If you’re a woman struggling with hair loss, it’s easy to feel embarrassed and alone. But the truth is that more than half of all women in the US will experience noticeable hair loss or thinning at some point in their lives.
The most common cause of hair loss in women is called female-pattern hair loss (FPHL), which causes a widening of the hair part and thinning on the crown of the head. This common condition affects about 30 million American women, and it can strike at any age after puberty.
At Honest Hair Restoration in Bradenton and Tampa, Florida, board-certified physician Martin Maag, MD, and our compassionate team understand the unique toll that hair loss takes on women. We offer hair loss evaluations and personalized treatment to help restore your hair and your confidence. Keep reading to learn more about FPHL and why early treatment is key.
Understanding female-pattern hair loss
Researchers are still working to understand the exact cause of female-pattern hair loss, or androgenetic alopecia. However, they do know it’s usually caused by a combination of factors rather than a single event.
First, women with FPHL have an inherited genetic trait that’s passed down from either their father’s side, mother’s side, or both. This increases the risk of thinning hair or baldness.
Second, androgens, or male hormones, also play a key role in the development of FPHL. Though women don’t have as many androgens as men, these hormones are still present and are essential in regulating hair growth.
When the androgens are out of balance, the growth phase of the hair cycle shortens, meaning it takes longer for new hair to grow after it naturally sheds. In addition, this imbalance also affects the health of the hair follicle, causing it to shrink. As a result, thinner, shorter hair replaces shed strands.
Finally, other factors can play a role in the development or progression of FPHL, including things like:
- Emotional or physical stress
- Diet or nutritional deficiencies
- Hormonal imbalances
- Certain medications
- Underlying health conditions
FPHL can start at any time of life after puberty, but it’s more common in women over 40, and the risk increases with age, especially after menopause.
Why early treatment of FPHL is important
The signs of FPHL are typically most noticeable on the crown of the head and at the part. You may observe your part becoming wider or that your hair seems less dense on the crown (top-center area) of your head.
Although it’s possible to try to hide thinning hair by changing your hairstyle, if you want to maintain and restore as much of your hair as possible, it’s important to seek out a consultation with a hair-loss specialist at the first signs of FPHL for several reasons:
First, FPHL is a progressive condition. This means that as time passes, your hair loss will worsen. Early treatment and intervention help slow or stop the progression of FPHL, which can make treating your hair loss easier.
Next, when you start treatment early, the health of your hair follicles is protected. This means less damage to the follicles responsible for growing new hair, which is key since the longer hair follicles are inactive, the more challenging it is to stimulate the growth of new hair.
Finally, if you have any underlying conditions or factors contributing to or exacerbating your hair loss, such as hormonal imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, or thyroid problems, early diagnosis and treatment of these issues can slow or prevent further hair loss while helping you grow new hair.
At Honest Hair Restoration, Dr. Maag takes a personalized, patient-centered approach to treating FPHL. The best treatment for your FPHL depends on the stage of hair loss you’re in and the condition of your scalp.
Though every patient is different, Dr. Maag typically recommends nonsurgical therapies, like platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatments, low-level laser therapy, or custom-blended medication to slow hair loss
For women with advanced thinning, Dr. Maag may also recommend a surgical hair transplant to permanently restore hair in thinning or bald areas. The team at Honest Hair Restoration uses a technique called follicular unit extraction (FUE) to give you the best results possible.
FUE involves removing each hair follicle graft individually, which leaves a tiny scar less than a millimeter in size. This means instead of a large scar across your scalp, you have no visible scars.
To get started on personalized treatment recommendations for FPHL, schedule a consultation online or over the phone with Dr. Maag and the Honest Hair Restoration team at the Florida office most convenient to you.