There can be many different treatments for alopecia or hair loss, include the use of minoxidil, finasteride, spironolactone, corticosteroids, hair transplants and the use of lasers, as noted by WebMD. Although there are different types of alopecia, such as alopecia areata and telogen effluvium, the most common type that affects both men and women is called androgenic/androgenetic alopecia. Treatment options for alopecia can be dependent on factors, such as gender and alopecia type.
When androgenetic alopecia affects men is called male pattern hair loss, and it is referred to as female pattern hair loss in women, as stated by Medscape. The cause of androgenic alopecia is linked to the male hormones called androgens. For both men and women pattern hair loss, the United States Food and Drug Administration has approved the topical preparation called minoxidil to stimulate new hair growth. However, men can use the 5 percent topical preparation, while women are to use the 2 percent topical product. Minoxidil may help people with thinning hair or bald patches, but it may not be as effective for men with extensive androgenic alopecia, notes WebMD.
Finasteride is an oral medication that can be used by men with androgenic alopecia. Women cannot use this medication, as it can cause birth defects. For women with androgenic alopecia, the oral agent spironolactone may be useful. Both these medication mode of action is to block the male hormones that cause alopecia, notes WebMD. Hair transplantation and light laser are other possible treatments for androgenic alopecia.
For alopecia areata, treatment options can include the use of corticosteroids and topical medications, such as anthralin and diphencyprone. Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease in which the hair tends to fall out in patches on the scalp or other body parts.