When we think of hair loss and baldness it’s easy to straight away think of men, however, around one third of women will experience hair loss at some point in their lives. There are different types of hair loss for females, and all can be very distressing. Today, we’re going to discuss female pattern baldness, what it is and if it can be treated.
It is completely normal for us to lose hair on a daily basis, on average we lose around 80 strands of hair each day. If you start to notice that your hair is shedding significantly more than normal, or you feel as if your hair isn’t growing back – that might be when it’s time to looking into hair loss. The first thing to remember is, not all types of hair loss are permanent and you might have nothing to worry about.
Female pattern baldness, also referred to as androgenetic alopecia is the most common cause of hair loss in women, just as it is in men. Androgenetic alopecia causes an inherited sensitivity to the effects of male hormones (androgens) on the scalp and the hair follicles, this causes thinning of the hair in the same way that it does with men. However, women rarely develop a receding hairline and do not develop the same pattern baldness or complete baldness that men do.
Androgenetic alopecia is most commonly seen in women after the menopause but it can in some cases occur in younger women and can even begin in puberty. When women lose their hair due to female pattern baldness the hair loss is from the whole scalp and is uniform, the thinning rarely results in female baldness but the hair thinning can become more apparent at the front or the back of the scalp.
In most cases, hair loss is in your genetics with many parents passing their hair loss issues down to their children, so if your parents or grandparents suffered with hair loss it is likely that at some stage, you will too. However, with female pattern baldness, it is likely that it could be a result of a change in your hormones, which is why many women experience hair loss after menopause.
Our hormones play a huge role in regulating the hair growth cycle and ensuring it remains constantly stable. Simply, Oestrogen, which is a female hormone is ‘hair friendly’ and helps to keep hair in the growth phase for the correct length of time. Androgens, on the other hand, are typically male hormones (but can be found in females) these are not ‘hair friendly’ and can work to shorten the hair growth cycle. If the hair growth cycle is shorted, it can result in the body losing hair faster than it can grow.
An excess of androgens in the body, which can occur for those with conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) can cause hair loss.
Pregnancy Hair Loss
Throughout pregnancy, your hormones will change which can affect the body in different ways. Oestrogen is one hormone that causes hair to remain in the growth stage, during pregnancy your hair growth will increase, making the hair fuller and thicker.
Once you have given birth your hormones will begin to normalise, and this means the amount of oestrogen will normalise and can cause shock to the body. This can cause 60% of the hair to enter the resting stage at once, causing a lot of hair to suddenly shed. After time, your hormones will return to normal and so will your hair, meaning hair loss after pregnancy is nothing to worry about.
Stress Hair Loss
Stress is one of the most common causes of hair loss. When your body is under a lot of stress, physical or mental, more androgens are produced by the body. Androgens can attack the hair growth cycle and can shorten it, which can in turn, cause hair loss.
The one important thing to remember about stress related hair loss is that it is not permanent. Once the stress stops your body will begin to normalise, meaning after a couple of months your hair growth should return to normal.
Female pattern baldness can be defined into different stages which form the Ludwig system. The stages are broken down as followed;
Stage 1: The hair will thin around your natural parting
Stage 2: The thinning will increase around the parting, resulting in the parting appearing much wider
Stage 3: The hair will thin throughout the scalp and you may end up with noticeable see-through areas around the crown
As mentioned, hair loss is a normal part of daily life, however, there are times when hair loss could be more serious and it might be worthwhile visiting your GP or a hair loss specialist. It is hard to monitor how much hair you are losing on a daily basis so it’s better to go by your hair itself. If you’ve noticed balding patches or overall thinning of your hair you could start to take photos of it so that you can review it over time.
Women may experience noticeable hair loss during a major hormonal change, such as after pregnancy, menopause and even during the discontinuation of birth control pills. In most cases, the hair loss does not become terribly advanced and in most cases, is only temporary. Most women will discover their hair will grow back to normal within a year.
If however, you have any concerns about your hair loss and would like to speak to one of our specialists, please contact us today for a no obligation consultation.