Hair Loss: Is my hair loss female pattern hair loss or another health issue?

Have you been noticing a change in your hair recently? Maybe that once, small bald patch has become more prominent… A significant loss of hair could be the result of female pattern hair loss or another health issue that you are unaware of.  


To determine whether you are suffering from female pattern hair loss, firstly you should understand what female pattern hair loss is; including learning the causes of it, the symptoms, and the treatment you could undertake to help prevent it from becoming worse.  


Female Pattern Hair Loss (FPH) 

What is female pattern hair loss? Also known as androgenetic alopecia, female pattern hair loss is the gradual thinning of hair over a period. Female pattern hair loss is a result of your hair’s growing phase slowing down; when the phase slows down it results in new hair taking longer to begin growth and the hairs which do grow are usually thinner and break easily.  

Female pattern hair loss can be triggered by your genetics, so checking your family history may be necessary. However, if you find that no one in your family have or are suffering from female pattern hair loss, it does not mean you are in the clear… they are other factors which influence female pattern hair loss, for example, your hormones. There are two key hormones which can determine female pattern hair loss for women;  

  • Androgens 

Androgens are hormones that can influence your hair growth. An increased level of androgens in your hair follicles can cause the cycle of your hair growth to be shortened; this causes the growth of thinner, shorter hairs and a delay in the growth of new hairs once the old ones shed. Therefore, a high level of androgens is a big NO NO. You do not want this! With this, hair follicles shrink over time, and eventually new hairs will not grow at all.  

  • Estrogen  

Female pattern hair loss is most common after menopause, with this, the declining levels of estrogen in your body triggers the shedding of hair.  

Androgens is the centre of attention in relation to the cause of early onset female pattern hair loss as, those suffering from early onset female pattern hair loss tend to have more male family members that are suffering from male pattern hair loss. Male pattern hair loss is related to androgen levels. Women with early onset female pattern hair loss often have high androgen levels or a greater sensitivity to androgen. Women who have a high level of androgen in their blood may experience the following symptoms;  

  • A history of unwanted hair growth (excess facial hair) 
  • Irregular periods  
  • Adult acne  

In comparison, women who suffer from late onset female pattern hair loss, the symptom of having high levels of androgens is less likely. In fact, menopause differs with causing a decrease in blood androgens.  

So, as understood both teenagers and older women can suffer from female pattern hair loss. Key influences which cause female pattern hair loss include; genetics and hormones. However, as a side note you should take into consideration that even your lifestyle can influence female pattern hair loss. For example, someone who smokes can increase their risk of developing female pattern hair loss… so if you smoke this could be another reason as to why you should stop!  


So hopefully now you understand the main causes of female pattern hair loss, but you should also be aware on how female pattern hair loss appears.  

As stated before, female pattern hair loss is the thinning of hair; the thinning occurs all over the head, not in patches. In most cases the hair loss is mild, meaning you would not have complete baldness. However, the hair loss can progress to be noticeable and unfortunately the hair lost tends to be permanent. Female pattern hair loss starts with thinner, shorter hairs which shed and are not replaced; this occurs more on the crown and the top of the head. You should be aware that female pattern hair loss does not usually affect the hairline. If suffering from female pattern hair loss, you may notice a slightly wider part and your hair may feel thinner. Although there is no itching, some women have suffered from a burning sensation (particularly when brushing their hair.) The shedding of hair when suffering from female pattern hair loss can stop and start at any point, making the process inconsistent.  

Doctors and other professionals will carry out tests to rule out other forms of hair loss before identifying it as female pattern hair loss; with this they will assess the appearance of your hair to determine the type of hair loss. This is why it is important for you, yourself to know how female pattern hair loss appears!  


Now, the treatment… What treatments can you use to prevent female pattern hair loss from progressing further in affecting you? Some treatments will help female pattern hair loss but they unfortunately will not cure the form of hair loss. However, just because they will not cure female pattern hair loss does not mean you should not think about giving them a go! Treatments for female pattern hair loss include; 

  • Rogaine (Minoxidil) – helps the regrowth of hair and slows down hair loss; this form of treatment is best to start taking before the form of hair loss progresses to far.  
  • Aldactone – effective for women whose hair loss is caused by having excessive androgens in their body; this form of treatment may be effective but you must read into it before taking as it is known to have serious side effects.  
  • Flutamide – similar to Aldactone, this form of treatment blocks the effects of androgens on the body; again this treatment has serious side effects so do not take without being fully informed on it beforehand.  
  • Cimetidine – has an anti-androgenic effect, is used to treat hair loss where excess androgens are present.  
  • Finasteride – useful for women with high testosterone levels however, this form of treatment can have harmful effects so is not widely recommended.  

If you are thinking about starting one of these forms of treatments it is highly recommended that you speak to your doctor or a specialist before. Due to the fact that some of them have serious side effects it is important that you are fully aware of the treatment you may decide to undergo. Afterall, as previously stated these treatments will not cure female pattern hair loss!  

Besides using medication to help treat female pattern hair loss, there are alternative options you could use such as, wearing a hair system! Why not try a new look!  


Alternative Health Issues  

As an end point, despite female pattern hair loss there are still other health issues that can cause hair loss for women. Key examples of other health issues that can cause hair loss for women include the following;  

  • Alopecia Areata  
  • Significant Illnesses  
  • Scalp Infections  
  • Scarring Diseases  

So, whether you are suffering from female pattern hair loss or another health issue that has caused you hair loss, remember that you are not alone! You can speak to a doctor or specialist in order to receive the help you need!  


Here are some websites in which I used to gain knowledge on the subject of Female Pattern Hair Loss; why not give them a read so you are fully informed for yourself. 

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