Androgenetic alopecia is the most common hair loss. Commonly known as male pattern baldness, it’s thought to affect over 50 per cent of men over the age of 50 and can start as early as your teens or twenties. However, it is less well known that women can also suffer from androgenetic alopecia.
Female pattern baldness
Androgenetic alopecia is caused by the way that certain hormones affect our hair follicles. Our hair is in a constant growth cycle, but a process of miniaturisation can occur, where the hair follicles shrink, getting smaller, thinner and lighter with each hair growth cycle. Eventually, the hair follicles are unable to produce hair.
Everyone has these hormones present and some people do not react to them. Androgenetic alopecia is a hereditary condition, in that a hair loss sufferer will have a genetic sensitivity to the hormones. The hormone that causes the damage is an androgen, which is a male hormone, but all women have levels of these hormones in the body.
How does this type of female hair loss present?
There is a marked progression to male pattern baldness, with receding of the hair line at the front and side, often accompanied by loss of hair on the top of scalp. Androgenetic alopecia in women usually presents in a completely different manner, although some women can experience a receding hairline. Typically, a woman will suffer diffuse thinning across the scalp as a whole and often see a widening of the middle parting.
As with male pattern baldness, it is usually impossible to predict the rate of hair loss and although this is a progressive hair condition, the majority of women do not experience total hair loss as men do.
Other factors in female hair loss
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that affects the ovaries and hair loss is a common side effect. The menopause also plays a role; female pattern balding usually occurs later than for men, commonly presenting after the menopause when the woman is in her 50s and 60s.
If you are suffering from female pattern hair loss and you’re interested in exploring your hair loss options, the first step should be to make an appointment with a clinic that provides a number of different treatments so they can assess which best suits you.