Hair loss is a particularly stressful subject, especially for women. Research says that almost one-third of women experience hair loss at some point in their lives. The problem can intensify in some post-menopausal women, who may experience hair thinning as well as develop bald spots.
Studies say that female pattern hair loss is the most common form of alopecia (hair loss) in women. “Affected women may experience psychological distress and impaired social functioning. Early diagnosis and initiation of treatment are desirable because treatments are more effective to avoid the progression of hair loss than stimulating regrowth,” says a study.
So what do you do when you have hair loss? Dr Sangay Bhutia says the treatment available for hair loss can range from medication to change in hair products. Women who have some thinning in the parting region can perhaps change their hairstyle. For women with nutritional deficiencies, a diet rich in protein, vitamin, iron, zinc, or selenium is recommended. For those experiencing stress-related hair loss, managing stress may help.
In this part of the interview, Dr. Bhutia speaks about hair loss treatments and solutions in women. She is a hair transplant specialist and a member of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS).
Read about the causes of hair loss, and the role of nutrition here.
- Do oil massages help with hair loss and regrowth?
- One of the things that doctors recommend for hair loss is minoxidil, talk to me about it. How does it work?
- Tell us about hair transplant in women?
Do oil massages help with hair loss and regrowth?
When you massage your hair, it increases blood circulation to the scalp and hair follicles. This means that there will be better nutrition for the follicles, which will promote better hair growth. An oil massages also protects your hair from damage, it moisturises the hair and can improve hair thickness. It also nourishes hair tissue, and helps in preventing dandruff and adds shine. Hair massage can help in promoting better hair growth.
You can massage your hair with oil once or twice a week.
One of the things that doctors recommend for hair loss is minoxidil, talk to me about it. How does it work?
Minoxidil is an antihypertensive drug. When it was used as such, in some patients there was a visible improvement in hair density. This was a side effect of minoxidil. And since then it has been used as a medication to treat hair loss. Minoxidil stimulates the blood flow, and improves blood circulation. Better blood circulation in the scalp means more nutrition will be available for the hair follicles, and it will result in hair growth.
Minoxidil basically prevents further hair loss. It is a preventive medicine, it is not a curative medicine. As long as you apply this medicine, it will help. Minoxidil to your hair is like watering your plants everyday. As long as you do it, it will survive, but if you stop it, the plant will die.
One must also remember that there is no guarantee that it will help everybody. It takes about 2-3 months for minoxidil to show results. If women are using minoxidil, they need to try it for at least a few months, and if it helps, you should continue as long as you can. If you stop, hair loss may start again.
Talk to me about hair transplant in women?
It is very crucial to decide whether we should go in for a hair transplant in women suffering from hair loss or those who have bald patches. Generally in every patient, we first try medicines like Minoxidil, we don’t just jump into a hair transplant right away. If the medicines work, if the hair loss stabilises or stops, we continue with that. However, if the medicine doesn’t help and there is a definite bald patch, which cannot be covered cosmetically, then we can opt for a hair transplant.
For hair transplant, we extract hair follicles from the back of the head, and use them to fill up the bald or balding patches. The number of grafts (hair follicles) that we extract in women is about a 1,000, it depends on the severity of hair loss as well. In men, comparatively, the number of grafts can go up to about 6,000. The procedure is the same as it is in men. We administer local anaesthesia and we extract the grafts, and transplant them on to the bald or thinning patches. Before the surgery, we inspect the recipient area to determine how many grafts are needed, and then extract accordingly. We can’t waste grafts because women already have a smaller scalp size, compared to men. It takes about 6-8 months for the results to be visible. In the initial phase of transplant, they undergo a temporary shedding phase, and we advise them to use minoxidil along with some multivitamins. Women will see full regrowth in about a year, after which the hair will follow the normal cycle of growth.
Dr. Sangay Bhutia
Hair Transplant Expert
Dr. Sangay Bhutia has vast experience in the field of hair transplant and has been in this field for more than 12 years.
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