Female pattern baldness is also called alopecia. Alopecia is common in both males and females. Causative agents can be hormones, ageing, and genetics.
Around 6% to 40% of healthy women experience frontal or parietal hair loss. According to the National Library of Medicine, female pattern hair loss affects approximately 40% of women by age of 50.12% of women detect hair loss by the age of 29 years and 25% by age of 49 years. About one-third of women experience hair loss, hair thinning, or bald spots at some time in their lives. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, people lose 50 to 100 hair a day on average. It can be distressing if you see more hair fall on pillows or hairbrushes. Some studies show that hair loss can be due to nutritional deficiencies caused by dieting or vitamin deficiencies.
What Is Female Pattern Baldness?
Hair takes longer to grow as the growing phase slows down. The hair parting line shows more hair loss. Hair becomes thin as the hair follicle shrinks leading to hair breakage. Female pattern hair loss progresses without treatment. Female pattern baldness is usually not a sign of any underlying diseases. Book an appointment at UNCOVER or call (+91) 9752007200 to know more about the possible treatments.
What Are The Common Symptoms?
Symptoms of female pattern baldness may include:
- Gradual thinning on top of the crown of the scalp. In the beginning, widening starts at the center of hair parting.
- There is normal recession but the front hairline is not affected.
- The hair loss progresses but doesn't cause baldness.
What are the causes of female pattern baldness?
Female pattern hair loss increases as people age or with a family history of hair loss.
There are many causes of alopecia:
- Aging: Usually women experience hair loss in their 40s.
- Iron deficiency
- Deficiency of vitamin D and other minerals
- Loss of weight
- After delivery: This is temporary. After about a year, hair fall will reduce.
- Change in the levels of hormones.
- Androgenetic alopecia: Alopecia is caused by androgen, hormones that are important for both sexes.
- Heavy loss of blood during menstrual periods
- Medical conditions: Inflammatory scalp conditions like eczema
- Endocrine hormonal imbalance: overproduction of androgen in tumors on the ovaries
- Experiencing stress
- Recent history of fever
- Recent surgery
- Certain medicines cause thinning of hair or hair fall such as oral contraceptives.
- Genetic causes
- Tight hairstyles like ponytails or braids can lead to hair loss
It is important to connect to your dermatologist to determine the cause and appropriate treatment for increased hair thinning and fall.
Diagnosis of Female Pattern Baldness
Early diagnosis is the key to successful female pattern hair loss treatment.
Female pattern baldness is diagnosed based on:
- Changes in the menstrual cycle
- Blood test: thyroid test, iron test, androgens levels
- Medical history
- Family history
- Examination of the scalp: The appearance of a pattern of hair loss: the doctor will describe female pattern hair loss with the Ludwig Classification.
It is classified into 3 types:
Type 1: Lesser hair thinning on the crown.
Type 2: Reduced hair volume and widening at the midline part.
Type 3: Diffuse hair loss, with a bald spot on the crown.
- Skin biopsy of the scalp may be used to diagnose skin disorders that can cause hair loss.
Treatment of Female Pattern Baldness
Hair loss can affect self-esteem and cause anxiety.
Medications are the first line of treatment for hair loss in women. They include the following:
- Minoxidil: It might slow or stop hair loss. Minoxidil is introduced initially. FDA has approved 2% minoxidil ointment to treat hair loss in women. At least two months of drug use can show benefits. It takes 6 to 12 months to see the results. A patient needs to use it regularly to maintain the results.
- Anti-androgens: If minoxidil is not effective then doctors will prescribe anti-androgen drugs which can accelerate hair growth. This is especially advised for women having PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome).
- Iron supplement: Iron deficiency causes hair loss.
If medicines don't work, then the dermatologist may recommend other treatments like:
- Platelet-rich Plasma therapy: Platelet-rich plasma or PRP uses the patient's blood to treat the cause. The patient’s blood is taken from the arm. This blood is spun in a centrifuge machine and platelets are separated from plasma. This platelet-rich plasma is injected into the scalp which stimulates hair growth.
- Hair transplant: Tiny plugs of hair are removed from the areas where hair is thicker and placed in balding areas.
Minor scarring is visible. There is a risk of skin infection. The results are excellent and permanent.
- Laser treatment: These devices work by emitting low levels of laser light to stimulate hair growth. But studies are needed to determine the effectiveness of this type of treatment.
- Hair weaving: Hair weaving is a non-surgical process. The hair extensions are attached to the natural hair. It provides complete head coverage and voluminous hair. It is accomplished by fusion, pasting, hair bonding and netting. The patient can opt between synthetic and natural hair. It is the best treatment recommended for people who wish to get long-lasting hair without surgery.
Tips to take care of your hair
- Eat a balanced diet.
- Quit smoking.
- Proper hair care:
- Reduce the frequency of brushing/combing hair.
- Reduce the use of long-lasting hair stylings products like hot irons, bleach or perms.
- Wrap wet hair in a towel after a bath
- Limit the use of ponytails or hair extensions.
- Reduce stress: Learning to de-stress with the help of yoga, meditation and breathing techniques may reduce stress.
If one notices faster hair loss, reach the doctor or dermatologist. The sooner you receive treatment, the faster the results will be.
At UNCOVER, along with advanced technology, we have the most experienced, reliable and best dermatologists. Our team is committed to providing personalized, accessible, cost-effective and tailored aesthetic treatment with advanced and safe technology.
1. What is the difference between male and female pattern baldness?
In men, hair loss forms a characteristic ‘M’ shape pattern on the crown. Hair loss begins at the temple and receding hairline, progressing to baldness. Whereas in females, baldness becomes gradual thinning at the parting line.
2. How does hair grow and fall?
Hair grows in three phases that help in the growth and maturation of hair.
- Anagen phase: This is the growing phase of hair. It can last from two years to eight years. Hair follicles are pushing out hair that will continue to grow.
- Catagen phase: This is the transition phase. The hair follicle shrinks and hair growth slows.
- Telogen phase: This is the resting phase. Hair does not grow but at the end of this phase, the hair falls out.
3. How to use Minoxidil?
With the help of a dropper or spray pump, apply minoxidil solution to a clean scalp. Apply daily to all areas of hair loss. Gently massage it into the scalp with the tip of the fingers so it reaches hair follicles. Wash your hair after four hours. Consult the doctor before using it.
4. What are the side effects of minoxidil?
There are minor side effects of Minoxidil like skin irritation, allergic reaction or hypertrichosis. Contact a doctor immediately if you experience severe side effects.
5. What are the side effects of androgen drugs?
If a pregnant woman is consuming androgen drugs, she has the chance of causing organ abnormalities in a male fetus. So women of reproductive age are prescribed oral contraceptives along with androgen drugs. Other side effects include depression, irregular menstruation, weight gain, and fatigue.
6. What causes iron deficiency in women?
If one has heavy menstrual bleeding, a history of anemia, or consumes a vegetarian diet then they can have iron deficiency. The doctor will check for iron levels in the blood. He/she will prescribe an iron tablet if blood tests are not in the normal range.
7. Can females get alopecia in their 20s?
There are fewer chances in the 20s. There are more cases in the 40s and 50s.
8. Can female pattern baldness be reversible?
Female pattern baldness can be reversible with treatment only. Long-term treatment helps to prevent losing hair.
9. What is the cost of PRP treatment?
PRP treatment cost starts from Rs 5,000. But the cost depends on many factors such as age, stage of hair loss and underlying medical condition.
Consult our experts at (+91) 9752007200 for trusted advice and tailored treatment plans that let you UNCOVER the original you!