Though hair fall does not cause any problem on health, daily life, and efficiency or productivity of individuals, hair fall, especially in early age, may have a serious psychological effect, hair fall may be emotionally distressing. Probably the best solution is to accept reality. But there are various scientifically proven treatments to prevent or at least reduce hair fall. Sometimes people become very desperate and follow whatever is prescribed by others. In this era of market economy, we are bombarded by commercials of hair fall prevention products. Some claiming to prevent hair loss totally, some products are claiming to regrow hair on the scalp like young age. Even many surgical solutions are available. Americans spend more than three and half billion US dollars every year to prevent hair fall and to regrow hair. Do they work? Unfortunately, most of those do not work and some methods are not accepted or recommended by the medical community. It’s a wastage of money and time. So you need to act wisely.
So what is the solution?
First of all, there is no magical solution to hair fall problem. But there are some drugs and surgical procedures. At first, you need to check whether these drugs are approved. American Hair Loss Association advises to avoid hair loss drugs not approved by US FDA and only two drugs are approved for hair loss treatment, these are Minoxidil (Rogaine) and Finasteride (Propecia).
So will you start taking those? One of the two drugs is a prescription drug. I will discuss about these drugs little later.
Remember drugs may not be the only solution and there is no guarantee that these drugs will work for you. So you need to find the underlying reason. In my previous articles, I have discussed that hairs have a life cycle, and losing around a hundred hairs a day is normal, so there is nothing to worry. But if you think your hair fall rate is higher than normal and you fear you are suffering from alopecia you need to find possible causes behind that.
Finding causes is part of hair fall treatment
Yes, finding causes is part of hair fall treatment because there are chances that hair fall drugs are not essential for you. Maybe your problem will go away automatically after some months; maybe you are not taking a balanced diet. Protein deficiency may be causing hair fall. So pay enough attention to your diet. Besides protein make sure you are taking sufficient vitamins A, B, E, and omega-3. Little increment of these nutrients on your daily menu may help reducing hair fall.
In many cases, stress is another cause of hair fall. Ask yourself whether you are stressed and if yes try to handle it with exercise, yoga. Swimming, running, or playing is very effective for stress management.
Maybe your hair fall is caused by other diseases like lupus, so proper treatment and management of these types of diseases will prevent hair loss.
Maybe your hair loss is the side effect of some drugs. Hair loss is a common side effect of chemotherapy. Not all anticancer drugs cause hair loss. So consult your doctor if there is any scope to minimize hair loss.
I have discussed about possible causes of hair loss, determining the cause, and taking proper steps may help you to combat hair fall. Before discussing about hair fall drugs, I think a few words on natural and home remedy may be useful.
Massaging with oil:
You can massage your scalp with almond, sesame, olive oil, or egg oil. These oils are good for your skin and massaging with warm oil promotes blood circulation which promotes hair growth.
Massaging with green tea, aloe vera, methi, neem paste, and onion juice is also useful.
So if you have changed your lifestyle, having adequate sleep, eating properly, cured or controlled diseases which may cause hair fall, you are sure that your hair fall isn’t side effect of other drugs, you are doing exercise regularly and tried natural and home remedies then it’s time for drugs to prevent hair loss.
As I mentioned in the beginning you should only try drugs endorsed by the scientific community. You can check whether that is approved by US FDA. Your dermatologist will decide which drug is most suitable for you. The drug treatment pattern for male and female is little different.
Drugs for hair loss in men
Two drugs are approved for hair loss among men: Finasteride and Minoxidil.
Finasteride: Finasteride is the generic name of the drug. This drug was originally developed for the treatment of enlarged prostate gland. During the clinical trial, an unexpected result was found. That is, the side effect of the drug was hair growth. Later this drug was approved for hair loss treatment. It was the first drug in history which was effective in treating male pattern baldness. This drug has some side effects including headache, dizziness, impotence, and skin rash. So you should consult your doctor before taking it.
Minoxidil: In the early days’ Minoxidil was used in pill form to treat hypertension. Like Finasteride, doctors noticed that growing hair is one of the side effects of the drug. Later it was discovered that Minoxidil is more effective if applied directly on the scalp. This drug slows down hair loss and usually effect goes away when you stop using the drug. If Finasteride fails to bring positive effect your doctor may prescribe Minoxidil.
Drugs for hair loss in women
Treatment for female pattern baldness is little complicated. Doctors are reluctant to use hair loss drugs on women. Because before prescribing doctors need to know the underlying cause of hair loss. If hair loss is because of excess androgen hormone or over sensitivity to the hormone then doctors may prescribe some drugs to be administrated orally. Otherwise, they go for drugs administrated on the scalp.
Another point you can note that, if female pattern baldness is due to excess androgen hormone or over sensitivity to the hormone then it’s better to start treatment early otherwise it may be too late. Unfortunately, only one drug is approved by FDA to treat female pattern baldness and that is Minoxidil.
Minoxidil for women
I mentioned above that Minoxidil isn’t a very effective drug to treat hair loss men. But it works better for women. Minoxidil 2% and Minoxidil 5% solution is available in the market. FDA only recommends 2% solution and it’s for applying directly on the scalp. Though Small scale clinical trials found 5% solution is more effective. It takes several months to see the effect. It may reduce hair loss and may regrow hair on the scalp. But it may not work at all.
Some other treatments for women
Yes, only one drug is approved to treat hair loss among women. Don’t worry some other treatments are available. Excessive androgen hormone or oversensitivity to it may cause hair loss in women. Some drugs work as an inhibitor for androgen hormone, which includes Spironolactone, Cimetidine, Cyproterone Acetate. So your doctor may prescribe these drugs. Other treatments include Estrogen/Progesterone hormone therapy. And oral contraceptives can also treat alopecia. You may think oral contraceptives may be taken without a prescription from doctor, so let’s try. Remember oral contraceptives have some side effects and only low androgen index contraceptives may be taken for alopecia treatment. So you should talk to your doctor for a better understanding.
If the solution is beyond the ability of medication then surgery may be the light in the darkness. Recently the surgical option has become more popular as it is more improved and safer than ever.
Hair transplant is the restoration process of your hair problem. In this method, the hair follicles are transplanted from the donor area to the affected area. The surgeon collects the follicles from the predetermined are plant it on the scalp. During the operation, the patient may experience bleeding on the scalp. That’s why it is a painful process for the patient. At the same time, it is expensive also.
There are some other types of hair fall treatments that are less expensive without any side effects. These are hair fiber powders, Hairpiece or wigs, and weaves.