Women’s Hair Loss
Clinical features of pattern baldness in women usually occur during early teens and late middle age. This is shown by the gradual thinning of hair over the frontal area. Usually, pattern baldness in women is not accompanied by increased shedding of hair, but unlike telogen effluvium, hair loss may be seen from the start. The scalp becomes more and more visible as the disease progresses.
Female pattern baldness a.k.a. alopecia in women is the most common form of hair problem that women come across. It involves a typical hair loss pattern, resulting from hormones, aging and genetic predisposition.
Hair loss pattern resulting from alopecia in women
Unlike in men, female pattern baldness does not cause hair loss in a well-defined pattern. The hair starts thinning all over the head though there is no hair line receding. It is rare for alopecia in women to result in total baldness.
In the case of females, the scalp hair loss may begin at any age though usually after 40.
The patterns of female pattern baldness can vary considerably in appearance and may include:
• Diffuse thinning all over the scalp often with more noticeable thinning toward the back of the scalp.
• Diffuse thinning all over the scalp with more noticeable thinning toward the front of the scalp but not involving the frontal hair line.
• Diffuse thinning all over the scalp with more noticeable thinning toward the front of the scalp, involving and sometimes breaching the frontal hairline.
In normal condition a woman tends to lose around 100-125 hairs per day. Losing more hair than that indicates that the condition is not normal.
The following two conditions indicate alopecia in women –
• Hair thinning over the entire head
• Hair loss at the crown or hair line, from mild to moderate
Causes of female pattern baldness
The disease is triggered by the presence of a male hormone called testosterone in female body. Testosterone is produced by androgen hormone.
Certain women are decidedly more sensitive to testosterone than others. This sensitivity results in hair thinning on their scalp. Testosterone interacts with the enzyme 5 alpha reductase produced by the body. The interaction causes the production of DHT within the hair follicle.
DHT causes production of shorter and finer hairs. When DHT is not received well by hair follicles, it causes reduced blood supply and it causes hair thinning on the scalp.
Diagnosis of female pattern baldness
Women tend to have less obvious hair loss patterns than men and they face non-pattern hair loss more frequently than men. Diagnosis of female hair loss should be conducted by a trained and experienced physician.
The physician diagnoses this hair disease on the basis of hair loss appearance and pattern. He also checks whether other possible hair loss causes can be ruled out. He may also go for a skin biopsy or other procedures to diagnose the medical disorders.
The diagnosis of female pattern baldness should be followed by a proper treatment. The patient is usually administered Rogaine. Another medicine is Aldactone, which is useful especially for the women experiencing hair fall after menopause. A modern and popular method used in the case of female pattern baldness is hair transplantation.