No one wants to lose their hair, but for a woman it is particularly distressing. While men can look perfectly presentable — even sexy — with their exposed scalp, no such options exist for the 30 million American women who grapple with thinning tresses. Dr. Maria Colavincenzo, a dermatologist at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, has a practice that specializes in preserving those precious strands — especially in cases of androgenetic alopecia, a hereditary condition that causes hair loss, mainly on the top and crown of the scalp. Without an appointment, she answered some of our questions:
Dutasteride is a 5-alpha-reductase inhibitor that binds both types I and II enzymes. Compared with finasteride, its inhibition of type II enzymes is three times more potent; its inhibition of type I enzymes is 100 times more potent (Clark et al., 2004). Dutasteride is not approved for the treatment of FPHL by the FDA, and ongoing studies on the efficacy of the inhibitor are promising but largely focus on male patients (Gupta and Charrette, 2014, Olsen et al., 2006). A study of women after 3 years of therapy showed that dutasteride may be more effective than finasteride in women under 50 years of age as measured by hair thickness (not hair density) at the center and vertex scalp (Boersma et al., 2014). One case report of a 46-year-old female with FPHL showed some response after 6 months of treatment with a dose of 0.5-mg dutasteride daily despite a minimal response to treatment with finasteride and minoxidil (Olszewska and Rudnicka, 2005). Data with regard to the treatment side effects in women is extremely limited. Dutasteride is classified as pregnancy category X because of teratogenicity and should have the same theoretical risk of breast cancer as mentioned in relation to finasteride (Kelly et al., 2016).
During pregnancy, high concentration of estrogen levels in women result in the development of thicker, stronger, longer and healthier looking hair. Following pregnancy however, women tend to fret and think that they’re losing their hair when in fact they’re merely shedding the excess hair that the excess oestrogen created. The hair that was in a prolonged anagen stage are now all shifting into telogen (resting phase) to make way for new hair growth. This type of hair loss is comes under the condition known as telogen effluvium but the good news is that when oestrogen levels have returned to normal, your hair will too.