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Female Androgenetic Alopecia



What is Female Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA)?

This is a woman’s hair thinning condition associated with hormonal and hereditary factors. When the hair thinning is more advanced, there can be the appearance of baldness at the top of the head, starting behind the bang area. Many females point out that it becomes easier to see the scalp through the hair which they find bothersome. This hair loss condition affects up to 50% of the female population to a certain degree.

 

What is the cause of Female Androgenetic Alopecia?

Due to a genetic predisposition, the androgen receptors inside the follicles are affected by hormones which progressively cause less hair to grow, thus causing female AGA.

What is the cause of Female Androgenetic Alopecia?

Due to a genetic predisposition, the androgen receptors inside the follicles are affected by hormones which progressively cause less hair to grow, thus causing female AGA.

What are the symptoms?

Women suffering from Female AGA experience a gradual increase in hair thinning on an ongoing basis. Most hair loss occurs in a sort of cap shape at the top of their head. The area of hair thinning frequently starts behind the bang area extending to the central scalp area. The Ludwig Scale is a scoring process created to rate the hair loss into 3 categories based upon severity. Type 1 shows early thinning hair of hair growth in the middle third of the scalp, while Type 3 has a marked decrease in grow with more visible scalp than hair and Type 2 is in between.

How is it diagnosed?

Due to its unique location and appearance, female AGA is frequently diagnosed based upon visual inspection. In some cases if the pattern is not classical or specific, a skin biopsy is required for confirmation.
Your doctor, often a dermatologist, will determine if there is a hormone imbalance and order blood tests if there is a possibility of a condition causing androgen excess such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

What tests are needed?

Blood tests are needed on occasion to pinpoint exactly the reason of for the hair thinning. Here are some of the blood tests that are sometimes used to identify the imbalance that is causing your hair loss.

  • Thyroid Tests including TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) T-3, T-4
  • Total and Free Testosterone
  • TIBC (total Iron Binding Capacity) and Iron and Serum Ferritin
  • Androstenedione
  • FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone), LH (Leutinizing Hormone, Prolactin, DHEA, DHEA Sulfate

A skin biopsy might be performed in questionable cases.

What is the expected duration?

Female AGA is considered lifelong and will become progressively more noticeable without treatment.

How can it be prevented?

Because of your genetic predisposition, at this time, there is not a method of the prevention of female AGA.

Treatment

The most common treatments used are growth stimulants such as topical minoxidil, nutritional supplements and anti-androgens such as spironolactone and androgen blockers. These creams, foams or pills can be individually used for treatment and often they are combined to stimulate the hair growth. There is also some success with low-level laser therapy.

Stem cell treatment using Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) can also be used to treat female AGA with success documented in recent clinical studies.

Hair transplant surgery also has the potential to help female AGA as well

When to contact a professional

Contact a professional at the first sign of hair thinning in the middle of the scalp. The earlier treatment is started, the better the results can be.

Prognosis

It can take as little as 4 months, or as much as a year after treatment is started before seeing visible results. Some patients may consult with their hair stylist to create a hair style that may camouflage hair thinning.

 

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