Authored by Cathy L. Chambers in Hair Care
Published on 09-14-2009
Thinning hair or alopecia is a condition that many people, men and women fear. Although some may think of hair loss as a male problem, nearly as many women as men suffer from thinning hair. The loss of hair is devastating, and can cause tremendous anxiety for people who are forced to deal with the consequences. Thinning hair can be caused by a number of things including hereditary and stress. Before determining a treatment plan, it is important to discover the cause.
Some medications cause temporary hair loss. If the problem stems from a medication, it is likely that the hair will regrow when the treatment is completed. If there is a sensitivity to a hair care product, such as a gel or other product, the condition may be reversed by switching products.
Aside from hair thinning and loss caused by medications and product allergies, certain autoimmune diseases can cause hair loss. In some cases, a patient may lose all of their body hair. Others may affect only facial hair. These conditions may reverse themselves with treatment but require the care of an immunologist.
Male and female pattern baldness are the types of hair loss most commonly referred to by lay people. Both are caused by heredity. In men, the hair begins to thin gradually until it is nearly transparent. This type of alopecia usually starts with a receding hairline or hair loss at the top of the head. Women also experience hair loss of this type but they generally do not exhibit a receding hairline. Women may also experience this type of hair loss for other reasons including Iron deficiency and hormonal problems. For both men and women, treatment for thinning hair should begin with a visit to their physician. Many products, both prescription and over the counter claim to be able to regrow and thicken hair. There are only two that have achieved much success during clinical trials.
Rogaine (minoxidil) is a topical treatment that is applied to the scalp. Studies have proven that Rogaine is effective in regrowing hair. It must be applied daily and generally takes four months of use before any regrowth occurs. Only about 32 percent of the men who use this product will not get the desired result. If the product is stopped, the hair loss will resume.
Propecia is a brand name of the drug Finasteride it is available as a prescription in the form of a pill that must be taken daily. Two thirds of the men who were given this treatment had a successful regrowth of hair. As with minoxidil, regrowth was evident after about four months of treatment. Even the patients who did not experience new hair growth found that their hair loss was stopped by the treatment. One in fifty patients taking the treatment suffered from a loss of libido.
These two treatments are the only treatments that have been proven effective in clinical trials. There are many products on the market that promise to stop hair loss and regrow hair. They are often costly and usually not effective. Hair thinning and subsequent loss is a problem that needs to be addressed by a doctor to determine the correct treatment.