Female pattern hair loss (FPHL) refers to any condition characterized by baldness in girls or women with androgenetic alopecia. Its can be a result of genetic predispostion, sudden changes to the body’s hormonal system, medical conditions, medications, physical or emotional stress or aging.
Another condition called chronic telogen effluvium also presents with an increase of hair shedding and it is often confused with FPHL. It’s crucial to differentiate between these two conditions as management for both conditions differ.
While some types of female pattern baldness are associated with post-menopausal women, other types present themselves at the onset of puberty. There are several possible medical treatments available and numerous hairstyling techniques can be employed to mask its symptoms.
Unless FPHL is caused by a medical problem elsewhere in the body, it generally is not associated with any ill effects. However, the psychological trauma suffered by a girl or woman who is losing her hair can be significant.
In fact, some patients may even benefit as much from psychological counseling as from their medical treatments. Alopecia can severely affect a woman’s emotional well-being and quality of life.
40% of women have visible hair loss by the time they are age 40, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
Unlike male pattern hair loss, female pattern baldness does not usually cause the hairline to recede. Instead, the girl or woman will notice a gradual thinning of her hair, particularly on the top of the head. Some doctors diagnose females who lose more than 100-125 hairs per day as suffering from FPHL.
Although some hair may grow back, the new hair is usually shorter, thinner, and whispier than the original. If the cause is genetic in nature, it can be inherited from either the mother’s side of the family or the father’s.
Female Pattern Baldness
It’s important to note that not all female baldness is a result of FPHL. For example, women can lose hair due to medications they are taking, hairstyling techniques they employ, or disorders afflicting their immune system.
FPHL may result in permanent baldness, although hair loss may be temporarily stopped or reversed with the use of an FDA-approved drug called minoxidil (meh-nox-eh-dil). Although many women will not benefit from the use of minoxidil, those who do are likely to continue experiencing positive results as long as they continue to use the drug. Unfortunately, minoxidil can be expensive and may not always be a practical long-term solution to the problem.
Spironolactone (speh-ren-no-LAK-tone) is another medication, actually a diuretic, which has been recommended for decades to take care of hair loss. It really is a common treatment for FPHL since it can help restore hair regrowth and prevent hair thinning from worsening.
With any medication, unwanted effects are possible. Consult your dermatologist about possible side effects that you may experience while taking one of the medications.
The FDA in addition has approved laser combs, helmets, plus some other devices, which are available without a prescription, to take care of hair loss at home.
Cosmetic treatments of female pattern hair loss include the use of hair transplants, wigs, weaves, braids, and different hairstyles to cover up the baldness.