Ladies, have you noticed your part widening or excess shedding? You may be dealing with hair loss. But, don’t fear! You’re not alone. Female Pattern Hair Loss (FPHL), also known as androgenetic alopecia, is a common condition that affects millions of women worldwide.
What Is Female Pattern Hair Loss?
Female Pattern Hair Loss is a progressive condition characterized by the gradual thinning and loss of hair in a well-defined pattern. Unlike male pattern baldness, which typically starts with receding hairlines and bald spots, FPHL tends to cause diffuse thinning on the top of the head. This is the most common cause of hair loss in women and is thought to be influenced by both genetic and hormonal factors.
Causes of Female Pattern Hair Loss
Genetics: Family history plays a significant role in the development of FPHL. If your mother, grandmother, or other female relatives experienced hair thinning or baldness, you may be more susceptible to this condition.
Hormones: Hormonal fluctuations, particularly changes in androgens (male hormones like testosterone), can contribute to FPHL. An enzyme called 5-alpha reductase converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which can shrink hair follicles, leading to thinner and finer hair.
Age: FPHL often becomes more noticeable as women age, especially after menopause when hormonal changes become more pronounced.
Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and thyroid disorders, can increase the risk of FPHL.
Medications: Some medications, including certain birth control pills, can affect hair growth and contribute to FPHL in susceptible individuals.
Symptoms of Female Pattern Hair Loss
The symptoms of FPHL typically include:
- Thinning of hair on the top of the scalp: Women with FPHL often notice their hair becoming progressively thinner, with a widening part and less volume.
- Widening of the part: As hair loss advances, the parting in the hair may become wider and more noticeable.
- Receding hairline: In some cases, women may also experience a receding hairline, though this is less common than in male pattern baldness.
- Excessive hair shedding: Increased hair shedding while washing or brushing hair is a common symptom of FPHL.
Treatment Options for Female Pattern Hair Loss
The good news is that there are treatment options available to manage and potentially slow down the progression of FPHL. Some common treatments include:
- Topical Minoxidil: This over-the-counter topical medication can promote hair growth and prevent further hair loss. It is applied directly to the scalp.
- Prescription Medications: Your dermatologist may prescribe medications like spironolactone or finasteride to help block the effects of androgens on hair follicles.
- Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy: PRP involves injecting your own platelets into the scalp to stimulate hair follicles and promote hair growth.
- Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT): LLLT devices emit low-level laser light to stimulate hair follicles and promote hair growth.
- Hair Transplantation: In severe cases, hair transplantation surgery can be an option to restore lost hair.
- Hairpieces or Wigs: For those who prefer non-invasive solutions, hairpieces or wigs can provide an immediate cosmetic improvement.
Female Pattern Hair Loss can be distressing, but with early intervention and appropriate treatment, it is possible to slow down the progression of the condition and regain confidence in your appearance. If you suspect you have FPHL, talk to our team for a proper diagnosis and personalized treatment plan.
The information presented in this blog is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. Sources for the above information include The American Academy of Dermatology. If you have questions or concerns, please call our office or make an appointment with a medical professional. Savannah River Dermatology is located at 575 Furys Ferry Rd in Augusta, Ga. Our office can be reached at 706-691-7079.