Thinning Hair and Hair Loss in Women (FPHL)
Without treatment hair loss can progress.
Female Pattern Hair Loss (FPHL) is the most-common cause of hair loss in women. FPHL usually begins in mid 40s, 50s, or 60s. It can begin earlier for some women.
It is a progressive condition.
Treatment can prevent hair loss from worsening and help women regrow their hair.
Treatment delivers the best results when started early.
Q. What causes female pattern hair loss?
A. It’s genetic. Hormonal flactuation may also play a role.
Q. How is female pattern hair loss treated?
A. For best results, more than one hair-loss treatment may be needed.
- Minoxidil: Today, it is the most-recommended treatment for FPHL. During the first month, you may notice a temporary increase in hair loss. This stops when your hair begins to regrow.
A common side effect of minoxidil is an irritated scalp, which may cause dryness, scaling, itching, and/or redness on your scalp.
When will I see results? Hair grows slowly, so it takes time to see results. You’ll need to use minoxidil continuously for about 1 year before you know how well it will work for you.
- Spririnolactone: This medication is a diuretic, which has been prescribed for decades to treat hair loss. It is a common treatment for FPHL because it can help restore hair growth and prevent hair loss from worsening.
When will I see results? at least 6 to 12 months before you’ll know if it works for you.
Pregnancy and hair-loss medications: some medications may cause birth defects, so none of these is an option for women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
- Hair transplant: Long used to treat hair loss in men, a hair transplant may be an option for some women with FPHL.
Today, most hair transplants look completely natural.
Not everyone is a good candidate for a hair transplant though.
Are there other treatment options for FPHL?
- Lasers for at-home use: The FDA has approved laser combs, helmets, and other devices, which are available without a prescription, to treat hair loss at home. These devices emit a low level of laser light that may help stimulate new hair growth. A few studies show that this can be effective for treating FPHL.
- Platelet-rich plasma therapy: This therapy uses your own blood. After a blood draw, the blood is placed into a machine that separates the blood into its different components. The platelets, which are a type of blood cell, are treated and injected into your scalp. It is believed the platelets help stimulate your cells to grow hair.
- Supplements: Many supplements, including biotin and folic acid, are said to help grow and thicken hair. In studying these different supplements, the findings have been mixed. In most studies, the supplements had no effect on hair growth and thickness.
- Hair loss shampoos: These shampoos tend to do one of the following:Help your hair hold moisture, which makes hair look fuller and thicker. Lessen breakage, which can reduce thinning. While hair loss shampoos may do the above, they cannot regrow hair or prevent hair loss from worsening.
A dermatologist’s diagnosis is best before treating hair loss.
If you think you have FPHL, it’s important to see a dermatology specialist for a diagnosis. Women develop hair loss for many reasons. Other common causes of hair loss in women can look a lot like FPHL. Each of these causes requires different treatment. Without the right treatment, hair loss often continues.