Information About Female Pattern Hair Loss
Female Pattern Hair Loss Frequently Asked Questions:
The following are frequently asked questions on female pattern hair loss. The information provided is not meant to be a substitute for the information obtained at an evaluation and by discussion with a physician, but merely to encourage understanding of this condition. No questions regarding individual scenarios will be answered by the AHRS. No changes in treatment should be undertaken by a patient without discussion first with the patient's physician.
5% Rogaine has been studied in multicenter trials of women with female pattern hair loss and has been found to be safe and superior to placebo. However, the trials did not show statistically superior efficacy to 2% topical minoxidil in all endpoints tested so it is currently not FDA approved for this indication. Women and children with alopecia areata have also used 5% Rogaine off label and again safety has been maintained.
There is a gradual change in your blood hormones long before menopause (or its cousin adrenopause) raises its head. Whether this subtle decrease in estrogen/progesterone, which often lead to minor changes in the frequency, amount of flow or duration of menses, actually cause the hair loss needs to be further studied. This is certainly a common time of life for late onset female pattern hair loss to appear. You should see your primary care physician or dermatologist however, for an evaluation to get a definitive diagnosis and to rule out such medical problems as a thyroid disorder.
Product X, and many other products sold as hair cosmetics and not drugs, may make loose claims to effectiveness. They have not been held to the same standards as drugs either in providing documentation of effectiveness nor standardization of manufacture. If they did make the claim to reverse hair loss or actually effect hair growth, they must go through the FDA's rigorous testing for drugs, a path many such companies prefer not to do. Most of these products do little harm, have little positive effect, and are costly.
Unless you are deficient in certain vitamins, taking a supplement is unlikely to change things. Zinc and/or biotin deficiency can cause hair loss but this usually is in childhood when a genetic problem in the absorption or use of these vitamins is first unmasked. There is no evidence that people can be deficient in ginko biloba or echinacea and because of similar unknown negative effects, these are probably best not taken.
We do not know enough about the relationship of human hair growth/loss in women to estrogens/progestins to warrant making treatment recommendations. Hormone replacement therapy is unlikely to reverse the hair loss and a decision on its use should be determined by other factors.
Propecia does not work in postmenopausal women with female pattern hair loss. It has not been tested in premenopausal women with female pattern hair loss