There has been a noticeable trend of more and more women turning to hair restoration surgery to fight hair loss. In fact, a recent survey by the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) that the number of female hair restoration surgical patients worldwide jumped from 11.4 percent in 2004 to 15.1 percent in 2008. Female hair loss occurs in more than one pattern. If you are a woman with loss of scalp hair, you should seek professional advice from a physician hair restoration specialist. When medical treatment is not an option, female hair transplantation may be an option.
In most cases, female hair loss can be effectively treated. If you are a woman who has started to lose scalp hair, you are not alone if:
- You are unpleasantly surprised by the hair loss
- You don’t understand why you are losing hair
The patterns of hair loss in women are not as easily recognizable as those in men.
Unlike hair loss in men, female scalp hair loss may commonly begin at any age through 50 or later, may not have any obvious hereditary association, and may not occur in a recognizable “female-pattern alopecia” of diffuse thinning over the top of the scalp. A woman who notices the beginning of hair loss may not be sure if the loss is going to be temporary or permanent—for example, if there has been a recent event such as pregnancy or illness
that may be associated with temporary hair thinning.
If you are a woman who is worried about loss of scalp hair, you should consult a physician hair restoration specialist for an evaluation and diagnosis.
Self-diagnosis is often ineffective. Women tend to have less obvious patterns of hair loss than men, and non-pattern types of hair loss are more frequent in women than in men. Diagnosis of hair loss in a woman should be made by a trained and experienced physician.
In women as in men, the most likely cause of scalp hair loss is androgenetic alopecia—an inherited sensitivity to the effects of androgens (male hormones) on scalp hair follicles. However, women with hair loss due to this cause usually do not develop true baldness in the patterns that occur in men—for example, women rarely develop the “cue-ball” appearance often seen in male-pattern androgenetic alopecia.Patterns of female androgenetic alopecia can vary considerably in appearance. Patterns that may occur include:
- Diffuse thinning of hair over the entire scalp, often with more noticeable thinning toward the back of the scalp.
- Diffuse thinning over the entire scalp, with more noticeable thinning toward the front of the scalp but not involving the frontal hairline.
- Diffuse thinning over the entire scalp, with more noticeable thinning toward the front of the scalp, involving and sometimes breaching the frontal hairline.
Unlike the case for men, thinning scalp hair in women due to androgenetic alopecia does not uniformly grow smaller in diameter (miniaturize). Women with hair loss due to androgenetic alopecia tend to have miniaturizing hairs of variable diameter over all affected areas of the scalp. While miniaturizing hairs are a feature of androgenetic alopecia, miniaturization may also be associated with other causes and is not in itself a diagnostic feature of androgenetic alopecia. In post-menopausal women, for example, hair may begin to miniaturize and become difficult to style. The precise diagnosis should be made by a physician hair restoration specialist.
It is important to note that female pattern hair loss can begin as early as the late teens to early 20s in women who have experienced early puberty. If left untreated, this hair loss associated with early puberty can progress to more advanced hair loss if it is left untreated.Diagnosis and TreatmentIf you are a woman with thinning or lost scalp hair, your first necessary step is to have the condition correctly diagnosed by a physician hair restoration specialist. After a diagnosis is made, the physician will recommend an approach to effective medical or surgical treatment.