More than 50% of adult women of all age group suffer from hair loss problem. Pattern hair loss or androgenetic alopaecia increases with advancing age. The result is a receding hair density on the crown and front of the scalp. The commonest effect of the problem is in the psychological setback and the social embarrassment that they suffer from. What women do not realize in time is that this problem is completely curable with proper clinical and medical intervention. It is advisable to start therapy as soon as the hair loss attains a noticeable degree, as arresting hair loss at an early stage is easier than trying to stimulate and regrow hair follicles on the balding parts.
Non – pharmacological treatment methods can be suggested for treating hair loss in women in certain cases. These include hair transplant, changing the hairstyle and cosmetic camouflage of the affected areas. It has been proved that female pattern hair loss depends on androgen in most cases. It is also a persistent progressive problem, treatment for which needs to be continued as long as the condition persists. Initial results may take some time to show, and this time may go up to as high as 24 months.
Keeping the patient in treatment by counseling her constantly, is a major pre-requisite of the active treatment process. Pharmacological options of treating the problem are also there in administering minoxidil or antiandrogens. But again, the patient needs to hold up with a lot of patience, as treatment may take an indefinite time.
There are certain basic differences between men and women regarding androgenetic alopaecia. Women are naturally more conscious about hair fall and are likely to report at an early stage of hair shedding. Moreover, women start experiencing pattern hair loss at a later age than their male counterparts. Severe hair loss is a condition found in lesser number of women, as also the case of receding frontal hairline. In both male and female pattern hair loss, the hair follicles gradually transform into follicles looking vellus- like. The shaft diameters of such hair follicles reduce and continue to become thinner. Women suffering from PHL have lesser number of hair follicles during the hair growth phase than the hair shedding phase in the cycle.
The role played by androgens in female pattern hair loss is not yet absolutely clearly defined. Cases have been observed where hair loss has occurred without much hike in the androgen level. This clearly shows the involvement of some other factors in case of FPHL. Severity of female hair loss has been graded by the Ludwig grades I, II, and III, the severest being Grade III. In case of women affected with losing hair uniformly from all parts of the scalp, hair transplant is not a good option, as donor follicles are not likely to be of very high quality.