Alopecia in women and men
Is it possible to cure baldness?
Androgenic alopecia – the problem of the century
Hair thinning can be a cosmic problem – if it is not permanent. For example, if it manifests itself seasonally, in November and March-April, then this may be due to hypovitaminosis and a decrease in the body’s defenses. However, hair loss is often not an aesthetic defect, but a dermatological disease – baldness (alopecia). In this case, the cosmetics are useless, and a competent beautician will refer you to a dermatologist.
Androgenic alopecia in women and men – one of the most common types of alopecia. Western statistics show that up to 33% of men and 65% of women have signs of androgen-specific (or androgenetic) alopecia. And among all types of alopecia, this type of baldness is 95% for men and 90% for women. In addition, this type of baldness is very difficult to cure, firstly, because it is associated with hormonal imbalance, and secondly, because hormonal disorders are often associated with a genetic predisposition (androgenetic baldness).
If men diagnose androgenic alopecia simply because of characteristic clinical signs, then women can be diagnosed quickly only if other signs are present along with progressive thinning and hair loss – excessive body hair (hirsutism), seborrhea and acne. In other cases, microscopic examination of hair follicles and other diagnostic methods are necessary.
The main mechanism of hormonal alopecia is associated with the effect on the hair follicles of the male hormone testosterone, or rather its most active incarnation – dihydrotestosterone (DHT). At the same time, hair loss is caused by either a high content of DHT, or an increased sensitivity of the hair follicles to certain areas of the scalp to it.
Particularly sensitive to DHT follicles are in men on the frontal, parietal and occipital parts of the head, which determines the pattern of male pattern baldness. In women, on the frontal part of the head, the receptors sensitive to DHT are 40% less than in men, which saves them from bald patches, and on the back of the head there are almost none.
The effect of DHT on the androgen receptors reduces the growth phase of sensitive follicles, as a result of which they begin to produce thin and weak hair, and, ultimately, atrophy. At the same time, both men and women with androgenic alopecia do not show any significant increase in testosterone levels, since only its active form, DHT, plays a role.
Testosterone is produced in both men and women, both the sex glands and the adrenal glands. However, it can turn into DHT or female hormones – estrogens, under the action of enzymes. The enzyme 5-alpha reductase converts testosterone to DHT, and the enzyme aromatase, on the contrary, restores DHT back to testosterone and turns testosterone into estrogens. Therefore, the main direction of treatment of androgenic alopecia – antiandrogen therapy – based on the management of these two enzymes – inhibition of 5-alpha reductase and, conversely, activation of aromatase.
Since androgenic alopecia is associated with genetic factors, it is clear that if there are alopecia genes, it is difficult to recover completely. Popular drugs – minoxidil and finasteride – in some cases give good results, which, however, are not persistent and quickly regress after the end of treatment.
At the same time, the first results of minoxidil use appear several months after the start of treatment, and noticeable success is achieved only after 10-12 months, and not at all – the best results are given by minoxidil treatment of female alopecia: 40% of cases are successful. However, with the abolition of the drug is restored to the original condition of the hair.
In men, androgenic alopecia is better treatable with finasteride – in 60% of cases, the treatment is also long, and the result is unstable. With a long-standing smooth bald head hair growth is not restored, no matter how stubborn the treatment. In these cases, the only way out is surgical hair restoration.
However, with finasteride, in some cases, men experience sexual problems in the form of impotence, loss of libido and a decrease in the amount of sperm. Therefore, firstly, many men simply refuse such treatment in favor of cosmetic surgery, and secondly, when taking finasteride, it is also advisable to take stimulants of potency, for example, L-arginine or yohimbe.
The cure for baldness causes impotence
The US regulatory authorities (FDA) have discovered the side effects of anti-baldness drugs and the treatment of prostate adenoma. They have a negative effect on libido.
We are talking about drugs Propecia and Proscar, manufactured by pharmaceutical giant Merck. The active ingredient of these drugs, finasteride, blocks the activation of the male sex hormone testosterone. Proscar is a remedy for prostate adenoma, and Propecia is a treatment for baldness. The men who took them note a decrease in libido and a violation of ejaculation.
Due to the potential danger of these drugs for the sexual health of men, the FDA obliged Merck to publish additional data on possible side effects of the drug.
So now the prospects for a complete victory over androgenic alopecia look pretty dull, especially for men. Moreover, finasteride, for example, in Russia is not even among the approved drugs. However, there are certain data that give hope for the best.
In the long run, this is a discovery made by scientists from the University of Miami. They found that in the body of balding men aromatase enzyme is not sufficient. If the level of this enzyme is low, then the hair follicles die. Dr. Marta Savoie, who heads this group, believes that in 5-10 years we can expect the appearance of drugs that have an effect on aromatase.
And right now you can turn to nature for help. There are natural analogs of antiandrogens that can both block 5-alpha reductase and activate aromatase. On the basis of extracts of some plants, a number of natural preparations have been created that can be found on sale today. Here are just these tools are not referred to as medicinal, because no one wants to engage in their clinical trials, and they belong to the category of dietary supplements.
Supplements can be used as an addition to the prescribed treatment, and independently, in the necessary combinations. It is very important to make the right combination correctly, because, according to progressive cosmetologists and dermatologists, with androgenic alopecia, only multicomponent systems combining anti-androgens with immunoprotectors, antioxidants and hair growth stimulants can give satisfactory treatment results. The majority of pharmaceutical agents solve the problem only partially, and each drug separately does not give the desired therapeutic effect.
You should also be aware that genetic predisposition itself may not lead to alopecia. The trigger for the disease may be a hormonal imbalance caused by diseases of the liver, thyroid gland, severe stress, and diseases of the urogenital sphere (prostatitis, urethritis).
Therefore, special attention should be paid to natural complexes, which help restore hormonal balance. About some of them, which contain components that affect the mechanisms of formation of DHT, I want to tell you.