While hair loss is generally associated with men, it is surprisingly common amongst women as well. For men, male pattern baldness is the most common form of hair loss and involves hair thinning and receding hairline on the crown. For women, alopecia is one of the most common causes of hair loss, while undergoing chemotherapy is also a major cause. Hair loss is a distressing experience for anyone and it is a bigger problem for women due to social stigmas.
Hair on your head will grow an average of an inch every few months, while each hair will continue to grow for 2-6 years, stay at its maximum length of a couple of months and then fall out. A new hair is then supposed to grow in its place and at any given time of your life, approximately 85% of your hair is growing.
Your head has thousands of little cavities called follicles and this is where each individual hair sits. Over time, follicles can shrink and this leads to shorter and finer hair. Eventually, the follicles become so small that no hair grows. People who have hair loss have follicles that don’t allow hair to grow.
The most regular form of baldness is also known as androgenetic alopecia, which means that hair loss is actually caused by exposure to male hormones. Essentially, hair loss is actually a hormone problem, though the individual in question may not have abnormal hormone levels. For example, it is possible for men to have normal levels of DHT and testosterone and still lose their hair. As male hormones can be said to be the root cause of hair loss, you should consider seeing an endocrinologist or hormone specialist for treatment.
Androgenetic alopecia is equally prevalent in both sexes. The reason why female hair loss is less common is because women have more follicles and lower testosterone levels, so it takes far longer for baldness to take effect. A number of women have significant hair thinning by the time they reach 60 years of age.
Regardless of whether you are male or female, a hormone balancing doctor can help and may prescribe an approved treatment such as Rogaine or Propecia. Unapproved medication such as spironolactone is especially effective in women, as it can block testosterone action. A doctor who is well experienced in endocrinology will examine the scalp to ensure the hair loss is a hormonal issue and not an underlying problem. The doctor can then decide which treatment combinations will be most effective for the individual, as well as discussing potential side effects.
In the future, we can expect even more effective treatments for hair loss, as pharmaceutical companies invest heavily in hair loss treatment; since they know how to appeal to a person’s sense of vanity. After all, nothing makes men and women feel better than having thick, healthy hair. However, before you are tempted to spend a small fortune on the latest ‘miracle’ cure, it is best to book an appointment with a doctor who provides endocrinology to find out the hormonal reasons behind your hair loss.