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.