Female Patterned Baldness – Causes and Treatments
Female patterned baldness is similar to male patterned baldness in the fact that both types of hair loss can be caused by the aging process, genetics, and hormones. In general, female patterned baldness results in miniaturized hair that becomes finer in texture than the other hair on the scalp. Many women experiencing hair loss are not sure about how to treat the condition so let’s take a look at the causes and treatments associated with female patterned baldness.
Female Patterned Baldness – What it Looks Like on the Scalp
While male hair loss will start in the front of the head and then recede to the back of the scalp, women can lose hair from all over the scalp. Many patients report their balding area appearing in three sections. The hair loss can start with a small amount of thinning around the part and then it increases to a widening of the part along with increased thinning around this area. Female hair loss often ends with thinning throughout the scalp and a visible area at the top of the scalp.
Female Patterned Baldness – When does it Occur?
Overall, women are less likely to develop female patterned baldness on the scalp before they enter their 40s or 50s. Men can start to lose hair on the scalp at a younger age including their 20s.
Female Patterned Baldness – Treatment Options
Once the diagnosis about the hair loss has been made by a doctor, it is time to discuss treatment options for the patient:
- A hair transplant is when hair grafts are removed from one area of the body of the patient and transplanted into the balding areas of the scalp. Female patients that see the most benefit from a hair transplant are those who suffer from male patterned baldness because their hair is preserved on both the sides and the back of the head (the thinning is limited to some areas on the top of the scalp or the front and the crown). On the other hand, some females are not ideal patients for a hair transplant because they already have a large amount of diffuse thinning all over the head (including the donor area).
- Minoxidil, which is also known as Rogaine, is approved by the FDA to treat the issue of female pattern baldness. The product is available in a 2% topical solution and a 5% topical foam. The final decision regarding which one to use will be discussed between the doctor and the patient but many female hair loss patients opt for the 2% topical solution. Minoxidil will need to be applied to the scalp on a daily basis to see the desired results. The medication will need to be used on a continuing basis as patients will eventually lose the gains/progress they made if they stop using the medication.
- Spironolactone, which is also known as Aldactone, is a diuretic so it works to remove excess fluid from the body. In addition, it blocks the production of androgens and might help to stimulate the regrowth of hair in female patients. Women who are pregnant, or plan on becoming pregnant, should not use this medication as it has been shown to cause birth defects.
In addition to the above treatment options, there are certain supplements such as folic acid, biotin, omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids that are said to thicken hair.
Of course, there is the old school/traditional way of hiding the hair loss by wearing a wig when a hair loss patient is going to be around other people.
Female Patterned Baldness – Can it be Reversed?
Unfortunately, the effects of female pattern baldness are not reversible once they are visible on the scalp. This does not mean the hair loss cannot be addressed so hair regrowth can occur on the scalp. Hair restoration can be achieved by undergoing a hair transplant or using minoxidil on a regular basis. The fact that it can’t be reversed simply means the female patterned baldness has already caused hair loss and that fact cannot be changed. The results of the hair loss can be improved thanks to medical treatments.
Female Patterned Baldness – Treatments Steps
Once a female patient starts to suffer from hair loss, it is time to take the proper steps to address the issue and make a plan to promote the regrowth of hair.
Patients should schedule a consultation appointment with a board-certified doctor that is experienced in hair loss and hair restoration. The doctor will examine the scalp in order to determine the cause of the hair loss, the amount of hair loss and the current condition of the hair. The doctor will also conduct a complete medical evaluation to determine the overall health of the patient.
The doctor will also discuss the desired final results with the patient in order to make sure the person has realistic expectations about what to expect from the treatment plan. Once the surgeon and the patient agree about the final results, a treatment plan can be devised and put into action.