Hair loss is becoming more common in women with about 30% experiencing at least some degree of thinning hair and hair loss in their lifetime. However, because female hair loss tends to be diffuse (less hair all over) and because women often maintain their frontal hairline, their hair loss may not be as noticeable, particularly in its early stages.
The psychological effects of female hair loss can be significant for women and many are emotionally affected, even with modest amounts of thinning hair. This is, in part, due to the false assumption that it is uncommon for women to lose their hair and that hair loss in women is perceived to be socially unacceptable. Both of these perceptions make dealing with hair loss particularly difficult for women.
In addition, the widely used Propecia medication is not indicated for women, so there is a misconception that medical progress in treating female hair loss is not as advanced, or that the medical community does not take the treatment of female hair loss as seriously. Lastly, because hair loss in women can so often be disguised with existing hair, many women choose to hide their hair loss from others. Not sharing their problem tends to isolate them and makes the ability to deal with their hair loss all the more difficult.
Hair loss in women is generally very gradual, with the rate accelerating during pregnancy and at menopause. It can also show seasonal variations and it is more easily affected by hormonal changes, medical conditions and external factors.
Causes of Hair Loss in Women
By far the most common cause of hair loss in men is androgenetic alopecia, also referred to as “male pattern hair loss” or “common” baldness. It is caused by the effects of the male hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) on genetically susceptible scalp hair follicles. DHT causes male hair loss by shortening the growth, or anagen, phase of the hair cycle, causing miniaturisation (decreased size) of the hair follicles and producing progressively shorter, finer hairs until they eventually disappear.
Female hair loss is affected by the actions of two enzymes; aromatase (which is found predominantly in women) and 5-alpha reductase (which is found in both women and men). However, since the diffuse pattern of hair loss typically seen in women can be caused by a number of medical conditions other than common genetic hair loss, a thorough evaluation is particularly important for female patients. If an underlying medical cause can be found and treated, the hair loss can often be reversed.
Classification of Female Pattern Baldness
The common diffuse pattern of female hair loss caused by heredity is organised by the degree of thinning. This system of classification for hair loss in women is called the Ludwig Classification. Hair loss in the Ludwig system is labeled as being mild, moderate and extensive.
Diagnosis of Female Hair Loss
The diagnosis of “female pattern” hair loss is relatively straightforward when there is a history of gradual thinning in the front and/or top of the scalp, a relative preservation of the frontal hairline, a positive family history of hair loss and the presence of miniaturization in the thinning areas.
Treatment for Hair Loss in Women
For women, it is very important to keep the body in the right condition in order to grow healthy and thick hair. For this reason, Hair Regrowth Australia provides the suitable vitamins and minerals to maintain women’s hair to its full potential in order to avoid female hair loss.
Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) is a treatment for hair loss based on the principle of photo-biotherapy where a laser stimulates hair follicles on the scalp producing thicker hair shafts and a fuller appearance. LLLT is most useful in patients with diffuse hair loss (the most common pattern seen in women). Two commonly use forms of laser treatment for hair loss are laser caps and laser combs.