When you think of hair loss you probably think of men, unless that is, you are one of the twenty million women in the U.S. who suffer from hair loss. Though hair loss in men is a common subject for television commercials as well as fodder for television sitcoms, women’s hair loss is so stigmatized it’s hardly talked about at all.
The most common form of hair loss in women is Androgenetic Alopecia or what is known as female pattern baldness. It accounts for over ninety-five percent of incidents of hair loss in women. Like male pattern baldness, it has a large genetic predisposition. It involves androgen and DHT.
Androgen is a male hormone that all men and women produce. Androgen in turn produces a chemical called dihydrotestosterone, more easily remembered as DHT. DHT in excess causes hair follicles to make thinner and thinner hair until they eventually stop making hair altogether.
A significant difference between women’s and men’s hair loss though is that women don’t typically get bald spots or receding hairlines. However, they do experience more thinning of their hair. Some women do lose hair, but at the top of the heads and at the sides.
Another difference is that male pattern baldness can begin at puberty whereas female pattern baldness usually begins around the age of thirty; it often gets worse with the onset of menopause. There are treatments out there, but one should be wary of phonies and of products that work for men, but can be harmful to women. As usual, it’s wise to consult a physician about treatment.