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Hair loss in women

While the onset of hair loss can be seen as undesirable for anyone, it is a well-known phenomenon for men. However, for women losing hair the experience can be disturbing and often women feel a unique sense of shame which is exacerbated by the strong correlation between beauty and having a full head of hair. The media would have us think that women don’t experience significant hair loss, let alone balding, but this is a myth that merits debunking.

There are believed to be approximately 30 conditions that cause hair loss in women, and many can be resolved with proper treatment. Women experiencing hair loss should consult with their physician to determine the cause of their hair loss and eliminate any serious medical conditions before evaluating hair loss treatments.

The most common causes of hair loss in women:

  • Crash dieting or poor nutrition
  • Birth control pills
  • Hairstyles that stress the scalp (traction alopecia)
  • Extreme stress
  • Iron deficiency
  • Hormonal imbalances like pregnancy and menopause
  • Major surgery
  • Medications
  • Endocrine conditions that affect thyroid function
  • Systemic diseases like lupus
  • Genetics

Female Pattern Baldness

Female pattern baldness, known as Alopecia Areata, is an autoimmune disorder which affects over 30 million women in the United States alone. Women with this condition are genetically oversensitive to the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), causing a pervasive thinning of the hair follicles resulting in a smaller hair shaft and consequently thinner hair. Eventually this can lead to a complete cessation of follicle production, which is typically concentrated at the crown of the head. In addition to genetics, the condition can be exacerbated by aging and menopause. For women suffering from female pattern baldness, receding hairlines are rare.

  • Class 1
  • Class 2
  • Class 3

Female Baldness: The Ludwig Scale

  • Type 1 female baldness is the least severe with thinning on the top of the head.
  • Type 2 hair loss in women is more significant with areas of the scalp showing through thinning hair.
  • Type 3 patients may completely lose hair on the crown of the head. In this case, more donor hair will be required to obtain full coverage.

Learn more about treatment options for women with hair loss here.

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