About a year ago I noticed when showering that quite a few hairs were exiting my scalp. At first I paid this minimal attention but a few weeks later, I realized that I could look ‘right through’ my hair as though each strand was standing alone in a nearly empty forest. They were few and far between and dropping like flies. At this point, panic set in: I was losing my hair. Does this sound like you? The most common cause of progressive hair loss in women is Female Pattern Hair Loss (FPHL). Also known as androgenetic alopecia, FPHL affects about 30 million American women, the equivalent of about 40% of US women.
FPHL has a distinct appearance – the hair thins mainly on the top and crown of the scalp, often beginning with a widening and lengthening of the center hair part. Each hair becomes thin and fragile with an increase in breakage. In addition, the hairs easily separate from the scalp. This pattern of hair loss is characterized by thinning of hair all over the scalp but rarely leads to complete baldness. Unlike men, there is not much recession of the hairline. Although in my case, I definitely experienced recession of the hairline and don’t know if that will recover.
There are many triggers contributing to hair loss but the common denominator is a shift in hormone balance. In our case, a reduction in estrogen results in a higher concentration of testosterone and another hormone called DHT. DHT shrinks hair follicles, causing them to loosen and shed and can cause their gradual disappearance. This can lead to scarring of the scalp and a diminished superficial blood supply, thus the inability to produces more follicles. The average scalp is home to about 100,000 hairs and each one has its own life cycle. A follicle produces a single hair that grows at a rate of half an inch per month. It hangs in there for 2 to 6 years, then stops for about a month. When the next cycle starts up, that hair falls out. At any given time, most of your locks are in the growth phase. Most people shed about 50-100 strands every day. Don’t worry if you find a few in your hairbrush or on your clothes. But if it starts to fall out in clumps or if you notice it getting thinner over time, seek some guidance. The kinds of things that can lead to FPHL are stress, medical issues, thyroid gland dysfunction, chemo therapy, radiation, pregnancy, abortion, menopause, autoimmune disorders, tight hair fasteners- elastics, weaves, overdone chemical treatments, among others. In my case, a serious medical condition and its associated stress were the likely culprits.
So, what to do? It’s important to see your medical doctor to assess your health and offer insight. There could be a cause for the hair loss of which you are totally unaware. I learned that a serious yet relatively silent infection was throwing my body into chaos and I underwent surgery to resolve the problem. My experience was the impetus for exploring the role of Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) as a safe solution to treat my hair loss. Over the next 4 -6 months I was amazed — and incredibly relieved — to see thicker and denser hair along with new hair growth. Ten months later, I think things are pretty much corrected.
As you can see from the photo in this blog of my scalp, I’m a believer! The before and after shots should make anyone interested in tackling their hair loss, male or female, interested in booking a consultation with me to learn more. Also be sure to check out the videos we have on our video page. One is a 50-year-old male who has now undergone two of three anticipated PRP hair restoration procedures. We’ve also got a video from a recent PRP Open House we had in our offices of one of my pals, Tom, getting the procedure. You’ll see it’s quick and relatively painless, even though Tom supposedly has a “block head” (according to him!). For any woman experiencing hair loss or hair thinning, I would strongly recommend PRP as your best shot at a safe and predictable recovery. Remember, PRP will stimulate new hair follicle growth and restore circulation to your scalp. It’s as easy as 1-2-3 and nothing is safer! Please call with any questions!