However, what about women? It has been well documented that women lose their hair as well, although not in the same fashion as males, who tend to suffer from male pattern baldness at the upper temples (the receding hairline) and the crown of the head. Women, it has been observed, tend to lose their hair gradually across their entire scalp by way of a gradual thinning.
That said, there is an equal concern with women, as there are with men, with regard to hair loss with age. And while toupees for men, and wigs for women are one form of counteracting hair loss, many continue to seek a more permanent and lasting response.
To that end an article written by Datuk Dr. Nor Ashkin Mokhtar earlier this month and posted at www.star2.com (11/08/17) explains in a more scientific fashion the differences with regard to hair loss in women v. men.
“As its name would suggest, androgenetic alopecia is primarily due to the presence of male androgen hormones, like testosterone,” Dr. Mokhtar writes.
“Or so it was thought. More recent studies have found that technically, it isn’t just the levels of testosterone in the system per se that causes hair loss, but the conversion of the hormone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which binds to receptors on hair follicles.”
Mokhtar goes on to advocate towards leading a healthier lifestyle – “including getting enough sleep, exercising regularly and eating a well-balanced diet, optimizing your hormones – will do your body wonders overall, and should mitigate temporary hair loss, she writes.”
Failing that Dr. Mokhtar, the founder and Executive Chairman of PrimaNora Medical Centre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and a Senior Consultant Obstetrician, Gynaecologist & Healthy Aging Specialist, identifies minoxidil (Rogaine) and finasteride (Propecia) as a potential hedge against hair loss for both men and women.
Yes, and that association is not new. The publication Consumer Reports was writing about this as far back as 2011, noting that hair loss affects more than 30 million women in the US. In an article entitled ‘Can You Treat Women’s hair Loss with a Drug Used for Men?’ the authors noted that finasteride carries approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treatment of hair loss in men, as well as to reduce symptoms of prostate cancer in higher doses. Propecia does not carry FDA approval for use with women, although doctors have the authority to prescribe any drug off-label to their patients beyond the limits of FDA authority, based on a doctor’s medical training, and knowledge of both the patient and the drug at hand.
“If a woman has female pattern hair loss and elevated androgen levels that we can document, then she is likely to respond to treatments that block or decrease androgens, and finasteride is an option,” said Elise A. Olsen, M.D., in 2011 a professor of dermatology and oncology and director of the Hair Disorders Research and Treatment Center at Duke University Medical Center, in comments to Consumer Reports (06/11). “But often we will try it even in women who don’t have elevated androgen levels because other treatment options are very limited, and these women may have a sensitivity to androgens at the cellular level of the hair follicle that we can’t document.”
Propecia finasteride has been used effectively in men towards the restoration, and/or preservation of their hair. US President Donald Trump has been famously framed as a consumer of Propecia. However, many men have encountered Propecia sexual dysfunction that failed to self-restore when the medication was stopped, and have filed Propecia impotence lawsuits in kind.
Would Propecia have a similar effect on women?
It doesn’t appear to. Propecia side effects encountered by women for whom Propecia had been prescribed, or in association with those who have participated in the few studies that exist with regard to finasteride use with women, included “increased body hair, sweating and hot flashes, and headaches were reported during clinical studies of women receiving finasteride,” Consumer Reports opines, “but those effects were also noted in women not receiving the medication.
“Finasteride should be used with caution by people with liver abnormalities because the drug is extensively metabolized in the organ.”
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In sum, Propecia sexual dysfunction as a Propecia finasteride side effect in women does not appear to be an issue. The potential for Propecia birth defect, however, appears to be a valid concern.