Hair loss is supposed to be a problem that only aging men face, right? Wrong. Women also experience hair loss for a multitude of reasons including: genetics (androgenetic alopecia), hormonal changes (i.e. – menopause, birth control, and thyroid conditions), physical or emotional stress, ongoing illness, anemia, rapid weight loss, and certain medications. In fact, according to Dr. Edmond Griffin, female hair loss patients at his practice have tripled in the past decade. Since women’s hair loss is such a taboo topic, women struggle to know who to turn to when their hair starts falling out.
Hair loss can be a problem with women on hormone replacement when the hormone replacement includes a small dose of testosterone, particularly if she has genetic pattern hair loss. It is important for these women to use preventative hair loss medicines. Propecia® fills the need for men and will do the same for most women who are past child-bearing years.
Women facing hair loss may start discussing their problems with their hair stylist. While trained stylists know a good bit about hair in general, they may not be familiar with the conditions that cause it. A doctor will most likely employ a simple blood test and physical examination to pinpoint the hair loss cause. But, if your hair loss is not a symptom of a major body system abnormality, you may need to seek the expertise of someone with more specialized medical knowledge.
An endocrinologist, or gynecologist with a strong endocrinology background, is a specialist in hormonal disorders, and may be able to better identify the problem or direct you to a better-suited specialist. If the condition does not seem directly linked to a hormone fluctuation or imbalance, your endocrinologist may refer you to a dermatologist. Unlike endocrinologist whose knowledge is very specific, most dermatologists are trained to understand and treat a broader spectrum of issues involving skin, hair, and nails. Women suffering from hair loss should seek a board-certified dermatologist who specializes in hair loss disorders, specifically, female-pattern hair loss.
If you’ve exhausted medical opinions, a trichologist, or hair expert (non-medical) may be able to provide non-medical approaches for optimal hair growth. A trichologist will give you advice on diet, nutritional supplements, hygiene, and various other approaches. It’s important when working with a trichologist that you only select one who works closely with a doctor. Doing so limits the risk of employing a treatment that could negatively affect any existing medical conditions.
Doing research online may also help you answer some questions you have initially. However, use caution when researching hair loss online because the internet is full of people who claim to have the miracle cure. Because hair loss has so many causes, there is no one cure.
This may all seem like an overwhelming who’s who of hair loss, but Dr. Griffin of the Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research will be authoring a series on the subject of women’s hair loss to enlighten patients with the condition. Having seen countless cases of hair loss in men, women, and children; Dr. Griffin will take the necessary steps to find a specific solution for you. There are solutions to hair loss: it starts with finding the right doctor.
As we’ve discussed previously on our blog, genetically linked balding (androgenetic alopecia) can be treated with topical, botanically derived treatments. The most common treatments for male pattern loss remains the topical formula which includes minoxidil and the oral medication finesteride resulting in 80-90% halting the progression of hair loss. For hair loss where inflammation is prominent, like alopecia areata, the steroid cortisone is the treatment option for hair restoration since surgery is certainly not an option.
The term STEROID conjures images of muscular athletes and body builders, but it should be known that there are some viable, medical uses for cortisone, a type of steroid. Anabolic –androgenic steroids are often the culprit behind over-developed muscles and the super human athletic abilities you hear about in the news. This class of steroids works primarily to facilitate the rapid growth of muscle and allows for enhanced endurance. This happens because anabolic-androgenic steroids mimic sex linked androgens like testosterone that signal the body to boost protein synthesis and create muscle. One downside to these steroids is that they often accelerate hair loss in men and women who are genetically predisposed to balding (among other side effects when used in high doses without caution.)
