What you should know about female pattern baldness

Pattern baldness is something that many people associate with being an issue that only men face – but in actual fact, female pattern baldness is a common type of hair loss in women. Also known as androgenetic alopecia, female pattern baldness affects up to 50% of women over the age of 65 but may present earlier in life.

Symptoms of female pattern baldness

The signs of female pattern baldness are distinctive compared to other types of hair loss, as it is a diffuse hair loss characterised by gradual thinning of hair around the crown. Unlike male pattern baldness, which can lead to complete hair loss, female pattern baldness rarely causes total hair loss.

Other symptoms of female pattern baldness include bald spots and patchy hair loss. However, it’s worth noting that telogen effluvium – a common, temporary form of hair loss – can also cause widespread thinning of the hair, so may be confused with female pattern baldness. Common causes of telogen effluvium include menopause, pregnancy, illness and stress.

What causes female pattern baldness?

It’s not currently known for certain what causes female pattern baldness. Unlike male pattern baldness, which is caused by a sensitivity to male sex hormones known as androgens, there has been no research to suggest a similar reaction in women. However, female pattern baldness is thought to be genetic, caused by genes inherited from either parent – or both.

Who is more likely to have female pattern baldness?

If hair loss runs in your family, this could suggest a genetic predisposition, which could make someone more likely to suffer from female pattern baldness. It’s also commonly seen in women who have gone through menopause – which suggests that female pattern baldness may be linked to hormones, as the levels of oestrogen drop during the menopause – as well as women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), as this condition causes high levels of male hormones.

Although female pattern baldness does tend to affect older women who have been through menopause, it can also be seen in women as young as their 20s.

Can I treat female pattern baldness?

Although female pattern baldness cannot be prevented, it can be treated. Minoxidil, a topical treatment, is applied daily to the scalp around the thinning areas to arrest further hair loss – however, it must be used every day, as if treatment ceases, the hair loss will resume after a few months.

Female hair transplants can be a highly effective treatment for women who are struggling with hair loss and want to restore their hair back to its former glory. Hair transplants are a permanent treatment, which makes them a popular choice for pattern baldness sufferers. We see countless women every year who choose to undergo surgery as a permanent solution for their hair loss, so if you’re considering taking the plunge, you’re in safe hands with Crown Clinic.