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If your hair loss is accompanied by excess facial and body hair, abnormal periods, or adult acne, your androgen levels should be tested.

Review all medication and supplements you are taking with your doctor.

In men, a male hormone known as an androgen is primarily responsible for hair loss, but the main cause of FPHL appears to be less clear-cut.

Women normally produce male hormones too, and in some cases the condition is associated with excessive androgen levels.

You may need to discontinue or change a drug if it contributes to hair loss.

That may include certain antidepressants, antithyroid medicines, blood thinners, drugs for high blood pressure or heart problems, hormones, cholesterol-lowering medications, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin and generics) and naproxen (Aleve and generics), and retinoids (e.g., acitretin, isotretinoin). Certain diets—especially those that skimp on protein—can trigger hair loss. Minoxidil (Rogaine and generic) 2 percent, an over-the-counter solution that's applied to the scalp, is currently the only FDA-approved medication for female pattern hair loss.

It can start as early as puberty or much later in life.

In fact, 38 percent of women 70 and older experience hair loss, in part because hair thickness decreases with age, especially after menopause.

You should be referred to both a dermatologist and an endocrinologist to be screened for thyroid disease, iron deficiency, skin disorders, lupus, and other possible causes.And in a 2010 study, 86 pre- and postmenopausal Asian women with FPHL and normal androgen levels were treated with finasteride for 12 months, resulting in slight increases in hair density for 57 women, moderate increases in 10 women, and more substantial increases for four women.Anecdotal reports and small, uncontrolled trials have also noted beneficial results with hair loss in pre- and postmenopausal women with or without increased androgen levels. Our medical consultants advise against the use of finasteride during pregnancy or in women who may become pregnant.Finasteride (Propecia) is approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat male pattern hair loss (also called androgenetic alopecia).At higher doses, it's also approved to reduce the symptoms of enlarged prostate in men.

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