Corticosteroids are also a class of steroids; which work to mimic the naturally occurring hormone cortisone. According to an article published by the International Alliance of hair Restoration Surgeons (IAHRS), corticosteroids are used in hair-restoration therapy for their ability to regulate the body’s inflammatory response, allergic reactions, and the symptoms of auto-immune disorders. Any alopecia involving scarring such as lupus would be considered a type of balding which would be responsive to cortisones. Alopecia areata, is balding exhibited as perfectly round, smooth circles on the scalps of men, women, and children. With this condition, monthly injections of very dilute cortisone are injected just under the skin just to the depth of the hair follicles which inhibits the inflammation of white blood cells: allowing hair regrowth within 1 to 4 months (typically). The limited use of this cortisone is very safe and usually results in no side effects and does not suppress the body’s immune system.
In this age of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), many patients both men and women have been given topical or injections of low dose hormone replacement. All these medications can increase the natural balding of the patient. These persons should especially investigate the use of a blocker like finesteride so that the messenger of baldness, DHT, will be blocked and baldness will be prevented. This advice applies to both males and females. Of course, females of child bearing age should not use finesteride without understanding its uses and its potential side effects.
It is of utmost importance that you seek the medical advice from your dermatologist before you begin taking any steroid-like product for hair restoration and regrowth. To learn more about the other non-surgical hair-loss treatments available through Dr. Edmond Griffin visit The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research’s website, contact their office, or subscribe to their blog.
For many cancer patients, after the initial shock of diagnosis wears off, there’s deep anxiety about losing one’s hair due to chemotherapy. Chemotherapy consists of variable chemical combinations of oral and IV administered medications that attack rapidly-growing cells within the body. While the efficacy of chemo to attack cancer cells is amazing, it also attacks the rapidly multiplying cells within the scalp that control hair growth.
While there is little, advisable, treatment to prevent chemo-related hair loss, The Mayo Clinic cites the potential of topical, daily application of Minoxidil (Rogaine®) to aid in the re-growth of hair after patients have completed their full round(s) of treatment. For most chemotherapy-related hair-loss patients (both male and female), hair does not begin to re-grow until several weeks after their final dose of chemo. Most, but not all, cancer drugs result in hair regrowth after treatment. Ask your oncologist if the drug he plans to use has been associated with permanent hair loss. If chemo is being administered intravenously, an inflated blood pressure cuff placed on the forehead and around the back of the head as low as possible has been suggested to reduce the loss of hair in patients. The blood pressure cuff raises the patient’s systolic pressure to help prevent circulation of the drugs into the scalp.
Minoxidil (Rogaine®) is usually recommended for non-cancer patients who have just begun to lose their hair because of the product’s ability to maintain existing strands. Because chemotherapy destroys cells completely, including those that determine hair’s color and texture, it is not unusual for the first hair that appears after cancer treatment to be a different texture or color than it was before treatment. Also, because hair growth is a cyclical process that can take months to occur, topical hair-growth product users should know that treatment will require regular, daily application to become effective.
In addition to Minoxidil, Finasteride (Proscar ®/Propecia ®) is another very popular topical product for genetically linked baldness in men. As you may have read in his blog though, Dr. Edmond Griffin has developed a topical, botanical alopecia treatment made with melatonin that shows great promise for hair-loss in women.
While Minoxidil (Rogaine®) hair restoration treatment is promising for future use in cancer survivors, because of the lack of substantiated scientific research, it’s important to note that Minoxidil (Rogaine®) non-surgical hair-loss treatment has not yet been proven for this specific problem. This point reiterates the importance of working with board certified physicians aware of the most recent innovations in maintaining your health after cancer treatment and recovery.
To learn more about the other hair-loss treatment options available through The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research visit their website, read their blog, or contact their offices.
Alopecia is the medical term that is used most often to convey any type of hair-loss. There are numerous types and causes of each respective type of alopecia. Alopecia areata most commonly refers to hair-loss in men, women, and children whose symptoms are perfectly round, smooth, bald patches on the scalp or body. These symptoms sometimes, but very rarely, present themselves along with other auto-immune disorders such as: thyroiditis, diabetes, and vitiligo.
While not previously attributed directly to genetics, a July study released by Columbia University and published in The New York Times links 8 genes to the hair-loss condition alopecia areata. According to the study’s report, one of the genes, ULBP3, was found in high concentrations within the hair follicles of the study’s alopecia areata patient participants and is thought to be the “messenger” gene that signaled the body to assail its hair and signal its fall-out.
