Hair loss is a problem that is quite common in women. Women lose about 50 to 100 hairs a day and it is not usually noticed because they are restored by the newly growing hair. But when bald blotch or thinning occurs, it may be because of female pattern baldness. In this case, there is no replacement for falling hair with newly grown hair. It results in the formation of patches and spots with no hair on it. The medical term for this state is androgenetic alopecia. About one-third of women suffer from hair loss (alopecia) at some stages of their lives. Hair loss in the case of women has a greater impact than hair loss in the case of males. Hair loss or alopecia can have a great impact on women’s emotions and their lives. This condition of female pattern baldness begins when the hair on the scalp widens apart and you feel that hair is not as thick as they were; they become very thin and less dense. It most probably occurs in the area where they part their hair and on the top central portion of the head. Female pattern baldness is a type of alopecia that is very common. Once your hair starts getting thin your scalp becomes more and more prominent. After this hair starts falling and ultimately there are spots with no hair on your scalp. Early diagnosis is very important in this condition. It is easier to prevent the development of these bald spots than to invigorate the growth of new hair.
Several factors play their role in causing androgenetic alopecia. There have been many types of research going on to find the risk that causes the development of this condition, but most of these elements are unrevealed. Genetic seems to be a noteworthy factor in causing female pattern baldness. This implies that the condition runs in a family. It may also develop after menopause, which means that changes in hormones are also a significant factor in causing female pattern baldness. Many other things can result in hair loss including the most common thyroid disorder, anemia, pregnancy any autoimmune diseases, polycystic ovary syndrome, or other. Researches have shown that this kind of hair loss is related to hormone androgen, particularly an androgen called dihydrotestosterone, androgen have an important role in both male and female in regulating hair growth. Hair growth begins under the skin in follicles. An increase in the level of androgen in these follicles causes the growth of shorter and thinner hair strands. It also shortens the hair growth cycle and retards the growth of new hair to restore the strands that are shed. The investigation is being carried out to find out the connection of androgenic alopecia with other medical conditions as mentioned above. It is thought that these disorders are associated with an increased level of androgens. Androgen is secreted by ovary ant pituitary gland, so any tumor on either ovary or pituitary may also lead to hair loss.
The diagnosis of female pattern baldness can be confirmed by getting through the medical history and the physical examination of the patient. Women having symptoms of hyperandrogenism should be tested for ovarian and adrenal disorders as well. There is some test that should be performed to know the actual cause of hair loss.
Test for hair loss in women:
- Hormone level ( DHEA, Testosterone, androstenedione, prolactin, follicular stimulating hormone (FSH), and luteinizing hormone(LH)).
- Thyroid levels (T3, T4, T5)
- Complete blood count ( CBC)
- Scalp biopsy ( in this process a little part of the scalp usually 4 mm in diameter is removed and examined to understand the real cause of hair loss )
- Hair pull ( in this case doctor pulls a specific amount of hair usually about 100 strands to determine is there any intemperate hair loss. If more than three hairs come out, the patient is probably suffering from excessive hair loss. )
- Densitometry – it is a magnification device that checks miniaturization of the hair shaft.
Most of the hair specialists use two widely known female hair loss density scales: one is Ludwing scale and the other is Savin scale. The two scales are almost similar but unlike the Ludwing scale, the Savin scale can also count for overall thinning.
To get maximum output for the patient the hair loss specialist may use more than one treatment. We have various treatment options however medications are mostly used.
Minoxidil: it is a drug that was originally developed for the treatment of blood pressure, but people taking it noticed that they were growing hair in the spot where they had lost hair previously. Then researches were carried out and the fact was established that applying minoxidil directly to the scalp can restore hair growth. FDA approved 2% minoxidil is available as (over- the counter drug) to treat hair loss in women. a 5% solution of minoxidil is also available for those women who have severe hair loss problems.
Anti-androgens: as discussed above androgen include testosterone and other male hormones that are one of the important causes of hair loss in women. Several women may not get affected by minoxidil. In such cases, they should add anti-androgens drugs with minoxidil for the cure of androgenic alopecia
Hair transplant: many women opt for this method for the solution of hair loss. In this situation, the doctor removes hair from the area with healthy hair growth and transplants it to the patch where the hair is missing. The person may be given a local anesthetic to prevent pain.
A hair transplant often reports life-transforming results. One looks younger, attractive, and more confident. Moreover, it is a permanent and long term solution of baldness and also cost-saving. However, there may be some complications in the process of hair transplants including swelling of the scalp, bleeding, infection, itching, lack of sensation in the treated area. Recovery is not overnight it may take 8 to 10 months for complete recovery.