Hair Loss in Women
Hair Thinning In Women vs Men. What’s The Difference?
Hair thinning in women is much different than in men. Hair loss, or alopecia, in both men and women is very common, affecting one third of the population. However, unlike men where it is socially acceptable to be bald and to shave the head, the effect of hair loss on women’s emotions can be devastating and is greatly underestimated by physicians.
Although women’s hair thinning can develop any time after puberty, most women experience rapid thinning around menopause. Unlike men who develop bald patches on the crown and front of the scalp, women experience a different pattern of hair loss, characterized by overall thinning, a wider midline part, and a skinnier pony tail.
Biologically, hair loss between men and women varies. In men, a lone hormone called DHT (produced in a man’s prostate gland) causes hair to shrink and die. This is why Propecia in men is so effective at growing hair; it blocks the only hormone involved in the process. Propecia alone is enough to stop hair loss in 90% of men.
In women, the process is much more complex. DHT, the cause of hair loss in men, plays a less important role for women. This is because women, who do not have prostate glands, produce less DHT, so Propecia does not work effectively for them. A multitude of hormones, inflammation, loss of stem cells, and other unknown factors are likely the cause of female hair thinning. In order to stop hair thinning in women, many treatments, rather than just Propecia alone, need to be combined in a specific order to be successful
Dr. Ryan likens the treatment of hair loss in women to baking a cake. The goal, of course, is to make the best-tasting and fluffiest cake possible. To that end, each ingredient in the recipe: flour, eggs, sugar, butter, and more, have a specific purpose. For instance, the sugar sweetens the cake and contributes to the texture, while the eggs give the cake structure and balance out the flour. All the ingredients work together and do their part to create the outcome of an amazing cake. However, if you leave out even just one ingredient, the sugar for example, it will taste bitter; if there is no flour, it will not be light and fluffy.
In addition to the specific types of treatment Dr. Ryan uses on his patients with thinning hair, when they are used is equally important. For example, some herbal medicines are best used when the hair has entered the growth phase, whereas other types of pharmaceuticals are best used to stabilize shedding in the early phases of treatment. In other words, the order in which the treatments are combined is paramount. Dr. Ryan monitors the progress of treatment with sophisticated cameras and lab work, ensuring the client is achieving maximum growth. Of course, blood work is checked periodically to assess for safety.