Minoxidil, pregnancy, and breastfeeding: Women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant should avoid minoxidil. Studies of pregnant animals have shown minoxidil can be harmful to a developing fetus.
Women who are breastfeeding should also avoid minoxidil. Traces of minoxidil may pass into breast milk, which can be harmful to a nursing infant.
How is minoxidil used? You apply it to your dry scalp. Some products you should apply once a day. Others you apply twice a day.
Prescription medications: Some prescription medications have proven effective in helping women with FPHL grow hair and prevent FPHL from worsening.
To date, these medications have received FDA approval to treat other conditions, but not FPHL. Doctors often prescribe FDA-approved medications to treat medical conditions other than those for which the drug was approved.
A dermatologist may prescribe one of the following medications to treat FPHL. Each of these medications is a pill.
Spironolactone (speh-ren-no-LAK-tone): This medication is a diuretic, which has been prescribed for decades to treat hair loss. It is a common treatment for FPHL because it can help restore hair growth and prevent hair loss from worsening.
Before taking spironolactone, be sure to tell your dermatologist about your medical conditions, including kidney and adrenal gland problems. Also, be sure that your dermatologist knows all the medications and supplements you take.
Your dermatologist may prescribe another medication to treat FPHL, such as finasteride (fi-NAS-ter-ide), flutamide(flu-TA-mide), or dutasteride (doo-TAS-ter-ide).
With any medication, side effects are possible. Ask your dermatologist about possible side effects that you might experience while taking one of these medications.
When will I see results? If your dermatologist prescribes one of these medications, you’ll need to take it for 6 to 12 months before you’ll know if it works for you. No hair growth within 12 months means the medication won’t work for you.
Like minoxidil, once you stop taking a prescription medication, you lose the hair that grew. This happens in about 3 to 4 months.
Pregnancy and hair-loss medications: All of these prescription medications may cause birth defects, so none of these is an option for women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
Dermatologists recommend that all pre-menopausal women use birth control while taking one of these prescription medications.
Hair transplant: Long used to treat hair loss in men, a hair transplant may be an option for some women with FPHL.
The hair transplant has come a long way since the days of hair plugs. Today, most hair transplants look completely natural.
Not everyone is a good candidate for a hair transplant though. If the hair on your scalp is sparse all over, you may not have enough healthy hair to transplant. A hair transplant surgeon, many of whom are dermatologists, can tell you if a hair transplant may help restore your hair.