"It's far less often that we discuss female hair loss," admitted BBC Radio 2 presenter Jeremy Vine, discussing the norm of talking about hair loss in men as Conservative MP Nadine Dorries made an appearance on his radio show to discuss the issue.
As Vine stated, around 8 million women in the UK experience hair loss, which makes up around 40% of the population. Speaking out about her condition, Dorries admitted that she had "been in denial for quite a while" about her hair loss. The MP told of how she had been trying various health food shop vitamin supplements for several years with the hope of halting her hair loss.
However, whilst Dorries had noted that her hair was thinning, her watershed moment came when she saw her "bald patch" for the first time whilst re-watching footage of herself in an interview, adding that "if vitamins worked there would be no bald men or bald women around".
Dorries has since been diagnosed with two women's hair loss conditions, the first is female pattern hair loss. This type of shedding occurs when hair follicles atop the scalp are genetically predisposed to be sensitive to androgen hormone DHT. This powerful hormone attacks follicles atop the scalp, causing miniaturisation, which leads to thin, weak hairs being produced.
Female pattern hair loss will not fix itself over time, and the balding will only become more pronounced; as Dorries herself says, had she ignored her condition it would have only got "worse and worse". Dorries also spoke about being diagnosed with alopecia areata, an auto-immune disorder that can be triggered by environmental factors such as stress and which results in patchy hair loss on the scalp.
Whilst Nadine is now undergoing treatment via injections to the scalp, there is another form of medical hair loss treatment that doesn't involve a painful procedure using needles. As Dorries rightly notes, "so many women don't realise that there is treatment available" and at Belgravia, we are committed to raising awareness of the options women have in terms of hair loss treatment.
There is only one medication for women with hair loss that has been licensed by the MHRA and approved by the FDA: the topical treatment minoxidil. Whilst the exact mechanism that makes minoxidil so effective as a hair loss treatment is still a subject of debate amongst scientists, there is no doubt about its high success rate.
Belgravia have also found that a high strength minoxidil cream can yield strong results for patchy hair loss due to alopecia areata. So, a hair loss treatment programme that includes minoxidil could help women who, according to Dorries, "spend years...feeling ashamed and embarrassed and worried," even turning to antidepressants in some cases.
Dorries is keen to emphasise the psychological issues connected with women's hair loss, explaining women: "Go through a grief process when they lose those things which they feel define their femininity." The MP also complained that: "Nobody talks about it...women do tend to withdraw and don't want to engage in these issues; it's never talked about...it's never highlighted."
Dorries hopes that doctors will be more sympathetic to women going through hair loss in the future, and believes that currently "the support out there is non existent" for women losing their hair. At Belgravia, we wholeheartedly agree with Nadine and acknowledge that hair loss can be extremely difficult. With this in mind, we offer women who embark on a bespoke Belgravia treatment programme support on every step of their journey, and dedicated hair loss specialists are available seven days a week, either over the phone and online or in person at our Central London clinics to discuss any questions with patients.
The Belgravia Centre is a world-renowned group of a hair loss clinic in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation from anywhere in the world for home-use treatment.
View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world's largest gallery of hair growth photos and demonstrates the level of success that so many of Belgravia's patients achieve.