Frank Agullo, MDBoard Certified Plastic Surgeon

Female Hair Loss

Female Hair Loss

Hair Loss in Women

Hair loss in women is more common than what you might imagine. Around 30% of women experience some level of hair loss. 50% of women more than 40 years old have experienced some level of hair loss. Because hair loss in women occurs somewhat uniformly across the scalp top, not affecting the front hairline, it is usually not easily noticeable early on.

Emotional Consequences of Female Hair Loss

The psychological effects of hair loss can be great for women, with sometimes even the slightest hair thinning causing considerable distress. Many women incorrectly think that hair loss is uncommon in women or that it is socially intolerable. At Southwest Plastic Surgery we try not only to provide the best hair loss treatment, but also the emotional support to help you realize that female hair loss is not something unnatural and can most certainly be managed.

Causes of Female Hair Loss

Androgenic Alopecia (AGA) Causes

Androgenic Alopecia affects both males and females, where it’s called male pattern hair loss and female pattern hair loss respectively. This pattern however, is quite different from the patterns found in male hair loss. In females, the hair loss pattern is in the form of diffuse thinning across the scalp’s top. All classifications of hair loss (see below) follow the same pattern.

There is no set age at which a girl/woman can begin experiencing hair loss. Hair loss and can start between teen-age and middle age. Androgenic alopecia in women has a strong relationship with genetics from the mother or father’s family.

Non-AGA Causes

There are a number of female hair loss causes other than those linked to androgenic alopecia. These include:

  • Alopecia areata. Autoimmune disorder causing patchy hair loss from diffuse thinning to widespread balding.
  • Scarring alopecia. Scarring of the scalp. Severe scarring can happen as a result of physical, surgical, or burn injury.
  • Loose-anagen syndrome. Common condition especially in fair-haired females where loose hair come off while combing. This condition may improve with age.
  • Trichotillomania. Compulsive hair plucking. Idly or deliberately, it can result in permanent hair loss.
  • Scalp infections. Hair is damaged by bacteria, fungi or viruses.

Causes of Temporary Hair Loss

Temporary hair loss is more common in women than in men. The usual causes for this type of hair loss are hormonal changes linked to pregnancy and untreated hypothyroidism.
We recommend that you visit Southwest Plastic Surgery’s hair restoration specialists if you have concerns regarding your hair loss and health to help determine a cause.

Medical Causes Female Hair Loss

  • Post-partum and post-menopausal states
  • Ovarian tumors
  • Anemia (iron deficiency)
  • Thyroid disease
  • Connective tissue diseases e.g. Lupus
  • Nutritional causes ranging from crash diets to bulimia
  • Stress and severe emotional problem

Drugs Causing Hair Loss in Females

  • Blood thinners and blood pressure medication
  • Seizure medication
  • Gout, colchicines and alopurinol medication
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs such as prednisone
  • Medications for lowering cholesterol
  • Chemotherapy
  • Thyroid medications
  • Oral contraceptives, especially ones high in progestin
  • Miscellaneous drugs ranging from diet pills to street drugs like cocaine

Classification of Female Hair Loss

Female hair loss can be classified in a simple way. The classification, known as the Ludwig classification, has three levels:

  • Type I (mild)
  • Type II (moderate)
  • Type III (extensive)

Type I – Hair thinning is not noticeable and can be easily hidden with good grooming. Women with Type I are not recommended to opt for a surgical hair restoration treatment.

Type II – Hair thinning is noticeable with the midline part greatly widened. We may recommend hair transplant to Type II patients only if the donor area (sides and back of scalp) is stable.

Type III – Generalized thinning resulting in a slight see-through look from the scalp’s top. We may recommend hair transplant to Type II patients only if the donor area (sides and back of scalp) is stable.

Treatment of Female Hair Loss

It is very important that women get an accurate diagnosis before any hair transplant treatment, especially for diffuse hair loss with medical condition as probable causes. Once properly diagnoses, there are a number of treatment options including:

  • Medication
  • Laser Therapy
  • Camouflage
  • Surgical Restoration

Hair Loss Medication

There are different hair loss medicines for women ranging from Rogaine (minoxidil) to Propecia (finasteride). The medication can be used solely for Type I patients, or as part of an overall hair restoration solution.

Laser Therapy

This treatment uses photo-biotherapy, stimulating the hair follicles to produce thicker hair, improving your hair volume. The laser therapy is most beneficial for women with diffuse hair loss.

Camouflage

By using camouflage techniques such as creative hair styling, women can conceal their hair loss because their font hair line is usually unaffected. Smart use of cosmetic products like sprays and powders can also help create a natural look. This method works only if there is enough hair to support the products.

Surgical Hair Restoration

Southwest Plastic Surgery has the experts and equipment to deliver first-rate surgical hair transplant procedures such as Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) and Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE). These procedures can dramatically enhance a woman’s appearance.

As with all our patients, we perform a proper diagnosis before recommending any form of treatment, in effect being of the greatest help to women who come to us with hair loss problems.

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