Female Pattern Hair Loss
All you need to know about female-pattern hairloss.
What is female pattern hairloss?
30% of women experience at least some degree of thinning in their lifetime.
Female pattern hair loss is no different to Male Pattern Hair Loss in the sense that they are both Androgenetic Alopecia, inherited genetically with DHT ( Dihydrotestorsterone) being the main causative factor. However, it affects women in a different pattern and the Ludwig scale is most commonly used to stage the extent of hair loss.
Why does it take on a different pattern when the cause is the same?
In women, the stew of hormones tends to be a little more complex because an enzyme known as Aromatase (found largely across the frontal hairline) and hormones such as Estrone and Estradiol are present. These hormones counteract the action of DHT. Furthermore, women naturally have only a fraction of 5-a reductase, the inhibitor responsible for the production of DHT.
The following is a schematic chart of how the female hormones estrone and estradiol are produced and their relationship to DHT:
Does hair loss in women present itself in a different distribution to the above?
YES and in fact more often than not, women find that hair loss is more diffuse, affecting the entire scalp than just concentrated areas. Diffused pattern of hair loss can also be caused by a number of medical conditions.
How is this condition diagnosed?
A thorough evaluation involving an assessment of your medical history and family history of hair loss will be done. Following that, a trichoscopic examination of your hair and scalp will help to pinpoint the likely diagnosis. However, unlike hair loss in men, an extra step in the form of a series of diagnostic tests is usually required. Click here to find out more about these tests.
How is it treated?
The type of hair loss, diffused or patterned, points us towards the correct direction in determining the course of treatment.
Following the diagnostic tests, depending on our findings, a patient with diffuse hair loss is generally best treated medically, whereas one with patterned hair loss may benefit from a combination of oral medication therapy and hair transplant surgery.