Female Hair Loss
More widespread than was once believed, it is estimated that over 25 million American women suffer the effects of female hair loss and the emotional distress it causes. For many individuals, hair loss is not just a rather mysterious biochemical process, but an integral part of a positive self image.
The most common causes of hair loss in women are not related to inherited genes, but to temporary metabolic problems associated with pregnancy, unusual stress, chemotherapy, crash diets/anorexia, thyroid hormone deficiency, major surgery, severe infection or high fever. Certain drugs can also take their toll on once lush and healthy tresses. However, these conditions are usually temporary, and once the “trauma” is alleviated, the hair shedding stops and healthy regrowth occurs with time.
“Female pattern” hair loss is another matter. Unlike men, women rarely become “bald” in the true sense, but many experience significant overall thinning and a reduction in hair shaft diameter, particularly around the forehead and crown of the scalp as they age. Most often, this pattern begins to develop at around age 40 or with the onset of menopause. In fact, before menopause about 13 percent of women experience hair thinning. After menopause, reporting of the problem from women increases to about 37 percent.
Estrogen levels decline in the skin with age. Before menopause, various forms of estrogen block or “oppose” the steroid hormone responsible for hair loss (testosterone) resulting in low levels of DHT (dihydrotestosterone) being produced in the skin and follicle region. Once females enter menopause, their levels of estrogen decline and more testosterone is then bio-available to be converted to DHT (the known cause of non-traumatic hair loss) in the root bulb and stem cell regions. This results in a shorter hair growth cycle, finer hair and eventually, general effluvium or shedding. As women enter their 80s and 90s, the follicle itself can shrink and stop producing hair completely.
The reason that women experience hair loss during and after menopause is that their estrogen levels decline. Various forms of estrogen can "oppose" androgens and thereby reduce their availability to the cell, by blocking androgen receptors.
Finasteride blocks circulating androgen, but there is also androgen made in the skin. This androgen is normally blocked, in part, by estrogens made in the skin.
Without the opposing estrogen in the skin of women, which declines dramatically at onset of menopause, more androgen remains bio-available to the the follicle root bulb and stem cell regions and is converted to DHT locally.
A new, natural approach has been developed by Xenna Corporation, which manufactures a localized DHT blocker in topical form marketed under the trade name 183™ Topical Solution. 183™ TS is designed to counteract the gradual increase in DHT production in the follicle caused by the loss of estrogen. By preventing the metabolism of DHT in the scalp through temporarily lowering the pH in the follicle region, enzymes used by testosterone to produce DHT are shut down. At a lower pH, the activity of these enzymes (5 alpha reductase types 1 and 2) is stopped for five or six hours. According to the manufacturer, if 183™ TS is applied at least three times a day, it is believed DHT levels are lowered sufficiently to allow the root bulb and stem cells to return to pre-menopausal productivity rates. This results in the observed cessation of shedding and thicker, healthier hair throughout the forehead and crown regions within two to four months.
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