Many women notice some level of hair thinning after having a baby. The amount of hair shed is pretty variable, but for some women it can be a significant amount of loss. The shedding tends to peak right around 4 months after delivery, but the good news is this type of hair loss is not permanent. Falling estrogen levels are the culprit for post partem hair loss and the changing hormone levels cause healthy hair to be “shocked” into shedding phases. The hair then returns to growth phases over the following few months. Usually by about a year after having a baby, a woman’s hair has returned to its previous thickness.
So what can be done to prevent it? For a long time, recommendations like eating healthy and taking vitamins were the only recommendations to try to combat post partum loss. Since the development of hair injections like PRP (platelet rich plasma), there is another treatment option. PRP acts almost like a fertilizer for the hair follicle by releasing growth factors right at the level of the follicle. This fertilizer helps to keep the hairs from shedding and can increase the speed at which hairs return after they have shed. PRP has given women a chance to get ahead of post partum hair and even acts as a treatment after the shedding has started.
For many years, oral finasteride has been the only option to maintain and preserve native hair. Finasteride has been proven to be the gold standard for preserving and thickening native hair in men. However, the side effect profile is unpleasant as the most common side effects are sexual, including erectile dysfunction and decreased libido. Many men are faced with the decision of accepting sexual side effects or stopping the finasteride completely.
However, there is a newer option for men who want the benefit of finasteride but are having side effects. Finasteride, applied topically, has proven to have a similar efficacy as oral finasteride, but a vastly decreased side effect profile since so much less of the drug is absorbed systemically. The studies show significantly decreased hair loss when used daily. This topical finasteride is typically mixed with minoxidil and the finasteride/minoxidil mix is a great combo for combatting hair loss by attacking it from 2 different angles.
Topical finasteride still isn’t covered by insurance so it tends to be slightly more expensive than oral finasteride, but for men who see side effects from oral finasteride, it is worth the extra cost. Many patients start on it who are worried about the side effects of oral finasteride as well. It is easily applied as a gel or oil and once massaged into the scalp, gets absorbed quickly. For men looking to attack hair loss aggressively, topical finasteride is a great new option.
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