Rogaine, also called Minoxidil is a medicine that is usually applied to the scalp for stimulating hair growth in adult women and men having a specific type of baldness. However, there are some potential side effects of Rogaine for women. Please read below to know about them.
Potential Side Effects Of Rogaine For Women:
Rogaine or Minoxidil is the only topical ingredient that is approved by FDA or Food and Drug Administration for regrowing hair. The exact way how Rogaine works is not known. But, it is known that this medicine can treat hair loss from androgenetic alopecia, or Male or Female pattern hair loss, or FPHL.
Around 40% of women suffer from some degree of Female pattern hair loss by the time they reach the age of 50. Such a type of hair loss generally begins as a gradual thinning around the part in the hair and then gets wider with time. It is believed that Female pattern hair loss is largely caused because of genetics, and this is thought that estrogen levels play a crucial role because FPHL usually becomes more common after menopause.
In the United States, Rogaine is available without a prescription and the product is available in two dosage forms, like Foam and Solution.
Rogaine or Minoxidil is basically considered a safe treatment and the complications associated with it are usually mild. But still, there are some side effects of Rogaine that cannot be ignored. Let us read further to learn about the potential side effects of Rogaine for women.
One of the most potential side effects of Rogaine for women is Contact dermatitis on the scalp. This condition usually occurs just within minutes to hours after applying Rogaine on the scalp. Contact dermatitis causes various symptoms, which include flaking skin, itchiness, redness, burning, and irritation.
So, if you are applying Rogaine for the first time, apply it only to a small part on your scalp and wait for 24 hours to see if any symptom develops, before using it over the entire scalp.
Temporary Hair Shedding:
Rogaine might also cause a form of temporary hair loss that is known as Minoxidil-induced telogen effluvium.
Our hair cycles through 4 stages of growth, namely the anagen or the growing phase, catagen or the transition phase, telogen, or the resting phase, and the exogen or shedding phase.
Along with stimulating the growth phase, it is also known that Rogaine can also shorten the resting phase, and this results in increased shedding. This shedding typically occurs 2-8 weeks after treatment begins.(1)
An older study of 2011 has shown that hair shedding was reported in 17.5% of women who took a 2% solution of Rogaine or Minoxidil twice a day and in 12.5% of women who took 5% of Minoxidil once a day.(2)
Unwanted Hair Growth:
Rogaine has also one more side effect and that is, it can result in unwanted hair growth on the face, especially if the medicine comes into contact with it.
It is still unclear, but unwanted growth of hair occurs more often in women than men. Studies have shown that unwanted hair growth in anywhere from 3% to 51% of female participants.(3)
This usually takes about 8 weeks for the unwanted growth of hair to become visible.(4)
In extremely rare cases, one can develop generalized hypertrichosis, which is a condition of increased hair growth in areas that are not directly exposed to the treatment. This condition is common in children and adolescents.
Though it is rare, rogaine can also result in some allergy symptoms. These allergic symptoms usually appear quickly and include itchiness, hives, inflammation, and rash. It is possible to be allergic to Rogaine or Minoxidil itself or one more ingredient present in Rogaine called Propylene glycol. If someone is allergic to propylene glycol, they can try using Rogaine’s foam form as it does not contain this ingredient. However, if you are allergic to minoxidil, you should stop using Rogaine altogether and ask your doctor for any alternative treatments.
Another side effect of Rogaine could be heart palpitation or rapid heart rate. A study from 2011 has found that around 3.5% of women developed heart palpitations or rapid heart rate with the use of Rogaine.(5) Patients with cardiovascular problems must talk to their doctor before taking Rogaine.
Potential Fetal Development Impairment:
The FDA has listed down Rogaine as a category C pregnancy drug. The Drugs in this category have not undergone enough human testing that shows that they are safe for fetal development, and animal studies have suggested possible dangers.
So, pregnant women should not take Rogaine. Apart from this, breastfeeding women must avoid using Rogaine because of its potential to enter breast milk.
Low Blood Pressure:
Rogaine can sometimes lower your blood pressure. Though usually, it has an insignificant effect on blood pressure, however, some people might experience more severe symptoms.
A case study of 2015 has described a patient who started developing low blood pressure after using a strong minoxidil cream for 12 weeks.(6) The blood pressure of this man returned to normal after discontinuing the use of the minoxidil cream.
However, it must be noted, that the preparation that was used in this case study had more than twice the concentration of minoxidil or rogaine compared to the OTC foam.
One more side effect of Rogaine could be headaches. Studies have shown that around 2-7% of women develop headaches after taking Rogaine.(7)
Some Other Potential Symptoms:
Some other reported side effects of Rogaine are vomiting, nausea, and changes in the hair texture or color.
Medications That Might Interact With Rogaine In Women:
As an oral medication, Rogaine used to lower blood pressure. However, when applied topically, Rogaine or Minoxidil has an insignificant effect on blood pressure.(8) But, if you are taking hypotensive medications or diuretics, it can cause low blood pressure that results in fainting or dizziness.
If you are taking Guanethidine for controlling blood pressure, it has been recommended by FDA to be at a hospital for the first time when you use Rogaine or minoxidil to monitor any change in your blood pressure.
Rogaine can help women to treat their genetic hair loss. Rogaine or minoxidil is available over the counter. However, if you are dealing with hair loss, you should always talk to your doctor before starting the treatment. Your doctor would help you rule out other underlying causes of hair loss that might be treatable, like lower levels of thyroid hormone or a nutrient deficiency. Moreover, if your hair loss is sudden, or if your hair falls out in clumps, if your head burns or itches, or if you have bald patches, then you should visit your doctor.
Rogaine is usually safe, however, in certain cases, it can result in various side effects, as we discussed above. If you experience any of these side effects or anything else concerning after using Rogaine, you should consult with your doctor immediately.