Female pattern hair loss is not easily recognized as it is in men. Female hair loss usually starts after the age of 50, due to which there is rarely an obvious hereditary reason or recognizable factors such as thinning over the scalp in female pattern alopecia. When a woman experiences hair loss, sometimes she is not even sure if the hair loss is going to temporary or permanent. For example, certain illnesses and pregnancy bring about hair thinning which is often restored once the period of illness or pregnancy is over.
It is important that you consult a doctor or a hair restoration specialist as self-evaluation is often ineffective. Female pattern hair loss is less obvious in women and they are more likely to suffer from non-pattern hair loss.
Like men, women are more likely to suffer from hair loss due to the genetic sensitivity to androgens in the follicles of the scalp. This is called androgenic alopecia. However, women do not exhibit the same pattern of hair loss such as the ‘cue ball’ pattern like men do.
A few common patterns of female hair loss include:
- Diffuse thinning of the hair affecting the entire scalp—the thinning is more apparent at the back of the scalp
- Diffuse thinning of the hair affecting the entire scalp—more apparent thinning of the hair in the front (not the frontal hairline)
- Diffuse thinning affecting the entire scalp—thinning is more apparent at the front including the frontal hairline
Unlike in men, the visibility of the hair decreases or the hair becomes thinner, not as a result of the uniform miniaturizing of the hair diameter, in fact, in women, the hair diameter varies greatly. It is important to note that miniaturization does not always involve androgenic alopecia and may occur as a result of other causes such as menopause in women.
It is critical to understand that female hair loss may begin in the early 20s and can progress and exacerbate if left untreated.
Each hair grows at an average rate of around ½ inch per month from your hair follicles. It then keeps growing for 2-6 years, after which, it rests for a small period of time. The hair then falls off and is replaced with a new hair growing in the same spot.
Baldness or female pattern hair loss takes place when new hair does not grow in place of the ones that have been falling off. The exact reason why this happens is not yet understood properly, but some of the following conditions may be associated with certain female hair loss cases:
- Family history consisting of several cases of male/female pattern baldness—condition is genetic so it might take place in you as well
- Decreased level of androgens—after the menopause stage, for example
Other causes of female hair loss include:
- Skin diseases that scar the scalp follicles
- Hair breakage due to constant twisting, pulling or hair shaft abnormalities that may be present at birth
- Autoimmune diseases
- Iron deficiency—anemia
- Hormone disorders—high testosterone levels or low thyroid hormone levels
- Medications such as beta blockers and those used for chemotherapy
- A vitamin B deficiency
- Alopecia areata—patchy hair loss
- Temporary hair fall due to pregnancy, surgery or major medical conditions or illnesses
- Sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis
The following are some of the common symptoms of female pattern baldness
- Thinning of the hair from the top of the scalp. Hair thinning progresses as it widens through the central region of the scalp
- The frontal hairline will stay intact
- The hair loss only sometimes develops into an entire baldness of the scalp—which is usually the case in men.
Itching, infections and skin sores are usually not present in such cases so if any of these symptoms are occurring associated with your hair loss, please make sure to consult with your family Doctor.
Short Term Solutions
If your thinning hair is getting to the point that you are embarrassed to leave the house, you may want to consider wearing a hair top piece to cover up the thinning areas until you go for treatment. If you need more information about hair top pieces, where you can purchase them and how they are applied, please contact us or follow our blog for more information and tips on hair care and hair additions.