Female Pattern Baldness can affect females from their teenage years. It also occurs commonly after menopause. The hair loss process is not constant and usually occurs in fits and bursts. Without medication, hair fall tends to progress in its severity.
Female pattern baldness (FPB), or androgenetic alopecia (AGA), is one of the most common forms of hair loss after male pattern hair loss. It does not, in spite of its prevalence, catch the eye as much as male pattern baldness, because it does not quite progress to a state of complete baldness.
However, any which way you look at it, hair loss in women has as much impact on a woman’s psyche as ‘aging’ itself. The inference is obvious - hair plays a vital role in a woman’s life. A head full of lustrous locks for a woman exemplifies beauty, feminine grace, élan and poise.
Female pattern baldness (FPB), like male pattern baldness, is triggered by hormonal imbalance in the body. Conditions, such as ovarian cysts (or, PCOS), or menopause, are exclusive triggers for female pattern baldness.
What also activates the disorder is a fall below normal levels in the ‘hair-protective’ female hormone, oestrogen, in the body. This ‘ups’ the level of the male hormone, testosterone, in the body - the result is hair loss in women.
The ‘saving grace’ is, unlike men, DHT-sensitive hair follicles in women are spread diffusely all over the scalp. Hence, they don’t ‘go’ bald like men (in front and top of the head), but lose hair diffusely all over the scalp.
The other basis of female pattern hair loss is genetics - the problem tends to run in families and is passed on from one generation to the other.
Trichologists evaluate the extent of hair loss and its chronology, followed by certain lab and other tests. For menopausal women, with female pattern baldness, there is no need for investigations, because the cause is obvious. Similarly, a family history of baldness (on either side) is generally enough to decode whether the cause is genetic.
As far as ovarian cysts are concerned, trichologists may examine the patient for abnormal hair growth on the body, excess facial hair and acne. Or, enquire if you have irregular periods.
Female pattern baldness is also usually diagnosed based on -
Treatment is aimed at slowing down the progress of hair loss and facilitating growth of hair. In advanced cases, the individual may require to wear a wig or hairpiece, or undergo hair transplantation.
The duration of medical treatment for Female Pattern Baldness, of course, depends on the stage of hair loss and other factors, such as health of hair or scalp - this may take 2-3 months, or more, to respond to treatment.
Click on to read in detail about treatments available for Female Pattern Baldness.