Treatments that offer hope to Hair Loss sufferers
Many people experiencing premature hair loss simply resign themselves to a process that is as inevitable as growing old. This is a positive and healthy reaction to what is a natural process for many. But for others the onset of premature balding or excessive hair loss represents a traumatic development that causes untold worry and suffering. This too is a legitimate reaction regardless of whether the hair loss is caused by hereditary factors or some other more complex cause.
Should these sufferers just grin and bear it? No, they should not because there are a number of potentially effective treatments they could utilize, depending on the nature of their hair loss. In this article I will outline some of the most popular hair loss treatments currently available in order to reinforce the fact that hair loss can be treated. The next article in the series will look closely at the treatment regimes best suited to specific ailments such as alopecia areata and telogen effluvium.
At present only two medications have been approved as hair loss treatments by the FDA. These are minoxidil, better known as Rogaine, and finasteride, better known as Propecia. Several other drugs have proven to be effective in combating hair loss, dutasteride for example, but have not yet been approved for this particular use.
Finasteride was originally developed to treat enlarged prostate conditions but a low dose version was subsequently approved for the treatment of hair loss in men. It tackles the causes of male pattern baldness by preventing the conversion of 5-alpha-reductase into DHT. Given that DHT is the main male hormone linked to hair loss, reducing its production by two thirds has a major impact on controlling this type of baldness.
Research has shown that 83% of men studied were able to maintain their hair count and 64% experienced regrowth by the end of a two year period. It should be noted that finasteride is approved for use by men only as the drug can have serious effects on unborn male fetuses. Women should therefore only consider using this drug under the strict supervision of a physician.
Dutasteride (Avodart) is a new medication for use in treating prostate conditions and, although not yet approved for the treatment of hair loss, it does offer exciting possibilities. It works in a similar way to finasteride but reputedly reduces overall DHT production by over 93%. As is the case with finasteride, women should consult their physician before using dutasteride.
Minoxidil (Rogaine) is the other hair loss treatment approved by the FDA and it is the only anti-baldness drug approved for women. Applied topically, its main benefit is its ability to stimulate regrowth thus reversing the effects of pattern baldness. Many users combine the application of minoxidil with other hair loss treatments like Propecia to achieve maximal results, but others experience satisfactory outcomes using minoxidil on its own.