Female Baldness or Female Pattern Hair Loss (FPHL) is a broad term for the decrease in central scalp hair density that occurs in females post puberty. It affects between 20-40% of women and it is closely related to the presence of sexual hormones at the hair follicle genetically predisposed to the disease.
Both women and men predisposed to androgenic alopecia present an increase in the conversion of the testosterone into DHT (d-hydro-testosterone) in the genetic marked hair follicles.
Among women, hair loss usually starts at old age and progresses slowly, although it may sometimes start after puberty, when the sexual hormones start being produced. If hair loss starts at a young age it is a sign that it may have a more severe evolution pattern.
The baldness may be more severe if the women present related hormonal problems, such as hirsutism or poly-cystic ovarian syndrome. After menopause it is common to observe a worsening in hair loss which may be due to the decrease in the production of the estrogens that may have some protection effect over the hair follicles.
The female androgenic alopecia symptoms are the thinning of hairs and rarefaction across the whole scalp, more visible at the top of the head. It is followed by what is called “Christmas tree effect”, i.e., the hair line dividing the central zone of the head grows in width keeping the hair line (frontal part of the hair) intact.
Total hair loss is very rare in women although it is possible in more severe cases and in women at an advanced age.
However, before diagnosing androgenic alopecia, other diseases that lead to hair loss must be investigated which include: Hormonal alterations, systemic diseases, cancer, nutritional alterations and infections among others. The use of medication and even some common place chemicals must be investigated for a correct diagnosis and subsequent treatment.
Female hair loss can be treated with the use of medication whose aim is to avoid the hormonal action over the follicles (anti-androgen medication), that may be administered orally or as solutions applied directly on the scalp. It is also possible to stimulate hair growth with the usage of vitamin supplements and local application substances.
While hair loss may seem trivial to some men it may have an emotionally devastating effect in women. Therefore, it is very common that it yields to psychological problems such as low self-esteem and even depression.
Currently hair transplantation is the only definitive solution as a treatment for the female androgenic alopecia.
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