About Women Hair Loss
What is Female Pattern Hair loss?
- Female pattern hair loss (FPHL) is the most common type of hair loss seen in women usually occurring in the 30-60s years of age.
- It is due to genetic and hormonal factors.
- There is gradual thinning of scalp hair at the centre and increased shedding. Bald patches are uncommon in women.
- May be associated with conditions in which androgen (a group of hormones) levels are elevated such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Acne, increased facial hair, irregular periods and infertility are all signs of PCOS.
Is female pattern hair loss hereditary?
- yes. It can be inherited from either or both parents.
How does FPHL manifest? When does FPHL manifest?
- There is wide spread thinning of the hair, mainly on the crown of the scalp. It may initially start as widening of the hair parting areas.
- In females, the hairline at the front of the scalp often remains normal unlike in men where receding of frontal hair line is observed.
- Hairs in the affected areas are initially thinner and shorter compared to hairs in unaffected areas, before they become absent.
- FPHL usually manifests after 40 years of age. Earlier onset may be seen in PCOS patients.
How is FPHL diagnosed? Are there any tests to diagnose FPHL?
- A dermatologist diagnoses FPHL chiefly on history and clinical examination; a simple test such as dermatoscopy aids in the clinical diagnosis.
- The diagnosis is usually based on the history of gradual thinning of hair or increased hair shedding on the top of the head, the pattern of hair loss and any family history of similar hair loss.
- Most FPHL patients do not have any underlying hormonal abnormalities except few cases where excess androgen levels are found.
- Sometimes tests are done to rule out PCOS and congenital adrenal hyperplasia.
- FPHL can be controlled with appropriate treatment. However, it tends to progress very slowly, from several years to decades.
What are the treatment options in FPHL?
- Topical minoxidil and various hormonal treatments can be used to treat FPHL.