Women Hair Loss, Pregnancy and Thyroid Problems

Q:

Dear Dr. Mohebi,

I am a resident of xxx. I read about you through internet. I have been suffering from frontal baldness. It started about six years back during my pregnancy. I have used minoxidil twice during this period but for around 6 or 7 months long and recently with minoxidil, i started getting burning sensation on my scalp. I have also taken homeopathic medication for about 2 years. I currently have cysts in the ovaries and thyroid problem which occurred recently. I am taking medication for them.

Sir, i am confused because before going for transplantation i wanted to know:

  1. The cause of hair loss
  2. Which test determines whether or not my follicles are dead.
  3. Is transplantation the only remedy and
  4. How far we are with the latest stem cell studies?

I am enclosing my hair pictures.

Thanks & Regards

A:

Here are your answers in the order you asked them:

The causes of hair loss

Causes of women hair loss vary in people. That variance is even more so in women as opposed to men. A precise determination cannot be easily made until you have had a complete consult and microscopic evaluation of your scalp and hair. Base on the information you have submitted up to now; it appear that you have hair loss in front with preserved donor hair on the sides and back of your scalp that seems like a androgenetic alopecia that can respond to hair transplantation in women.

Are my follicles dead?

Hair follicles usually don’t die immediately and your hair falls out. Baldness is due to a progressive changes in the hair follicle sizes that takes place over a long period of time. This process is unique to the person who is suffering from hair loss. This process medically known as hair miniaturization cause the hair shaft to get finer and finer over time.

Eventually the finer hairs are not even visible without microscope. A microscopic assessment of your scalp and hair or miniaturization study can determine how active your hair loss is.

Is hair transplantation the only option?

Hair transplant is generally a good option for women who have hair loss in a male patterned type (preserved hair quality on the back despite of thinning or balding of the front and top areas). You might also benefit from topical medications such as minoxidil, but it seems like you have had a reaction to it in the past. There are other topical medications that you can use such as ketoconazole solution which must be prescribed after evaluation by a doctor. In some cases ketoconazole may be as effective as minoxidil.

Your having androgenetic alopecia with history of ovarian cyst is an indicator that you have elevated male hormone levels. I think it is best if you could have a hormonal test to check the levels of your male hormones including  free and total levels of testosterone.

 The latests on hair stem cell transplant

Stem cell treatment for hair loss might be an option in the future. However, we are still not quite there and much more research should be done on the safety and efficiency of this treatment for male or female patterned baldness.