Female androgenetic alopecia is the most common form of hair loss in women. Females may start to experience the initial symptoms of the condition already after the onset of puberty.
Hair loss has a big psychological impact on women because their physical appearance is generally more important to them than for men. They tend to limit their social lives and avoid contact with others in order to hide their hair loss.
It is, therefore, important to learn about the options available to treat androgenetic alopecia in women, as the condition may be difficult to come to terms with. Combined treatment options may be needed to treat the condition.
Androgenetic alopecia in women is also called female pattern hair loss and is similar to pattern baldness in men. The condition can come in flares with periods of more prominent shedding. Stress and poor nutrition may flare up the problem. With age, the number of lost strands tends to increase.
Two-thirds of postmenopausal women experience some kind of hair loss. In the UK, 43% of women older than 70 suffer from androgenetic alopecia.
This problem can be connected to hyperandrogenic conditions, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). According to several studies, 67% of women with androgenetic hair loss also had PCOS.
In both sexes, the cause of pattern hair loss is an inherited hypersensitivity to androgens, i.e. hormones responsible for sexual health, metabolism and body constitution. The main androgen is testosterone, in the form of dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This hormone is found in the female body, although the amount of it is about 20 times lower than men.
DHT directly affects hair follicles causing them to shrink, a phenomenon known as miniaturisation. The hair shaft also becomes smaller in diameter and lighter in colour until the follicles stop generating hair at all.
Often hair loss only appears after menopause. The reason behind it is not an increase in testosterone levels but the drop in female sex hormones that creates a shift in favour of male hormones. Along with hair shedding, such symptoms as pimples and excessive sebum production may appear too.
Yes, genetics seem to be the main factor in developing androgenetic alopecia in women, hence the name. It can be inherited both from the mother’s and the father’s side. However, the hormonal factor also plays a big role here.
The main problem with this condition, in women, is that it’s still unclear as to exactly how hormones or genes trigger it. Hence, the inheritance pattern is not yet identified and no universal treatment for it exists.
Additionally, other factors such as poor ecology and an unhealthy lifestyle can aggravate the condition.
The way the condition progresses in females is different from men. For women, the pattern of hair shedding is dispersed, meaning that the strands start to thin across the whole scalp area.
In the latter case, hair loss begins at the hairline and progresses towards the crown while the sides and the nape of the neck usually remain covered with hair. Thus resulting in a progressive receding hairline.
There can be exceptional cases, though, when a woman develops balding patches on the scalp, just like men. Essentially, there are the following differences between male and female androgenetic alopecia:
Androgenetic alopecia in women is a chronic condition that becomes more prominent with age. Treatment must be carried out regularly and continuously to maintain the results.
The condition can be managed better if it is diagnosed early. The treatment aimed at reversing or slowing down the progression of hair loss is more effective than the one for facilitating hair regrowth. Normally a simple physical examination is sufficient to diagnose androgenetic alopecia in women.
The main treatment options for this condition are:
this medication has been used for years to tackle male pattern baldness. Not long ago, however, it was approved as an effective treatment for women too. You can purchase topical Minoxidil (brand name Rogaine) over-the-counter.
This chemical works by stimulating hair follicles and increasing the growth cycle of the hair. It is very safe to use, however, the downside is that you will need to apply it on your scalp daily and continuously. Besides, pregnant and breastfeeding women must refrain from using minoxidil.
this method, whereby the patient’s own blood is used, has become a popular and promising way of treating hair loss. Platelet-rich plasma contained in our blood helps to stimulate body cells to multiply. After the blood has been drawn, it is placed into a centrifuge that separates it into red blood cells and plasma. The plasma is then injected into the scalp.
if hair loss takes place together with menopause or polycystic ovary syndrome, the doctor is most likely to prescribe you birth control pills or spironolactone. It should be noted that even the combined use of antiandrogen therapy, minoxidil or birth control pills, full recovery cannot be achieved.
Our expert’s advice
Did you know that female pattern hair loss can be permanently treated thanks to the hair transplant tailored for women? This will, off course, depend on the hair loss pattern, the severity of the condition, age and lifestyle. If you are interested, then take advantage of our free hair analysis now! Our medical teams will identify the cause of your hair loss and guide you in finding an appropriate treatment.
Female pattern hair loss is the most frequent hair loss type among women that progresses with age. A set of factors is believed to contribute to its development, i.e. genetics, hormones, ecology. However, the real nature of this condition has not been properly studied yet.
Androgenetic alopecia is chronic and can only be managed if the treatment is regular and continuous. Once the treatment has been stopped, the hair will start to fall out again within a few months. Since the symptoms tend to worsen with age, early diagnosis and initiation of treatment can prevent the flares of pattern hair loss.
There are various topical and medicinal treatments available. As mentioned hair surgery is a really effective option, but is not suitable for every woman with this condition.
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