This Is Mostly a Male Problem, Right?
Wrong. Hair loss is much more common in women than anyone realizes. The common cause is still inherited AGA, with some exceptions. The pattern tends to be different than in men and it tends to be even more under-diagnosed and treated than AGA in men, but the relentless worsening over time is the same.
What Is Female Pattern Hair Loss?
This is the typical pattern of loss in a woman with AGA. The hairline may thin, but doesn’t recede much and there is general thinning through the top and crown. This will show itself in a widening of the part and more scalp showing through the hair. There is also a loss of hair volume on top. Most affected areas will thin but do not become totally bare. Approximately 90% of women with AGA will have this pattern, with the other 10% having fronto-temporal recession of the hairline.
What Are the Early Clues in Women?
Styling difficulty may develop because of less hair volume on top. A woman with long hair may notice less thickness in her ponytail. Widening of the part or seeing more of the scalp will happen with more loss.
Does It Happen in All Age Groups of Women?
It can start as early as the late teen years and is a problem in all age groups. The longer diagnosis and treatment are delayed, the worse the loss gets.
If This Is So Common, Why Is It Under-Treated?
Unfortunately, most women with hair loss suffer without knowing there is help. It does not pose a risk to your physical health like high blood pressure or cholesterol. With all the physical health concerns your Family Doctor has to monitor, it is not surprising that hair loss is of lower priority for treatment. Often it is never diagnosed or thought to be just part of getting older. Many patients and physicians are not aware of the effectiveness of medical and surgical treatment. Often, many of us won’t ask our Doctor about hair loss because we feel embarrassed or shy. Then more years go by and more hair is lost.
Is a Proper Diagnosis Important?
Hair loss in women can take many different forms and can be subtle. Specialized knowledge and experience are needed for diagnosis in the early stages. Many women with concerns will have their loss unrecognized by their general physician for this reason.
What Can I Do?
You don’t have to do anything. Fact: the loss will get worse. Fact: you can stop it, but you have to get the help to do it. Allowing more hair loss to happen is the only choice where you don’t have to do anything. It’s less work to go bald, but it’s not easier, is it?
Who Can Help?
Many female patients who come to see Dr. Elliott are reassured to know there is finally something they can do. If you are worried about hair loss but haven’t been able to get help, don’t give up. See a hair loss treatment specialist and start getting solutions.