more severe cases, hair is also lost from the crown and the area immediately above the ears. This happens because there are raised levels of the male sex hormone, testosterone, in the woman’s bloodstream. This increased level of testosterone can also lead to other typically masculine issues such as oily skin, acne and hirsuitism.

The good news is, with natural hair loss treatment taking place over a number of months, there is a fair chance of successfully reducing further hair loss and maintaining growth.

Stress Related Hair Loss

Women and are under increasing amounts of stress as they balance busy careers with their roles as wives and mothers. When under acute stress, their production of oestrogens is lowered and whilst this does not increase the amount of testosterone being produced it often allows the T hormone to become more active, affecting hair follicles that would otherwise have been protected by higher oestrogenic hormone levels. This can lead to temporary hair loss.

There is a good chance of full recovery from stress related hair loss, it just takes time and the right hair loss treatment.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

One quite common cause of female hair loss is polycystic ovarian syndrome. PCOS is a dysfunction of the hormones, occurring when the female body produces too many male hormones or androgens. Studies have shown that hormonal imbalances occurring as a result of PCOS, recent pregnancy, menopause, postmenopausal trauma, or birth control side effects are responsible for most female hair loss.

With the right treatments, PCOS and its associated hair loss or hair growth patterns can be controlled. This is because the hair follicles are still alive making new hair growth, very possible.

Pregnancy, miscarriage or abortion

On an emotional level there is a huge difference between all of the above but from a physical perspective, they are very similar. During early pregnancy oestrogenic hormone levels increase causing the normal cycle of hair growth to slow down. This results in only about five per cent of the usual hair fall and replacement occurring. Hairs, including those on the eyelashes and eyebrows grow beyond their normal life cycle, whilst new ones keep appearing. This is why most pregnant women's hair seems so much thicker than usual.

As long as the expectant mother remains in good health, this abundant hair growth continues until the baby is born. However, as soon as she has given birth, miscarried or terminated her pregnancy, things change and  the excess hairs  revert to their telogen phase and begin to fall out. Occasionally, a speeded-up version of the process causes hair to fall out by the handful.

This process will usually take about a month or two but can be slowed down if the new mother is breastfeeding. When a mother breast feeds her baby, she produces a hormone called Prolactin and this can delay the loss of hair.

Luckily, as fast as your old hairs are being shed, new Anogen hairs are growing in their place, so that at scalp level, the number of hairs stays roughly the same. This will give rise to a large number of short new hairs and is very often the reason behind new mothers choosing to wear their hair shorter for the first year of motherhood. Immediate and regular treatments will help to stop hair loss and speed complete recovery of hair growth.

The contraceptive pill

Using the contraceptive pill doesn't usually interfere with hair growth. Any reactions are temporary, and more likely to happen during the starting or stopping process. For the first three months, some women find their hair falls out at a slightly increased rate, whilst others find it grows thicker. Stopping the pill sometimes results in the same reaction as that occurring after normal childbirth, although usually in a milder form. Hair shedding increases slightly about three months after discontinuation, as a new growth cycle of hair begins.

Regular treatment will help to establish a new growth cycle more rapidly.

Sometimes contraceptives with a high level of Progestins may cause symptoms similar to those mentioned above. If these symptoms occur after starting to take one particular form of the pill, change to a pill based on ethinoestradiol. Although rare, it is sensible to be aware of any gradual changes.

Hair loss treatment is not usually necessary in this case. A change of contraceptive pill will be sufficient to correct the temporary hair loss problem.


Low blood pressure, poor circulation, lack of iron and low ferritin levels can frequently cause diffuse hair thinning from all parts of the scalp. The hairs may become lighter and some of them will be finer in texture becoming brittle and breaking.

A blood test followed by iron supplements in the diet will normally solve the problem within a couple of months. If the scalp circulation is very poor or the scalp muscles too tense, regular manipulative and vibratory massage of the scalp will aid re-growth of hair.

The menopause

Gradual thinning and finer textured hair are common signs of advancing age in women. For most, general good health, fitness, diet and maintaining good scalp circulation are effective in slowing down the process.

However for those genetically at risk, or with previous hair thinning problems, this is a time in life when the loss of hair may really become visible and noticeable.

HRT has been shown to be highly effective in maintaining or improving hair growth in middle-aged women. It must be recommended and prescribed by a Doctor as it does have some adverse side effects in a few women.

Women's hair loss treatment  – click here to book your free hair loss consultation in Central London.

The Causes Of Male Hair Loss

There are many causes of male hair loss but the most common cause is known as, male pattern baldness. This is a genetic form of hair loss affecting approximately 60% of the male population. Other factors that can lead to baldness in men are the different types of alopecia which include alopecia totalis, alopecia areata and alopecia universalis. Hair loss can also be caused by poor diet and stress and can also occur after serious illness or surgery.

