What is the treatment of androgenetic alopecia like?
Treatment of androgenetic alopecia may consist of oral pharmacological agents, topical therapies, treatments to support new hair growth and reduce the negative effects of the disease on the hair follicles, or hair transplantation. It is primarily focused on limiting the progression of the disease and constantly masking its symptoms. They are selected individually to the patient’s case.
In the absence of contraindications, you can choose to treat with several methods at the same time. Women experience androgenetic alopecia slightly differently than men, so treatment may differ even for the different sexes. It can also have various causes that increase your risk of developing the disease. Among them are diseases of the thyroid and ovaries and Cushing’s syndrome. People with a history of the disease in the family are more prone to it.
Indications for treatment
The indication for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia in both women and men is a visible reduction in the volume of hair, its density and too much hair loss. Some patients suffering from androgenetic alopecia also complain of symptoms such as itching and dandruff or excessive oily scalp.
When treating alopecia, we also deal with these symptoms. The most important indication for treatment is discomfort and malaise related to the emerging symptoms.
Contraindications to treatment
Contraindications for this treatment depend on the chosen method. We distinguish permanent contraindications that, when present, completely exclude the use of a given method, and temporary contraindications that can be removed and then treated without fear. In the case of hair transplants, contraindications are pregnancy and breastfeeding, advanced autoimmune diseases, blood clotting disorders, cardiovascular diseases, diseased scalp or poor test results qualifying for the procedure. If we want to use minoxidil, the scalp must not be damaged or diseased – there must be no wounds, irritations, spots or scales. You should not use other medications or topical cosmetics with minoxidil, but it is ultimately the doctor’s decision. Treatment with finasteride is not recommended in women of childbearing potential or during pregnancy, as administered in such a situation may lead to irreversible damage to the fetus. It is not known whether the drug passes into breast milk and its safety in children has not been established.
The course of the treatment
It should be remembered that the best results are always achieved in patients who have managed to recognize the disease early and start treating it immediately, so it is not worth delaying a visit to a trichologist.
Treatment of androgenic hair loss begins with a medical consultation, during which a thorough history is made regarding the genetic burden of the disease in the family, symptoms, their duration, medications taken and the presence of other diseases. Then, the necessary tests to confirm the presence of the disease and verify its causes are ordered – blood tests, hormonal tests, examination of the scalp, and sometimes also trichoscopy.
Histopathological examinations are relatively rare, but in more complex cases their order may be justified. After collecting and analyzing all available data, the appropriate treatment method is selected in consultation with the patient.
The doctor also makes sure that there are no contraindications to the use of a particular method. Later, it is only important to follow medical recommendations and regularly control the effects of therapy.
Treatment of androgenetic alopecia
In the treatment of androgenetic alopecia, we can mention the following methods:
Minoxidil therapy – in the form of preparations with various concentrations of substances that are applied topically to the scalp. Minoxidil increases the blood supply to the hair follicles, inhibits the negative impact of the disease and accelerates the regrowth of new hair after transplantation. However, it should be remembered that its use, like any other drug, is associated with the risk of side effects.
Oral pharmacological agents – most often treatment with finasteride, which reduces the effect of the enzyme causing shrinkage and damage to the hair follicles, and consequently also hair loss. The drug is used in men. It also has side effects, but the effects achieved with it can be spectacular.
Hair transplantation – often proving to be the most effective step in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia. It involves the transplantation of healthy hair follicles in the parts of the head that are affected by the disease. Thanks to it, you can change the line on which the hair runs, thicken it or cause it to grow in the place where baldness was previously visible. The hair that grows out of the transplanted follicles does not fall out, especially if the cause of the disease was genetic. They are resistant to the effects of the substance that causes hair loss in androgenetic alopecia.
Side activities – related to the selection of appropriate care for the disease, as well as getting rid of symptoms such as dandruff or seborrhea. Among the measures that may contribute to solving the problem of additional activities, one can also distinguish diet adjustment, analysis of medications taken, blood tests or regulating the hormonal situation of the body.
Treatment of androgenetic alopecia in a nutshell
The results of treatment in androgenetic alopecia vary depending on the individual susceptibility to it and the methods used. Combined therapies, such as the simultaneous use of topical preparations with the use of oral medications, give very good results.
Hair transplants, if there are no complications during the procedure or the recovery period, give spectacular results and allow you to completely forget about the disease. However, you should wait a few months for the final results. To strengthen some of the treatments used, you can opt for cosmetic treatments that will complement them. However, such a desire should be consulted with the attending physician in advance.