Did you know 40 percent of Americans suffering from permanent hair loss are women?
Well, it's true.
According to Dr. Robert Leonard, considered one of America's top authorities on hair restoration, there are some unique aspects to female hair loss and the options available to women. America Now host, Bill Rancic, recently interviewed Dr. Leonard.
BILL: Can you explain the difference between male hair loss and female hair loss?
DR. LEONARD: A big difference in the pattern of the hair loss of women is that they typically don't get a receded hairline and a bald spot like a guy does. They tend to have the hairline maintained, and then behind the hairline, all the way back to the crown, it's a more diffuse pattern. The part at the top of the head gets widened.
BILL: Do women have hair loss at a younger age, like men when it starts developing?
DR. LEONARD: Hair loss in women can happen at any age, from the late teens until the early 20's... a lot of women on birth control pills, for example, will experience typically a temporary hair loss. When starting or stopping birth control, there can be a shed that occurs. And then later on in a woman's life, hormonal changes can occur and they can also put the hair cycle into a panic and hair will fall out.
BILL: You mentioned hormones, and that affecting the hair loss. Can we elaborate on that a little bit more?
DR. LEONARD: A very difficult time for women is after menopause. Estrogen is good for the hair, and as estrogen goes away post-menopause, women tend to have a significant amount of hair loss. Thyroid disease is much more common in women, and can cause thinning hair.
BILL: What should women do if they start to notice they have thinning hair?
DR. LEONARD: Women should seek the expertise of a hair restoration surgeon initially to determine exactly what the cause is, because it may be genetics. But it may be some other medical cause, so we do a full work-up. And if there's something that's not right in the lab value, they can see an endocrinologist or family doctor to work that out.
BILL: If it is genetic, are the treatments for women the same as men?
DR. LEONARD: Minoxidil or Rogaine is available for women. It's a very effective treatment. Low-level laser therapy is also, as well as hair transplantation. Propecia cannot be used for women because it can cause a potential birth defect.
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