Female hair loss is often complicated and complex. The female hair loss is different in many respects from male pattern baldness. Many people believe that hair loss mainly affects men, but the American Hair Loss Association estimate that 40% of those who suffer from hair loss are women. There is a saying that half of all women over 50 have problems with hair loss. Despite this, a few women who choose to do a hair transplant.
There are studies showing that a large proportion of women who suffer from female pattern hair loss also have depression. If you are anxious from hair loss, you should seek help from doctors for advice, help and diagnostics.
Female hair loss is more diffuse in the head while the male pattern baldness usually begins in the temples and looking up towards the crown. Women can also inherit the so-called male pattern baldness, but without the typical bays. Women loose hair at different ages but, as with men are the most likely cause of hair loss is genetic.
Causes of Hair Loss in Women – When do women loose hair?
Women can lose hair for many reasons and often the problems are temporary. If you have a genetic predisposition to hair loss, it may begin as early as adolescence. Women who suffer from androgenetic alopecia (hair loss), may have hair loss when they use oral contraceptives as hormonal changes can trigger hair loss. According ISHRS begins the female hair loss is often in the 50 years of age. It is common to get bald in connection with menopause.
No one knows exactly how many women suffer from more severe forms of hair loss. But there are studies showing that nearly 40 percent of women experienced some form of hair loss from 35 years of age – often it may be related to childbearing. A Swedish study from research institute TEMO conducted among women 25-55 years of age showed that one in four women had experienced a problem of hair loss.Unfortunately, many women choose to cut it short after 40 years of age when they start to get thinner hair when there are different types of treatments and methods to hide balding unit.
There are several different scales to measure the female hair loss. The two most common methods is the Ludwig scale and the Savin scale. There is also a so-called Nano-Ludwig scale (see picture) which is an expanded version of the traditional Ludwig scale.
Female hair loss is often difficult to diagnose than men’s hair loss because the female hair loss come from many reasons. Although the most common form of hair loss in women is genetically,there are other factors were hair can be affected such as if you had a prolonged infection, have recently given birth, feeling stressed, or suffering from iron deficiency.
Examples of hair loss common among women.
- Trichotillomania – compulsion to pull her hair.
- Alopecia areata – patchy hair loss
- Triangular alopecia
- Hair loss due to scarring
- Telogen effluvium (eg during pregnancy)
- Traction alopecia (hairstyles)
- Some medications can cause hair loss
- Hair loss caused by iron, zinc or thyroid hormone deficiency.
- Hair loss due to stress, read more about stress in this article
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Polycystic ovary syndrome affects 6%-7% of reproductive-aged women, making it the most common
endocrine disorder in this population. It is characterized by chronic anovulation and hyperandrogenism.
Affected women may present with reproductive manifestations such as irregular menses or
cutaneous manifestations, including hirsute, acne, or male-pattern hair loss.
Lifestyle interventions such as diet and exercise is common treatment for women with polycystic ovary syndrome, particularly if they are overweight but there are also hormonal therapy available.
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Treatments to prevent female hair loss
To investigate hair loss
There are lots of different tests to find out the factors for hair loss. A good start is to take blood tests and to see that there is no shortage in the body. For example you can test hormone levels, iron levels, thyroid hormones and blood counts. It is also possible to check hair under a microscope and micro-camera.
Medicines for female hair loss
The only FDA approved (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) agent is minoxidil 2% used in Rogaine and Recrea. Manufacturers recommend 2% and not the stronger 5% for women. Nevertheless, there are several dermatologists who advocate 5% if supervised by dermatologists. According to an article by Dr. Nussbaum women should be aware that they often suffer more loss of hair during the first two months that they are using minoxidil.
Other drugs mentioned in connection with female hair loss are among others:
- Make sure about the protein intake (Biotin)
- Aldactone who are hypertensive (according to FASS.SE)
- Spironolactone is an antiandrogen
- Tagamet to cut stomach acidity
- Cyproterone Acetate reduces testosterone (and dihydrotestosterone)
- Estrogen / Progesterone
- Consult first with your doctor what he or she thinks is right for you.
Addressing female hair loss with surgery
The number of women undergoing cosmetic surgery is increasing from year to year and more women are turning to hair clinics for help with the hair. It may be about to lower his hairline to thereby get a hairline that harmonize with the so-called golden ratio. Hair transplantation in women is also often about making corrections and condensations.
Dr. Nusbaum is considered by many as one of the leading female hairtransplantation surgeons and he has written guidelines for the design of the hairline in women and among others included these points:
- That hairline is placed 5.5 to 6 cm above the middle of the eyebrow.
- The surgeon makes a so-called Widows peak representing an anterior point on the hairline
- The surgeon creates so-called top of the page
- That you do not do the same type of male hairline because it is inappropriate for women to get a “feminine” look.
- In general, it is possible to lower the hairline in women is possible with a FUE hair transplant which is a gentler method. Women’s hairline looks aesthetically different from male hairline and there are teams that specialize in addressing female hair loss. There are also men who have sex change for woman who want a more feminine hairline which is possible to create a softer hairline.
Other tips to cut the effect of hair loss
Women who suffer from hair loss are encouraged to experiment with their hair, use hairspray and try different hairstyles to camouflage hair loss. Some of these treatments can indeed cause hair breakage, but it does not affect the hair follicle and it can not lead to hair loss.
Read this page in Swedish: Kvinnligt håravfall
Sources about female hair loss
Olsen EA (ed). Female Pattern Hair loss: Clinical Features and Potential hormonal factors. J Amer Acad Dermatol 2001; 45: S-70-S80.
Olsen EA. Hair disorders. In: Freed Berg, IM et al (eds.) Fitzpatrick’s Dermatology in General Medicine, 5th ed.
New York: McGraw-Hill, 1999:729-751.
American Hair Loss Association
Medline about Female pattern baldness: