'What Causes Hair Loss In Women?'

Q: I am a 54-year-old housewife. My problem is that my hair has been thinning. This condition I probably inherited from my mother because she and her two sisters have the same problem. What causes hair loss in women? Is there anything I can do to stop my falling hair? --alice_sc@yahoo.com.

A: There are many causes of falling hair in women including hormonal disturbances brought about by pregnancy and some endocrine diseases; psychological stress and disorders; crash dieting; infections (fungal or bacterial); skin diseases like seborrhea and psoriasis; systemic illnesses like cancer and lupus erythematosus; drugs like some anti-cancer medications; physical and chemical trauma to the scalp as in excessive hair brushing or chemical burning of the scalp during a visit to the beauty parlor; and, alopecia areata, a condition of unknown cause that is characterized by well-circumscribed patches of baldness. But the most common-and this is most probably what causes your problem-is androgenetic alopecia, a hereditary condition that is more pronounced in men than in women that is why it is otherwise called male pattern baldness.

Androgenetic alopecia is caused by genetic sensitivity of hair follicles to androgens or male hormones, which becomes more pronounced as one ages. Androgens are hormones that are produced by the testes (in males) and adrenals (in both sexes). Testicular androgens are more physiologically active than adrenal androgens, thus, baldness is more common in men. However, the androgens produced by the adrenals of women have the same effect, albeit to a lesser degree, on hair growth as testicular androgens. It is thus not uncommon for women to experience thinning hair as they age. In fact, about 10 percent of women have significant hair loss by the time they are in their 40s. At sixty, 40% of them have cosmetically noticeable hair loss-a few even go completely bald.

Many cases of hair loss in women need no treatment. Hair loss caused by trauma, pregnancy or psychologic stress often resolves spontaneously over a period of many months. Baldness due to drugs like some anticancer preparations, as a rule, also resolves spontaneously.

The treatment for hair loss that requiresone depends on the cause. For example, fungal and bacterial infections are treated with antifungal and antibacterial medications, respectively, while anti-dandruff shampoos or lotions are applied for seborrhea.

In so far as androgenetic alopecia is concerned, two drugs, minoxidil and finasteride, have demonstrated positive results in re-growing or preventing loss of scalp hair.

Minoxidil topical solution can be tried in all cases of hair loss, so you can try it too. When applied regularly on the scalp, it reportedly leads to some amount of hair re-growth in as many as 40 percent of patients.

Finasteride, on the other hand, which is taken orally, is reportedly more effective than minoxidil, but you cannot use this drug because it is only for men. It is not prescribed to women because of its potential adverse effects.

Another treatment modality that may help you involves devices that emit low-energy laser light that may stimulate hair growth. These devices are available in some dermatology clinics, but their long-term safety and effectiveness are still unknown.

Hair transplantation is another possible treatment that is open to you. This procedure involves moving hair to thinning scalp areas from donor sites. Only problem is, female pattern baldness causes thin hair all over, so good donor sites may be limited.

Incidentally, wearing a wig is a safe and relatively cheap option you should also consider. After all, among women, wearing a hair piece is not only acceptable but also fashionable.

(Email inquiries on health matters to: medical_notes@yahoo.com)

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Indonesia's Jokowi to speak to attorney general about Philippines death row convict
    Indonesia's Jokowi to speak to attorney general about Philippines death row convict

    Indonesia President Joko Widodo will consult with the attorney general on legal issues surrounding the case of death row convict Mary Jane Veloso, the Philippines presidential spokesman said on Monday. The statement came after the Philippines President Benigno Aquino met Widodo at the ASEAN summit in Kuala Lumpur and appealed for "humanitarian consideration" in the case. Widodo was sympathetic and was consulting with the Indonesian attorney general on the legal issues, he said. …

  • Pacquiao a national symbol of hope in Philippines
    Pacquiao a national symbol of hope in Philippines

    Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao is idolised by tens of millions in the poverty-afflicted Philippines both for his punching power and as a national icon of hope after rising from the streets to the pinnacle of world boxing. Known to his countrymen in the Asian archipelago as "The National Fist", Pacman fights undefeated American Floyd Mayweather on May 2 to decide who is the world's best "pound-for-pound" boxer. To most of the Philippines' population of almost 100 million, Pacquiao, winner of an …

  • Halt Indonesia drug executions until graft claims probed: Australia
    Halt Indonesia drug executions until graft claims probed: Australia

    Australia on Monday urged Indonesia to ensure all legal processes have been cleared of corruption before executing two of its nationals, as bribery allegations surfaced regarding their drug smuggling trial. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop spoke to her Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi on Sunday evening while Prime Minister Tony Abbott has written to President Joko Widodo to again plead for the executions to be halted. "Bali Nine" drug traffickers Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan could face …

  • Pagasa: Drought may worsen
    Pagasa: Drought may worsen

    The drought in 12 already dry areas in the country is expected to worsen as the summer season peaks next month, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) warned yesterday. In an advisory, PAGASA said the provinces of Albay, Bataan, Batangas, Biliran, Cavite, Cebu, Ilocos Norte, Leyte, Misamis Occidental, Pampanga, Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur will continue to receive “way below” or “below normal” rainfall in May. PAGASA defines …

  • Maximum restraint for Phl troops in West Phl Sea
    Maximum restraint for Phl troops in West Phl Sea

    The military has advised its pilots conducting surveillance in the West Philippine Sea to exercise maximum restraint even if they are being bullied by Chinese troops. Armed Forces spokesman Brig. Gen. Joselito Kakilala said all actions of the pilots should be consistent with the declaration of conduct signed by claimant countries. Armed Forces public affairs chief Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc said the Philippines should remain on moral high ground when it comes to the territorial dispute. A …

  • MMDA simulates rescue march after quake, tsunami
    MMDA simulates rescue march after quake, tsunami

    The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) yesterday led the annual rescue march from Quezon City to Manila, giving rescue volunteers a glimpse of possible scenarios if the metropolis is hit by a strong quake or is inundated by a tsunami. Cora Jimenez, MMDA general manager, said 700 volunteer rescuers walked from the Quezon City memorial circle to the Bonifacio monument in front of the Manila city hall to simulate a response-exercise to a magnitude 7.2 earthquake. Renato Solidum, …

  • Islamic State threatens Mindanao, Phl tells Asean
    Islamic State threatens Mindanao, Phl tells Asean

    Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario bared yesterday before the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) reports of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) threat to the Philippines through the Black Flag Movement in Mindanao. Speaking before ASEAN foreign ministers, Del Rosario said the ISIS threat to Philippine security is real rather than imagined because of the Black Flag Movement’s pledge of allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. …

  • ‘Chinese reclamation affecting Phl’s energy security bid’
    ‘Chinese reclamation affecting Phl’s energy security bid’

    China’s occupation and buildup of its military structures in the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea is causing the country’s top energy official to get the jitters as the encroachment is seen as a huge dent on the Philippines’ efforts to achieve energy security. “It is a concern but if we don’t bring it to the United Nations, where will we bring it? We cannot bang heads with them,” Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla told The STAR in an interview over the weekend. The US Energy …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options