Addressing baldness in women

The sight of hair loss can be very worrying for a woman, at times making her lose confidence. Greater the stress, greater the hair loss. Pattern baldness is a serious concern amongst women. Dr Premalatha, Dermatologist ofHairline International Hair & Skin Clinic talks about hormone induced hair loss in women and the myths surrounding hair transplants.

  1. Hormonal changes are considered to cause pattern baldness in women. What kind of hormonal changes and how does this happen?

It concerns changes in the level of androgens, the male hormones and alteration in female hormone levels. In PCOD (polycystic ovarian disease), women find hair on their head getting thinner while hair on their face gets coarser. Too much androgen brings in abnormal new hair growth, such as on the face, between the belly button and pubic area. One can see these signs by observing changes in menstrual periods. Another sign would be new acne formations. Procedures such as  scalp analysis and  blood tests can diagnose the  cause of  hair loss in women. Another factor leading to hair loss is too much or too little of Thyroid hormone. The danger associated with female pattern baldness is that hair loss is permanent if not treated.

Q. Can you comment about the condition of hair in women during the time of pregnancy and delivery?

After pregnancy and delivery, a phenomenon known as Telogen Effluvium is observed. It occurs due to many other reasons as well, like drastic weight loss, major surgery or high levels of stress. This phenomenon involves shedding of large amounts of hair each day, during shampooing, styling or brushing.Women experiencing the phenomenon witness large amounts of hair being shed usually 6 weeks to 3 months after a stressful event, like a pregnancy. At the peak of this condition, handfuls of hair may be lost. In order to find evidence to diagnose someone with Telogen Effluvium, doctors may look for small club-shaped bulbs on the fallen hair roots. The presence of the bulbs indicates that the hair has gone through a complete cycle of growth, suggesting the cycle may have sped up due to stress, because of pregnancy. The only thing one can do when experiencing Telogen Effluvium is wait until the hair loss slows down. Also other contributing factors such as stress related problems can be tackled by reducing anxiety through meditation and other recommended ways.

Q. The obvious answer to patterned  chronic hair loss here is hair transplant. Can you tell us a bit about how it works?

Both medical and surgical line of management should be considered.Hair transplant is a method of hair redistribution wherein hair is removed from areas on the scalp  and placed on areas which are balding. Minor scars may appear on the areas where hair is removed, but the end result is permanent. Other solutions such as a change in hairstyle, or hair weaving, can also be utilized to improve appearance. Very few people however have the courage to undergo the treatment, even though latest researches show that market for hair transplantation is growing rapidly. Many myths surround this treatment, preventing people suffering from pattern balding from giving it a try.

Q. Can we discuss some of them?

The method of hair transplant is holistic and all round yields good results. But people have false notions about it. A common myth is that old people cannot undergo treatment, preventing old people from undergoing it. Age has nothing to do with it. The texture and quality of your existing hair determines whether or not you are suitable for it.

Also, some people believe hair transplant is only possible at the initial stages of hair loss. On the contrary, it is actually the opposite. It is in fact more difficult to predict in the initial stages the extent of hair loss and whether you require treatment. It makes more sense to go to the physician when hair loss gets stable.The treatment does not give immediate results. The patient generally sees results after about 8 months, and the head filling with hair within 9-12 months.

Another myth is that surgery affects the brain. There is no connection whatsoever. Surgery involves only the skin of your scalp. There is no contact with any part of the brain. Lastly, a common misconception is that surgery leaves no scars. This is untrue. Every hair restoration technique leaves scars on the scalp. Surgery however reduces these scars to a formation of multiple dots. However, scarring is minimal and almost invisible even if you are completely bald.

Q. Concerns exist on affordability of the surgery. What is your comment?

Cost of surgery depends on a number of factors, especially the number of grafts to be transplanted. It can be a little costly, but definitely affordable. Most hair transplant clinics offer options of paying in instalments.

                                                                                                                                    –LAHARI.K.B.

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