Androgen Treatment May Boost Hair Regrowth in Women

August 3rd, 2015

A study published in the British Journal of Dermatology suggests that subcutaneous placement of testosterone pellets may boost hair regrowth in some women.[1]

This retrospective analysis examined patients who had androgen deficiency. Of the 285 patients studied, 76 had some degree of hair loss prior to beginning treatment. At one year on testosterone replacement 63% reported an increase in hair regrowth on the scalp.

Traditionally, elevated levels of androgens, such as testosterone, are felt to be the primary cause for common hair loss in both men and women. This is due to the seemingly adverse effect of androgens on hair follicles. This has held true for most men with patterned hair loss in whom DHT-blockers, such as Propecia (finasteride) and Avodart (dutasteride), have proven to be a potent remedy.

Given this, it was surprising that none of the 285 women in the study who had been treated with testosterone reported any hair loss after one year. In fact, of the 76 women who initially reported hair loss before the study, 63% reported positive hair regrowth at one year.

The researchers noted that patients with a “significantly higher body mass index (BMI)” were in the subset of those who did not regrow any hair. This suggests that a higher dose might be needed in some patients.[2],[3],[4]

Summary

By correlating higher levels of testosterone with more hair growth and/or retention in women, the study bolsters the idea that hair loss in men and women is caused by different mechanisms. Though not conclusive, the study opens the idea that testosterone implantation can effectively treat hair loss in women.

References:
  1. Glaser RL, Dimitrakakis C, Messenger AG. Improvement in scalp hair growth in androgen-deficient women treated with testosterone: a questionnaire study. Br J Dermatol. 2012 Feb;166(2):274-8. []
  2. Kapp N1, Abitbol JL2, Mathé H2, Scherrer B2, Guillard H2, Gainer E2, Ulmann A2. Effect of body weight and BMI on the efficacy of levonorgestrel emergency contraception. Contraceotion. 2015 Feb;91(2):97-104. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2014.11.001. Epub 2014 Nov 8. []
  3. Lopez LM, Grimes DA, Chen M, Otterness C, Westhoff C, Edelman A, Helmerhorst FM. Hormonal contraceptives for contraception in overweight or obese women. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD008452. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD008452.pub3 []
  4. Glasier A, Cameron ST, Blithe D, Scherrer B, Mathe H, Levy D, Gainer E, Ulmann A. Can we identify women at risk of pregnancy despite using emergency contraception? Data from randomized trials of ulipristal acetate and levonorgestrel. Contraception. 2011 Oct;84(4):363-7. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2011.02.009. Epub 2011 Apr 2. []



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Posted by Robert M. Bernstein M.D. on August 3rd, 2015 at 10:20 am







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