Medication or Treatments: What is helpful for women with thinning hair

Female hair transplant

Hair loss affects men and women alike but it has more impact on women as compared to men. The reason is that bald women are less socially acceptable than bald men. Therefore, women who become victims of hair loss are more stressed than men. It affects their emotional well-being as well as their quality of life. As a result, they end up looking for the right female hair loss treatment. They will try anything and everything – from medication to treatments – that gives them their hair back.

In this article, we will discuss whether medication or hair loss treatments are more helpful in treating female hair loss.

But before we do that, let’s see what causes excessive hair loss in females.

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Causes of Hair Loss in Women

In females, hair loss can occur due to a number of causes. However, normally, it is caused by one of the following reasons:

  • Genetics

One of the most common causes of female hair loss is their hereditary conditions. Some women have a condition known as androgenic alopecia or female pattern baldness in their family. So, as they age, this condition starts becoming prominent in them, as well. However, it is not a quick process and happens gradually over a period. Moreover, it is usually predictable as it occurs only along with the crown hair on the scalp of women.

It is important to note that complete baldness due to genetics is extremely rare among women.

  • Hormonal Imbalance

The second most common reason for female hair loss is an imbalance in their hormones. This condition is quite common during pregnancy and childbirth – known as hair shedding – and is temporary. It may also occur during menopause and thyroid problems. However, usually, hair loss due to hormonal imbalance is temporary and can be easily cured.

  • Medication Side Effects

Some medicines can also cause hair loss in females as a side effect. The most common medicines causing hair loss are the ones used for cancer, arthritis, heart diseases, gout, blood pressure, and depression.

  • Stress and Depression

If a female has been through a stressful event or a traumatic experience, this may also cause her to lose excessive hair. Depression and stress can make the patient lose a huge chunk of their hair but it can be treated by treating depression.

  • Hairstyles

Some ladies do not often change their hairstyles and their hairstyles are also very tight. Such hairstyles, like a high ponytail or cornrows, can trigger traction alopecia among females. This can be prevented by avoiding regularly wearing high and tight hairstyles.

Medication and Female Hair Loss Treatment

Below we have discussed some of the most effective female hair loss medication and treatments.

Keep reading to find what each one does.

  1. Minoxidil (Rogaine)

The first on the list is Minoxidil or otherwise known as Rogaine. It has proven to be one of the most successful drugs used to treat female hair loss.

Minoxidil originated as a drug to treat high blood pressure but it showed results for hair growth, as well. So, research confirmed that it can be applied on the scalp to stimulate hair growth.

It is an over-the-counter drug available in liquid form and foam form. Moreover, it is for topical use only.

The only downside to this drug is that it only works for as long as you keep using it. So, in order to keep your hair, you will have to use it daily otherwise hair fall will start again.

  1. Spironolactone

Another drug used to treat hair loss due to hormonal imbalance is spironolactone, otherwise known as Aldactone.

In some women, the production of male hormones or androgens becomes excessive which causes hair loss.

To treat such type of hair loss, spironolactone is prescribed. Note that it is a prescription medicine and will only be available on a doctor’s prescription.

  1. Iron Supplements

Sometimes, hair loss is caused by iron deficiency in women. In this case, the best treatment is to take the iron supplements that your doctor suggests.

Iron deficiency is quite common in women, especially if they are vegetarian, experience heavy bleeding during menstruation, or have anemia.

However, iron supplements will only cure hair loss if you have an iron deficiency. If a woman’s iron level is normal, she will experience side effects like constipation or an upset stomach.

  1. Estrogen Therapy

Another type of female hair loss treatment is estrogen therapy.

As the name suggests, it is used to balance a woman’s decreasing level of estrogen which is responsible for hair loss.

This therapy is now not as commonly used as it was a few years ago. The newer drugs, like Minoxidil, have replaced it as they have proved to be more effective. However, estrogen therapy still works for several patients.

  1. PRP Therapy

The platelet-rich plasma therapy is a female hair loss treatment that has proved quite effective over the years.

This therapy uses the patient’s own blood and extracts the plasma rich with platelets from it. The PRP is then injected into the scalp at bald spots.

This treatment has a very high success rate among women. It has stimulated regrowth in women after pregnancy as well as stress.

  1. HairMax Laser Comb

One of the latest female hair loss treatments is the HairMax Laser Comb or LaserBand.

As the name suggests, it is a comb or hairband like device that uses red light therapy. The red light stimulates circulation and triggers hair regrowth.

Although it has only been FDA-approved for men, women are also using it. And according to their reports, the results have been quite positive.

  1. Female Hair Transplant

The last one on this list is the female hair transplant. Although the success rate of this method may be the highest, we have kept it at the end of the list because it is an invasive method.

There are two common techniques used for hair transplants.

  1. Follicular Unit Transplant or FUT
  2. Follicular Unit Extraction or FUE

The surgeon determines which technique is more suitable for each patient.

It is a surgical procedure; therefore, the patient needs to be completely prepared before undergoing it. There may be temporary side effects but by following the doctor’s instructions they can be treated easily.

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The Final Verdict

To sum up, when it comes to treating female hair loss, there is no one size fits all formula. For some patients, medication may work fine while others may have no other option than getting a female hair transplant. So, we cannot label one female hair loss treatment as the best one and discard all others. This is a democracy and to each their own.


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Written By: Dr. Cagatay Sezgin

Dr. Cagatay Sezgin is a celebrity hair transplant surgeon with over 20 years of experience in hair transplantation and restoration. He is the First Turkish Board Surgeon to become a member of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) and the Asian Association of Hair Transplant Surgeons (AAHRS). Moreover, he has the honor of becoming the first hair transplant surgeon in the world to perform hair, eyebrow, and beard transplantation all in one case and that too in a single session.

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