Hair loss is a major contributor to waning self-confidence and unhappiness and it affects so many! Indeed, 2 in 3 men experience male pattern baldness, and 40% of UK men experience hair loss before they are 35, but hair loss also affects women. This is called androgenetic alopecia, or male/female pattern baldness. There are many causes of hair loss but also multiple options on how to stop hair loss, including clinically trialled and approved medication.

Understanding what is causing your individual situation will provide you with the information and the best chance of working out how to stop hair loss. Our guide looks at the most common causes and concerns for those facing the challenges of hair loss. It’s important to bear in mind that all cases of hair loss are different, and one kind of medication or treatment might not be suitable for someone else.

What Causes Hair Loss In Women?

Hair loss severity in women can vary dramatically and is more common at certain stages of life. This is because hair loss and your hair growth cycle are affected by hormones. Therefore, many women can experience changes in their hair growth cycle (growing, resting and shedding) when experiencing an influx or dramatic change in their hormones, so during pregnancy, post-partum or menopause, women can experience an increased rate of natural hair loss. Hormonal hair loss can also be caused or worsened by conditions such as polycystic ovaries and hyperthyroidism. In these cases, particularly, medication can prevent continued hair loss but will not help to cover the baldness. For many women, this hair loss is irreversible but can also be natural thinning around the parting and crown of the head. Typically, male pattern baldness is more dramatic and noticeable.

Androgenetic Alopecia

Androgenetic alopecia is also known as pattern baldness and occurs in both men and women. It can commonly occur any age after 12, but typically will begin before the individual turns 40 (most commonly in their 20s). Male pattern baldness affects the crown and hair line, whilst females experience a concentration of hair loss on the back of the forehead.

Androgenetic alopecia is named because it is caused by compromised or abnormal levels of the androgen hormone. A person’s receptiveness to this hormone is genetically transmitted from parents to their children and thus causes androgenetic alopecia, or male pattern baldness. Although this rarely causes other complications, scientists are investigating links between androgen, androgen receptors and medical conditions such as PCOS.

The androgen hormone that causes hair loss is called dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is the hormone that stimulates a lot of the changes during male (and female) puberty. However, amongst other things, DHT is noted to ‘shrink’ the hair follicles which impairs the scalps ability to regrow new hair.

So, are you wondering how you can control your production of DHT and how to stop hair loss? Medication can help control the body’s production of DHT, but certain factors can increase the body’s levels of DHT and thus increase the risk of hair loss. This includes anabolic steroid use.

Does Smoking Cause Hair Loss?

Studies do show that smoking and hair loss are linked. Smoking and nicotine will not be the sole cause of hair loss but rather the toxins and chemicals inside cigarettes that enter the blood stream and affect the hair follicles, limiting the production of new, healthy hairs. Smoking also affects blood flow and thus the movement of nutrients and proteins to the scalp. This also restricts the production of new hairs and thus hair appears to thin.

Smoking does not technically cause hair loss, but rather limits new healthy hair. This means if hair cannot regrow after natural shedding, hair will appear thinner and bald spots can begin to appear. One thing to bear in mind when considering how to stop hair loss is to stop smoking. Furthermore, those who smoke and are prone to male pattern baldness are at a greater risk of balding as follicles are not subject to a productive or healthy environment in which to grow.

How To Stop Hair Loss With Medication

There are two types of medication that are available in the UK with the appropriate levels of clinical testing and results to help stop hair loss. The only licensed oral medication to stop hair loss in men (male pattern baldness) is finasteride.

Finasteride is only appropriate for men who are over the age of 18. 1 tablet should be taken per day. Finasteride inhibits the production of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and is most suitable for those suffering from mild to moderate male pattern hair loss. Finasteride can help to stimulate regrowth and minimise hair loss as the medication inhibits the enzyme 5-alpha which converts other hormones (testosterone) into the more effective and potent, DHT.

As male hair loss typically only affects the hair on the scalp. Finasteride does not cause extra growth of body or facial hair in most cases. As with all medication, there can be side effects and all patients should consult the PIL prior to starting the program.

Finasteride results are impressive; unofficial studies show that 80% of those taking the medication recorded that they were able to maintain their hair follicles and appearance of hair, thus seeming to reduce the appearance of balding. However, 64% of people experienced regrowth over a two year period, these rates also increase with prolonged courses of medication. Formal studies that are accredited note that almost half of people experienced hair preservation or regrowth. All patients should be aware that results depend on continued use for a minimum of 3-6 months.

Propecia is the official branded name for Finasteride.

Alternative Methods For Preventing Hair Loss

When considering how to stop hair loss, patients will need to consider their costs, the success of their proposed hair loss treatment and the cause of their hair loss. Medication is a cost-effective way to combat male pattern hair loss as other, natural remedies or alternate options cannot stimulate the hormonal production or receptors. Long term solutions, such as hair transplant or surgery, can be extremely expensive and have an increased risk to the patient, as opposed to finasteride or hair loss medication. External factors such as the quality of the surgeon also cannot be controlled but can impair the success of regrowth or new hair. Medication also makes hair growth appear natural over time and handles hair loss with discretion; hair transplants are obvious for all to see.

If you are considering your options for how to stop hair loss, Post My Meds can help. We can help you combat male pattern baldness or androgenetic alopecia with discretion and sensitivity. Complete our online survey, today!

Authored Sep 24, 2019 by Joseph Issac, MPharm
Reviewed Sep 24, 2019 by Prabjeet Saundh, MPharm

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