Male Pattern Baldness

Male hair loss, also known as male pattern balding or androgenic alopecia affects most men at some stage in their life. It is a genetic condition, passed down from either one or both parents that leads to the gradual thinning and eventual disappearance of the hair.

A lot of men will accept that over time they will get older and that one day, as a natural part of the ageing process, they will begin to lose their hair. Some men on the other hand, find this part of the ageing process to be extremely distressing and will do whatever they can to halt and even reverse it.

If you are one of these men, there is some encouraging and positive news. Male pattern balding responds well to treatment if it is caught early enough. For the best results and to help you retain as much of your natural hair as possible, it is advisable that you start a course of treatment as soon as you spot the first signs of hair loss. The signs are quite easy to spot, it is just a case of knowing what to look out for;

1.       The hairline recedes
2.       The hair gradually thins in one area of scalp
3.       A bald patch develops
4.       The hairline meets the bald patch
5.       A ring of hair is left to the sides and back of the head
6.       This last ring of hair will gradually disappear

This process can be quite a lengthy one but it will speed up if you have been passed the baldness gene by both parents. Similarly if you smoke, drink heavily, don’t eat well and don’t exercise, this may also quicken the balding.

Stress Related Hair Loss

Stress can cause hair loss in both men and women but often this does not manifest itself until sometime after the stressful situation has passed. This can mean that stress related hair loss can be misdiagnosed.

Stress has a direct effect on a person’s normal hair growth cycle. The normal cycle of hair growth works like this;

1.       Hair starts life in the Anagen phase or growth phase
2.       It then enters the Catagen or transitional phase
3.       Then it enters its final phase, the Telogen phase.

During Anagen, the hair is growing at its fastest and most vigorous rate. This can go on for between 2 and 6 years, growing at a rate of approximately 10cms a year.

At some point, in that 2-6 year time frame, the hair will begin to enter its Catagen phase. In Catagen which lasts for up to 2 weeks, the hair follicle shrinks to about 1/6 of the normal length and the lower part is destroyed.

For 5-6 weeks afterwards, the hair is said to be in its Telogen phase. In Telogen, the hair does not grow but stays attached to the follicle. At the end of the Telogen phase, the hair follicle re-enters phase one and a new Anagen hair begins to form.

Stress will cause the body to produce chemicals which push the hair follicles prematurely into the Telogen phase. This means for a few months, hairs will be falling out without having any to grow in their place. This is what leads to thinner looking hair and eventual, albeit temporary hair loss. When the cause of the stress has passed, the hair usually re-enters its Anagen or growing phase which leads to the hair restoring itself to its former glory but sometimes, the experience of hair loss itself can cause so much stress as to perpetuate the problem.

If stress has been isolated as the root cause of your temporary baldness then you are best advised to find and put in place, coping strategies that will help you to manage your stress. Hair loss treatment can also help to get things back to normal again.

Male Alopecia

Alopecia is the term given to a loss of hair from the scalp, face and body or all three. There are approximately forty-six types of Alopecia, most of them being symptomatic of illness or changes in the body’s chemistry. Fortunately, most of them are curable and with the right treatment, hair almost always grows back.

Alopecia in its different forms can affect both males and females. It can vary in its manifestation, from tiny randomly scattered bald patches to total, full head baldness. Although the condition is not painful in itself, it can cause deep emotional upset to those that suffer from it.

Hair Loss caused by poor diet

Most cases of hair loss are caused by genetics, medical problems or hormonal imbalances but nutrition also plays a part in maintaining healthy hair. Good nutrition will obviously benefit the body and many of these benefits can be seen in the condition of the skin and hair. Regular well rounded meals that contain the right balance of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals are essential.

A good diet should include white meat or fish, vegetables, fruit, salads, wholemeal grains either rice or bread or pasta. Sweet food stuffs like sugar, chocolate, sweets and cakes, eggs and dairy produce like butter, milk and cheese should only be taken in moderation except where children are concerned since they need dairy produce for its calcium content to help their bones grow.

Hair loss following illness or surgery

The human body is a truly remarkable thing, it will always try to find ways to deal with any sickness or disease. In some cases, it may temporarily redirect its resources to help deal more effectively with an illness.
One non-essential and therefore re-directable source of energy and protein is that set aside for the creation and growth of hair. This process is sometimes put on hold, whilst the energy and protein is rerouted for a more urgent purpose.

Major surgery is a trauma to the body, in the same way as an accident. It also causes the body stress. Hair loss as a result of the body’s rerouting of resources to cope with either of these events is likely to be temporary and hair should start to grow back without any need for treatment.

Some prescription drugs can cause excessive hair shedding. Types of drugs that may cause hair loss include those used to treat depression, heart problems, arthritis, high blood pressure, birth control and some forms of cancer

Male Hair Loss  – click here to book your free hair loss consultation in Central London.