Female Pattern Hair Loss
Female Pattern Hair Loss consists of diffuse thinning of the hair generally involving the central aspect or top of the scalp (crown) while the patient usually maintains hair around the front and sides.
Studies have shown that 27% of women in their thirties and 64% of those between 40 and 70 suffer from hair thinning. Hair thinning in women is a normal part of the aging process and especially increases after menopause when Estrogen levels drop off. In some women, the process of hair loss is accentuated. Another study showed up to 75% of women older than 65 suffer from hair loss.
The vast majority of patients who have thinning of the hair have absolutely normal hormones and there is no disease present in these women. In these patients, the Female Pattern Hair Loss is believed to be due to an inherited problem similar to Male Pattern Baldness. One can think of it as specific inherited genes which when present in a man would cause balding in the typical male pattern (where there is recession of the hairline and loss of hair at the crown of the scalp), but when inherited by a woman, they are protected by their hormones, and consequently they do not go “bald.” Their hair just becomes thin.
Thus, in many women who develop Female Pattern Hair Loss, there are other members of their family, either men or women, who have had problems with baldness or thinning of the hair.
It is normal to lose about 100 hairs a day. This loss, however, is balanced by continuous re-growth. Women who develop Female Pattern Hair Loss do not generally have more hair loss, but they do tend to get an underproduction of new hair, and thus, the hair gradually becomes thinner.
The amount of hair loss in women is far less than occurs in men, and women are generally able to cover the area of hair thinning very well with their existing hair.
- Make sure you consult a dermatologist to ensure there are no other underlying factors contributing to your hair loss. Certain virilizing tumors, low iron levels, thyroid problems and even lupus have all been associated with hair loss. Stress can also accelerate the amount of hair that is shed.
- Shampoo your hair regularly (daily if necessary) and use a good commercial shampoo – one that you like.
- After shampooing, you should put on a conditioner which tends to strengthen the hair shaft.
- Keep up your general health, avoid crash diets, and cut down on smoking.
- You can use permanents so as to fix your hair in such a way that it covers the area of hair loss maximally.
- Biotin (a vitamin) has been shown to strengthen hair and nails. It is a safe and natural way to strengthen the hair.
- Minoxidil is a topical preparation which has been shown to cause significant growth of new hair after applying this medication twice daily for at least four months. Other patients may notice a decrease in the speed of hair loss after applying this medication. Many patients, unfortunately, will not notice any beneficial effects.
- If a hormonal component is suspected, your dermatologist might recommend a hormonal therapy, such as a birth control pill or Spironolactone.
- Finally, in many women, surgical hair transplantation may also be an option.
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