Female Androgenetic Alopecia
While the patterns of baldness for men and women differ, they both have a common genetic cause. With male pattern baldness, hair loss typically occurs on the top and front of the head. With female pattern baldness, thinning occurs on the top and crown of the head.
This thinning in women often starts as a widening of the centre hair part that leaves the front hairline unaffected. Medication may prevent further hair loss. In some cases, surgeons can transplant hair or reduce the area of bald skin. Natural-looking wigs and hairpieces can help cover hair loss.
Androgenic alopecia can be caused by a variety of factors tied to the actions of hormones, including some ovarian cysts, taking high androgen index birth control pills, pregnancy, and menopause.
For most who suffer with this, complete remission is probable as long as severely stressful events can be avoided. For some women, however, telogen effluvium is a mysterious chronic disorder and can persist for months or even years without any true understanding of the triggering factors or stressors.
Male Androgenetic Alopecia
Male pattern hair loss is the most common cause of balding. The pathogenesis involves androgen, and in particular dihydrotestosterone, binding to androgen receptors in the dermal papilla of sensitive hair follicles. Hair follicle sensitivity is genetically determined and shows regional specificity. Androgen stimulation of scalp dermal papilla cells induces transforming growth factor beta (TGF-B) and results in cyclical miniaturization of the entire hair follicle. The resulting hair produced from that follicle is shorter and finer and provides less complete scalp coverage.
In contrast androgen stimulation of beard dermal papilla cells
produces insulin growth factor -2 (IGF-2) and results in cyclical
enlargement of the entire hair follicle. The resulting hair produced
from that follicle is longer and thicker and provides more complete
facial skin coverage. Some degree of androgenetic alopecia is universal
among ageing men, especially bitemporally, however less than half become
bald in the Hippocratic sense. Although scalp hair coverage has little
functional importance, it has cosmetic significance.
Baldness changes the facial appearance of affected men. When that change is perceived as adverse it has the potential to produce emotional morbidity.
Frequently asked questions
Anagen is followed by a brief transition phase known as the catagen phase, which lasts 1–2 weeks. During this time, the base of the follicle shrivels. The resting period, or telogen phase, follows catagen and lasts for 3 months. In this phase, the shrunken follicle retains the hair fibre. Following the telogen phase, the next anagen phase begins, and the old hair is dislodged and falls out to make room for a new hair to begin growing in its place.
Alopecia areata, also known as spot baldness, is a condition in which hair is lost from some or all areas of the body. Often it results in a few bald spots on the scalp, each about the size of a coin. Psychological stress may result. People are generally otherwise healthy. In a few, all the hair on the scalp or all body hair is lost and loss can be permanent.
Treatment may address any underlying conditions and includes topical scalp medication. Alopecia areata is believed to be an autoimmune disease. Risk factors include a family history of the condition.