SINGAPORE - Hair loss is a distressing condition that will affect many women any time from their late 20s to the menopausal stage. Hair is not only crucial to a woman's attractiveness, it is also fundamental to her gender identity and sexuality.
Hair loss leading to frontal baldness is called androgenetic alopecia and is the most common hair loss problem in women. Hair follicles can also be genetically sensitive to hormones such as DHT (dihydrotestosterone).
Since it is predominantly hormonal in cause, the treatment has to be medical. Unfortunately, due to ignorance, many have been duped into using hair tonics and hair treatments that are not effective, leading to disappointment along with the loss of hope of a remedy.
Androgenetic alopecia begins in the midline and spreads out over the front of the head. A thorough hormonal as well as ferritin analysis has to be done initially. Many women also lack iron which affects hair growth.
It is important that treatment be started early as great delay may cause the hair follicle to become non-responsive. Treatment has two stages - stopping future loss and regrowth of hair.
There are various types of medication used to stop hair loss and minoxidil is the main one. Others, such as aldactone and cyproterone acetate, are used when there are high levels of DHT causing hair loss. In premenopausal and menopausal stages, oestrogen replacement is considered.
Regrowth of hair is achieved through dermal stimulation via micro needling and/or laser. Oral supplements with specific vitamins and minerals are essential for hair growth.
Many non-medical hair loss centres advertise daily in the newspapers but it is best to get proper medical advice from doctors who treat hair loss.
Dr Komathy Rajaratnam is the founder of The Lifestyle Clinic at 16-03 Camden Medical Centre, Tel: 6733-0788. Her articles in upcoming issues will deal with beauty and aesthetic issues relevant to the Indian body type.
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