Saturday, January 19, 2008

Hair Loss in Women

Hair loss in women who have PCOS is a very common problem. The reason that women don't grow new hair is not totally understood, but in the case of women with PCOS, excessively high levels of androgens (male hormones) are thought to be primarily responsible.

A male hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is converted from testosterone, binds to sites on hair follicles and appears to make the follicles go into their "resting" phase sooner, which in turn starts to cause the hairs produced by those follicles to become thinner and thinner with each growth cycle.

Women with high or increasing levels of androgens, such as women with PCOS or who are menopausal, may find that the hair on the head is thinned, while facial hair is coarser. Although new hair is not produced, the follicles remain alive, suggesting the possibility of new hair growth.

So what can they do about it? One option for treating hair loss is with the use of medications. The only drug or medication approved by the FDA to treat female pattern baldness is Minoxidil, used topically on the scalp. Minoxidil was discovered before the 1980's but was used to treat high blood pressure, not baldness. However, those that tried the product found they had an unusual side effect.... hair growth!

Another medication that is not recommended for women, but does work well with men is Finasteride (Procerin).

You can read more about hair loss and check out the discussion board for those that suffer from hair loss over at

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