When we think of hair loss, we conjure images of men going bald. But hair loss can affect women as well, even if in slightly different ways than men.
Below, we will discuss the causes of female hair loss, the role hormones play in it, and how it all ties in with hair restoration.
What Can Cause Female Hair Loss?
By their 40th birthday, about 40% of women will have experienced some kind of hair loss. For men, this number is somewhat higher – 65% of men suffer from hair loss by age 35 – but it’s clear that hair loss is not only a problem for men.
There are various reasons for female hair loss, from hormone levels to stress, weight loss, thyroid issues, childbirth, or iron deficiency. Depending on the cause, the resulting hair loss can be temporary or more permanent.
We will address the various causes of temporary hair loss and how to best address it in a different blog post. Today, we are taking a closer look at hormones.
Hair Loss Caused by Hormones
When men experience hair loss, it typically occurs in a horseshoe pattern, with a growing bald spot on top of the head and a ring of remaining hair around the sides and back. We call this male pattern baldness.
For women, most forms of hair loss have a more diffuse pattern, meaning the hair thins out across the entire scalp.
But here is what’s the same for both women and men: the vast majority of hair loss can be blamed on hormones. The type of hair loss caused by hormones is called Androgenic Alopecia. More commonly, we speak of Male Pattern Baldness (MPB) or Female Pattern Hair Loss (FPHL). Not only is pattern baldness the culprit for most male and female hair loss, it is also the most serious form, because the hair loss is often permanent.
The Role of DHT in Hair Loss
In recent years, scientists have made great inroads into pinpointing the actual hormone that causes hair loss. This doesn’t mean we are close to curing it, but we are beginning to understand more about it.
The responsible hormone is known as DHT, which your body produces together with testosterone. Both men and women have testosterone, but in men the level of testosterone vs estrogen and progesterone is high. In women, it is the reverse.
Some people are genetically predisposed to produce higher levels of DHT with their testosterone. These are the people more predisposed to male or female pattern hair loss. For women, the change in hormone balances brought on by menopause can often trigger hair loss.
What Can I Do Against Female Pattern Hair Loss?
The good news is, even permanent hair loss can be reversed. Male and female hair restoration has become increasingly popular over the last decade. The reason is that hair restoration technology has become more refined. Hair transplants have a much higher success rate than before, they can be made to look much more natural, and all of it can be accomplished with a faster than ever recovery.
But for women, hair restoration is more of a “last resort,” whereas for men it is typically the most promising approach. Female hair loss can be treated with other, non-medical and medical treatments, with surgery being only one part of the treatment plan if other approaches don’t work.
A doctor treating female hair loss will typically run a thorough hormone panel to ensure that the patient’s hormones are stabilized.
This is more of a factor for women than for men. Male hormones don’t typically fluctuate as much as they do for women. If you are already on some type of hormone therapy as a result of menopause, then you have probably had your hormones checked.
Contact NuBody Concepts for Female Hair Loss Treatment
At Nashville Hair Doctor we do not currently offer hair transplants for female patients. However, our sister practice NuBody Concepts offers female hair loss treatment, provided by Michael L. Reed, MD, board-certified dermatologist and Associate Professor of Clinical Dermatology at New York University Medical Center. Dr. Reed is the author of “Women’s Hair Loss: The Hidden Epidemic,” and has decades of experience focused specifically on the medical and surgical treatment of hair and scalp disorders.
Here are some questions a female patient may be asked about her hair loss:
1. How old are you? Have you had children? If so, how old is your youngest?
2. Have you had your hormones checked? Was an extensive panel done?
3. Has your hair loss been very slow, or does it feel like it happened all of a sudden?
4. Are you presently on any type of hormone therapy?
Please note that we are not a hormone clinic. We will not check your hormones or prescribe therapy. This is simply something we recommend you have checked if hair loss is an issue. Beware of a provider who does not make this recommendation – they likely haven’t done their homework to fully understand female hair loss and how to achieve the best results.
Want to have your female hair loss assessed by a professional who has extensive experience treating female hair loss? Please view the NuBody Concepts Female Hair Restoration page and schedule a consultation with Dr. Reed for a scalp assessment.