Medical Hair Restoration for Women Layton, UT
Medical Treatment for female-pattern hair loss differs slightly from that in men. First of all, the accurate and appropriate diagnosis should be made. In men, the vast majority of hair loss is genetic. In fact, genetic causes of hair loss is so common that the diagnostic workup is usually short and limited. But in women, although genetic pattern loss is most common, it is not overwhelmingly so. Consequently, when women have hair loss, other medical explanations should be explored. This usually includes blood tests and sometimes scalp biopsies.
- Minoxidil. Marketed under the trade name, Rogaine, is available for use in women at a lower dose strength (2% compared to 5% strength in men). The 2% is available as both a name-brand and as a generic (Sam’s Club). This medication, similar to that in men, is available without the need for a prescription.
- Spironolactone is another medication that is commonly used for female-pattern alopecia. This medication has been FDA approved as a blood pressure treatment for many years. Spironolactone works primarily as a diuretic, functioning in the kidney by blocking reabsorption of some of the electrolytes in the urine. This effectively increases urine output flushing out both water and electrolytes. One of the side-effects noted in those taking Spironolactone is increased hair growth!! Spironolactone has been found to be an androgen (masculinizing hormone) blocker, likely accounting for some of the beneficial affects on hair. While Spironolactone is not FDA approved for hair loss, it is commonly used off-label for this condition. Spironolactone is generally a safe and effective medication but comes with two notable side-effects. First, as a diuretic causing increased urine output, risk of dehydration increases. It is important to maintain adequate fluid intake to account for the increased urine output especially in dry/hot environments. Second, Spironolactone is a potassium-sparing diuretic. This means that potassium is selectively reabsorbed while some of the other electrolytes are blocked and ultimately flushed out in the urine. So, taking Spironolactone can cause an elevation in your blood potassium levels. While small changes in the potassium level is normal and not noticeable, large or dramatic changes can produce adverse symptoms and can be dangerous. So, if Spironolactone is recommended, frequent and regular checks of your blood potassium levels will be required. This includes before beginning treatment and during treatment. The vast majority of patients will see little to no change in their blood potassium levels during treatment, but ongoing tests are necessary to detect those rare situations where potassium levels rise to dangerous levels. Blood potassium levels are checked with a simple and commonly performed blood test done in most doctor’s offices.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a woman use the 5% Minoxidil that is designed for men? Yes, but would be considered off label use. Some of the complaints women will have when using the 5% strength is that the medication leaves the hair heavy/greasy and can be difficult to style. There is an added risk of unwanted facial hair growth when women use the 5% strength. This occurs despite the fact that the product is applied only to the scalp.
Does Propecia work for women? Except in cases where hair loss in a woman is caused by an abnormal elevation of male hormones (hyper-androgenic state), the answer is No. Hyper-androgenic states are those in which signs of female masculinization is seen. This would include facial hair growth, male pattern body hair growth, deepening of the voice, enlargement of the “adam’s apple” and others. If this is suspected, Propecia may be effective, but again, an appropriate medical work up is necessary.
Can you do Hair Transplantation in a woman? Absolutely. Women can be excellent candidates for hair transplant. The results can be dramatic. Only Dr. Bitner can decide who is and who is not a candidate for hair transplantation. Call or email today.
LLLT (Low Level Laser Therapy)
Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) has been a non-traditional treatment used for difficult conditions such as ulcers, headaches, chronic pain, etc… since the 1960’s with varying success. However, early on the benefits of LLLT for hair loss were widely recognized. In 2007 the FDA approved a device, the Hair Comb Max, for treatment of male-pattern baldness. The FDA approval studies showed that low level laser light, 650 nm light at 5 mW per laser diode, was both safe and effective at preventing hair loss and regrowing lost hair. In some cases, an increase in hair volume by as much as 20% was noted. While the exact mechanism of action is unknown, it is thought to work by:
- Increasing cell metabolism and the health of blood vessels in the scalp for thicker, supple and more durable hair shafts
- Stimulating the sebaceous glands for silkier-looking hair
- Increasing melanin production in the hair follicles, darkening gray hairs
One of the most difficult things with the Hair Comb Max is that the device is difficult and cumbersome to use. It much be physically combed through ones hair for 15 minutes at a time, every day.
At Utah Hair Restoration, we offer LLLT as both a single treatment regimen or in combination with other hair loss treatment modalities (transplant, medications, etc… ) The device we recommend is the Capillus cap. The benefits of the Capillus device are many:
- The Capillus Cap is now FDA approved. This verifies that the Capillus device has been deemed to be both safe and effective at treating hair loss through the rigorous testing process required by the FDA.
- Ease of use with a discrete cap and rechargeable battery pack (lasting up to 2 hours)
- Recommended that the device be used 7 days a week for 6 minutes at a time for maximum benefit
- Portable use that can be easily administered while performing your normal daily activities
- Excellent evidence supporting LLLT as an effective means of treating both male and female pattern hair loss
- Durability with a 5 year manufactures warranty
- Guaranteed to be effective or your money back- requires use at the recommended frequency
- Guarantee backed by Utah Hair Restoration- exclusive distributor of the Capillus device
If you think you are a candidate, please schedule an in-person consultation or video Skype consultation to discuss LLLT with Dr. Bitner.
Please go to the Capillus website for more details and information on the laser delivery system.
Other Medical Treatments of Female Hair Loss
Similar to male hair loss, there are many, many treatments for hair loss. Combs, shampoos, ointments, creams, lasers and more, are all available. However, the evidence supporting their use is limited. Confused by it all? Let Dr. Bitner help you decipher fact from fiction. Call or email to schedule an appointment today! Click HERE to send an email. Do you have questions you would like to run past Dr. Bitner.