There are many sites and journals that address the hair fall issues and woes amongst the males, as it is generally seen that males generally suffer from hair fall and related issues. However, it is estimated that every year there are thousands of women too going bald. While hair fall is generally acceptable in the males, the bald appearance in females leads to raised eye brows. The whole process of loosing hair and going bald, thus, becomes a cause of great concern and trauma amongst the females.The good news is with proper treatment and care it is very much possible to keep hair loss under check and even regrowth is also possible in some cases.
What is Female Pattern Baldness?
There are many reasons and causes that lead to hair fall in females. While some are physical in nature, others are caused by genetic compositions. One of the most common causes of hair fall in females happens to be female-pattern-baldness. Also known as the androgenic alopecia, the female pattern baldness works almost on the same lines of male pattern baldness. (To read more on this, check out our article on male pattern baldness). Female pattern baldness is caused by the over activity of the androgens in our body.
The common factor between the male pattern baldness and female pattern baldness is that both are caused by the same androgen – testosterone. Though testosterone is a male body hormone, it is present in small amounts in a female’s body as well. However, certain situations result in there being a disbalance in the levels of testosterone. This might result in appearance of facial hair and other male features in the female body. Apart from that, the free testosterone also starts getting converted into dihydrotestosterone (DHT) when a few enzymes work on it. Though similar to male pattern baldness, female pattern baldness differs in the action of enzymes and pattern.
Whereas in men, the conversion to DHT requires action by the enzymes 5-alpha reductase type I and type II, in females, DHT requires to be converted by the action of two enzymes – 5-alpha reductase type I and type II and hydroxysteroid hydrogenase isomerase enzyme. Secondly, in women, there is another indirect androgen, which can lead to high levels of free testosterone – dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). The DHEA is produced in the ovaries and can be converted into testosterone when worked upon by some enzymes.
Once DHT is formed, it starts causing miniaturization of the hair follicle. This makes the hair weak and results in the hair fall. Besides, while the old hair is falling in reduced life cycle (check out our article on “hair life cycle”), no new hair are growing. This starts resulting in baldness. Unlike male pattern baldness, the hairs start losing out on the crown or the hair line of the scalp. Thus, even though the frontal hairline remains intact, the hair all over the rest of the scalp starts thinning.
Causes of female pattern baldness:
While some are temporary causes, others are permanent in nature. Menopause and pregnancy happen to be the most common reasons of female pattern baldness. Besides these, some other factors like telogen effluvium, alopecia areata (an immune disorder that results in temporary hair loss in patchy pattern), certain medications, thyroid disorders, skin diseases, hormonal abnormalities, iron deficiency, under active thyroid, vitamin deficiency, discontinuation of birth control pills etc too act as precursors leading to the female pattern baldness.
Treatment for female pattern baldness:
While the female pattern baldness can be successfully treated, if ignored for long, it might result in total baldness or permanent baldness. However,if diagnosed early on and administered with proper treatments by good professionals, female pattern baldness can be taken head on. understanding the true reason behind the female alopecia is extremely important when trying to treat the condition. Therefore, self diagnosis is not considered a wise choice.
Certain medications like Finasteride (Propecia), Minoxidil (Rogaine) etc have shown efficiency in treating female pattern baldness and are both approved by the FDA. However, Propecia is strictly not recommended amongst pregnant women. Minoxidil has been given a nod by most medical practitioners as the safest bet in treating female pattern baldness.
Now all those worried about hair fall and baldness, stop worrying and get working on preventing baldness.