What is Female Pattern Baldness?
Female pattern baldness is a type of hair loss that affects women. The medical name for the condition is androgenetic alopecia.
Although both men and women may experience hair loss, the pattern in which women lose hair is completely different from males.
In male pattern baldness, men who have prominent hair loss tend to develop a receding hairline and bald spots on the specific area of the scalp. Women with female pattern baldness usually experience hair thinning, which affects the volume of their hair.
In women, the first signs of female pattern baldness may be a widening part or a feeling that the hair does not feel as thick as usual and lost its volume. Although the scalp may be visible, the hairline usually does not recede and does not create bald spots.
Severe hair loss is less frequent in women than in men, but it still occurs.
How female pattern baldness is diagnosed?
If you’ve noticed prominent hair loss and thinning hair on your scalp, then its better to see the doctor. Your doctor will examine your scalp and will diagnose if you are suffering from any pattern of hair loss. Testing generally isn’t needed to diagnose this female pattern baldness.
If they suspect another type of hair loss, they may also perform some blood tests. To check your levels of thyroid hormone, androgens, iron, or other substances that can have hair loss as its symptoms.
Shedding about 100 strands of hair a day is considered normal, new growth will typically replace these lost hairs. And generally, this cycle repeats lifelong. But if someone has male or female pattern baldness, the lost hair is not renewed and subsequently, this leads to hair thinning.
In this article, we look at the causes as well as treatment and prevention for the female pattern baldness.
What are the main reasons for hair loss in women?
Genetics appears to be the most significant factor in developing female pattern baldness. Which means it runs in families from generation to generation. Women can inherit the gene for baldness from either parent.
Middle age women are more tend to female pattern baldness, although it can begin at an early age too.
It often develops after menopause, as there are hormonal changes during this phase. Thus hormones are contributing factors for hair loss.
Female pattern baldness largely occurs due to genetics. However, it may also develop due to an underlying condition that affects the production of the hormone androgen.
Androgen is a hormone that plays a role in pattern baldness. Tumors of the pituitary gland or ovary, which secrete androgen, may also lead to hair loss.
Other causes of hair loss in women may include:
- Autoimmune disease: Alopecia areata is a rare kind of autoimmune disorder that causes the immune system to attack the hair follicles leading to hair loss.
- Medication: Specific medication may cause temporary hair loss as a side effect. Such as those that are used to treat cancer, can cause hair loss as a side effect. However, hair usually regains its hair cycle once a person has stopped taking the medication.
- Illness: Hair loss can develop after a significant illness, such as a severe infection, high fever, or some surgery.
What is the treatment for a female pattern
The type of treatment recommended by doctors may depend on the extent of the hair loss, in addition to other factors.
Treatment for female pattern baldness can help prevent future hair loss and may result in regrowth of some hair. Long-term treatment is needed to prevent hair loss from recurring.
Minoxidil is a topical medication that is used to treat hair loss in both men and women. Over the counter, treatment is applied to the scalp every day and may stimulate hair growth, as well as prevent further hair thinning.
Minoxidil can take 6 months to a year to produce visible results and may not work for everyone. Hair loss may or may not return back after a person stops using the product.
One well-known brand of Minoxidil is Rogaine, which is available to buy in many pharmacies and online stores.
One of the most common oral medications used to treat female pattern baldness is spironolactone, which is a diuretic. Diuretics remove excess water from the body.
The medication may also block the production of androgen, which may prevent hair loss and help hair regrow. Spironolactone can cause side effects, such as dry mouth, nausea, and dizziness.
Women who are pregnant should not take spironolactone due to the possibility that it might cause congenital disabilities.
Hair transplantation is a surgical treatment that removes hair follicles from one part of the body, called the ‘donor site’, to a bald part of the body known as the ‘recipient site’.
Some women may choose to have a hair transplant. Various techniques may be used to perform hair transplantation.
Usually, hair loss affects only some areas of the scalp. During a hair transplant, a doctor removes hair from an area with healthy hair growth and transplants it to another bald spot or balding spot.
The area from which the doctor transplants the hair usually remains unaffected by hair loss.
This hair transplant takes several hours depending upon the number of hair to be transplanted. A person will be given a local anesthetic to prevent pain.
Some people may go for laser treatment for hair loss. In these techniques, low levels of laser light are used to stimulate hair regrowth.
If low iron is contributing to your hair loss, your doctor might prescribe an iron supplement. Other supplements, such as biotin and folic acid, are also promoted to thicken hair.
One study did show that women developed thicker hair after taking omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids, and antioxidants.
Laser combs and helmets are FDA-approved to treat hair loss. They use light energy to stimulate hair growth.
Platelet-rich plasma therapy may also be beneficial. This involves drawing your blood, spinning it down, then injecting your own platelets back into your scalp to stimulate hair growth.
Is Female pattern baldness Reversible?
Female pattern baldness isn’t reversible. Proper treatment can stop the hair loss and potentially help regrow some of the hair you’ve already lost. Treatments can take up to 12 months to start working. You’ll need to stay on them long-term to keep from losing your hair again.
Can you prevent female pattern hair loss?
You can’t prevent female pattern baldness, but you can protect your hair from breakage and loss:
- Eat lots of healthy food. Include iron-rich foods in your diet like dark green leafy vegetables, beans, and fortified cereals.
- Avoid treatments that can break or damage your hair follicles, such as straightening irons, bleach, and perms.
- Ask your doctor if any of the medicines you take will promote hair loss. If so, see if you can switch to another drug.
- Don’t smoke. It damages hair follicles and stimulates hair loss.
- Wear a hat when you go outside to protect it from dust and harsh sun.