Female alopecia has different causes varying from genetics to medical conditions.
Also known as female pattern hair loss, androgenetic alopecia is one of the most frequent causes of hair loss for women.
According statistics, It affects 12% of women by the age of 30 and up to 40% after menopause.
The mechanisms of hair loss are not completely understood.
However, it is accepted that male hormones play a role.
Androgenetic alopecia presents itself as thinning and sparse hair, resulting in miniaturization.
Miniaturization is a progressive process of thinning and shortening of the hair.
The end stage of miniaturization is permanent hair disappearance.
Besides miniaturization, there is a larger number of hair in the resting phase, which causes more hair to fall out.
Hormonal role in female alopecia
Male hormones, also called androgens, seem to play a role in female pattern hair loss.
Although there is evidence that androgens can contribute to female hair loss, the levels of testosterone, its precursors and metabolites are usually normal.
On the other hand, female hormones, such as progesterone and estrogen, seem to act in an opposite way.
The protective effect of female hormones causes a decrease of progress in female hair loss when they take oral contraceptives or during pregnancy.
Signs of female pattern hair loss
Women usually take longer than men to realize that they are experiencing hair loss.
The reason is perhaps the lack of knowledge about female alopecia.
Culturally, baldness is a male characteristic.
Therefore, women are not used to thinking about baldness as a possibility.
Furthermore, it is more difficult to notice female alopecia because the evolution of hair loss of women is more diffused and slower than male alopecia.
So, it is important to distinguish whether hair loss or thin hair may actually be female alopecia.
First signs of female alopecia
The first sign is usually a decrease in hair volume.
The decrease in hair can be noticed when women put their in a bun or pony tail.
Sometimes, the reduction of hair volume in women is evident only when compared to their old teenage photos.
A common situation is the enlargement of central hair risk, which appears when women comb their hair.
Wet hair or hairdos such as buns or pony tails also often expose the scalp.
Advanced female alopecia
Scalp exposure and thin hair are the main features of advanced female pattern hair loss.
Sometimes, the hair is so thin that it looks like newborn hair.
The lack of hair forces women to look for ways to disguise the hair loss.
Scalp make-up, headbands, sprays and products for thinning hair are frequently used.