WHAT TO DO ABOUT ALOPECIA. by Julia

There are a number of things that can affect someone’s state of mind. There’s no doubt that when you see your features drastically changing, it totally can be upsetting. When a person begins to lose hair, it can take a toll on one’s self esteem. Especially when the hair loss is more prominent and impossible to hide! So what can you do if this happens to you? The questions about alopecia are endless. But fortunately, science at the service of medicine has evolved to meet our growing concerns.

The good news is when you start treatment for alopecia as soon as you notice it, you’ll get better results. Why? Because prolonged androgenetic alopecia can destroy a large number of hair follicles. The use of anti-androgens after prolonged hair loss will at least help prevent new hair loss and encourage regrowth of those follicles that have been dormant but are still viable. Just make sure to maintain your vitamin and mineral levels while you are on anti-androgenic drugs to help ensure that the anti-androgens work properly. As always, treatments have the best chance of being effective if they’re adapted to the cause of hair loss while triggering hair growth.

Below you’ll find a list of treatments currently used to treat hair loss in women. Some of these drugs have all been recommended for other applications and are used “off-label” to treat hair loss. The use varies from person to person, but many women have found that using these treatments have made a positive difference with their hair and their self-esteem.

Minoxidil Topical Treatment

Minoxidil is currently the most effective treatment to fight against hair loss and to treat mild or looming baldness. Minoxidil is available in two forms:  Minoxidil  5% (usually men) and Minoxidil  2% (recommended for women). Minoxidil is available in higher concentrations but those concentrations tend to be more dangerous.

What is minoxidil exactly?

Minoxidil is a treatment to fight against significant hair loss and androgenetic alopecia. It can be applied topically or directly to the scalp. It was originally used to fight hypertension, but was also observed to help hair growth in some patients. Minoxidil was therefore studied and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) later, approved Minoxidil as a treatment for hair loss.

To treat androgenetic alopecia, most dermatologists today advise their patients to use Minoxidil. It is a non-prescription and over-the-counter treatment, and comes in different forms: liquid, spray or foam.

ANDROGEN RECEPTOR INHIBITORS.

Aldactone / Spironolactone

Aldactone helps women with hair loss related to a hormone imbalance. Aldactone is a potassium-sparing diuretic, which means it rids the body of excess fluid as do other diuretics (water pills), but it doesn’t make you lose potassium in the process as many diuretics do. It’s normally used to treat swelling, high blood pressure, and potassium deficiency.

Furthermore, Aldactone acts as an anti-androgen. It can help when women are experiencing hair loss due to higher levels of androgens. The drug causes the adrenal glands and ovaries to slow down their production of androgens, and also blocks the action of androgens that are produced. One way it does this is by stopping dihydrotesterone — the form of testosterone that causes the hair loss — from binding to its androgenic receptor and affecting the hair follicle.

Tagamet / Cimetidine

Cimetidine acts as an antiandrogenic in the body. This means it inhibits the biological effects of male sex hormones. Daily usage lowers testosterone levels in women and consequently lower DHT levels. With less DHT in the scalp, you should see a slowing in the progression of hair loss as well as experience hair regrowth. Cimetidine can also prevent DHT from binding to the hair follicles, which keeps them from shrinking and triggering hair loss.

Estrogen/Progesterone

A lack of estrogen, including menopause, promotes hair loss and degradation (thinner, drier). Estrogen or progesterone can be justified as part of hormone replacement therapy if non-hormonal natural photosensitizers are not enough. Only your doctor can decide if only estradiol (a form of bio-identical estrogen) should be used in this case. It stimulates hair growth in quantity and quality.

Finasteride

Taken in the form of oral tablets, Finasteride is intended for men and women with baldness. Finasteride was used first for the treatment of benign prostatic hypertrophy. This medicine works by hindering the enzyme that converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), the form of a hormone that can stop the activity of hair follicles by over stimulation. According to clinical studies, finasteride mainly slows down hair loss. It promotes hair regrowth for some only. The therapeutic effect ceases as soon as the treatment is stopped.

Contraceptive pill.

Some birth control pills may have anti-androgenic effects (especially all pills containing desogestrel and norgestimate). This option may be interesting for a woman who, in addition to wanting oral contraception, has clinical signs of an excess of androgen: alopecia, seborrhea, hirsutism (excess of hairiness), etc.


You can see all of Julia’s posts here.

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