While scientist can’t yet attribute all of alopecia areata’s symptoms to actions of these genes, they are hopeful that the study has revealed a promising discovery about the condition that may facilitate development of future medical treatment options for hair-loss: the alopecia areata related genes behave much like the genetic messengers involved in other auto-immune conditions such as type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.
Therefore, dermatologists and hair-restoration specialists like Dr. Edmond Griffin may soon be able to better treat the historically unpredictable condition and its symptoms more effectively. If you’re interested in learning more about hair-loss or the treatment of hair loss visit The Griffin Center for Hair-Loss Restoration and Research’s website, subscribe to their blog, or become a fan on Facebook.
In our previous blog post detailing the causes of hair-loss we discussed the role of genetics and its contribution to the development of androgenetic alopecia and alopecia areata. Often, for children who exhibit hair-loss, the causes might not be as simple as genetics. For a small percentage of children ages 6-12 (mostly tween-age) a behavioral condition known as trichotillomania may be to blame for areas of hair-loss.
Most commonly referred to as “hair-pulling disorder,” or sometimes “trich,” this ailment is driven by a compulsion that causes children and adolescents to pull strands of hair from their scalp and occasionally their eyebrows and even body. The condition often begins with children wanting to continually twist their hair and place it in their mouth. While the condition has been greatly dramatized for plot development on episodes of FX’s Nip Tuck and Showtime’s Nurse Jackie, if the neurosis continues, the child may begin to pluck the strands of hair and leave balding or stubbly areas of hair with differing thicknesses across the scalp. This is different from the perfectly rounded, completely bald circles caused by the genetically linked alopecia areata.
Physicians see a majority of trich patients recover fully from the condition and re-grow their missing hair completely, with no need for medicine or surgery, by ceasing the pulling behavior. However, Dr. Edmond Griffin of The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research warns that patients, especially children, must be properly diagnosed before any hair restoration treatment is approached. It’s important to note that hair-restoration therapy to remedy the effects of this type of behavior are only viable options for patients who have completely stopped the repeated action of pulling for at least 1 year.
To learn more about stress related hair loss in men, women, or children and the non-surgical hair-restoration options contact our office, visit our website, or subscribe to our blog.
Dr. Edmond Griffin, the founder of The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research, devotes much of his time to researching non-surgical options for hair restoration treatments. Women’s hair-loss, like hair loss in men and hair loss in children, has numerous causes; women’s hair-loss is often the result of genetics (Androgenetic Alopecia), stress resulting from injury or illness, or hormonal imbalances. Recent case studies with his patients have led Dr. Griffin to develop a topical compound that has proven effective in re-growing the hair of women in which many other non-surgical treatments were unsuccessful.
As Dr.Griffin detailed in a previous blog on topical botanical Alopecia treatments, scientists are recognizing the powerful promise of several compounds in treating hair-loss. Among the effective ingredients in Griffin’s compound is melatonin: the hormone secreted by the brain’s pineal gland that is most widely known to control an individual’s sleeping cycles (circadian rhythms.) Not so well known is the fact that melatonin is also largely responsible for cycling reproductive hormones in females.
As previously noted, one of the causes of hair-loss in women is hormone fluctuation or imbalance. While melatonin consumption does not directly address the causes of hormonal problems, it (along with the oral compound’s other four ingredients) does seem to positively affect the hair-growth cycle in some females and re-grow some of their lost hair. It’s important to note however, that Dr. Griffin’s compound is produced exclusively by reputable compounding pharmacies. Even though the positive results and potential of hair-loss compounds are exciting, it takes qualified physicians working with qualified pharmacists to produce a safe, effective product.
If you are interested in learning more about the hair-loss treatments and hair restoration procedures Dr. Griffin provides, contact his office, visit his website, or subscribe to his blog. For up-to-the –minute news on hair restoration research and treatment you can also join Dr. Griffin on Facebook and Twitter.