Female alopecia refers to the pathological loss of hair on any part of the body. In other words, it not only affects the hair on the head but can damage the eyebrows, eyelashes or other areas.
In women, it is rare for this form of baldness to progress to total hair loss as it does in men. Still, it can generate a strong emotional impact since it is considered unsightly. Why does this condition occur?
Main causes of female alopecia
Female alopecia can have different causes and characteristics. Generally, as in men, it is classified as scar or non-scar alopecia. In the first type, what happens is that a destruction of the hair follicle occurs, so the hair loss is irreversible.
The main causes of scarring alopecia are skin diseases such as discoid lupus or lichen planus. On the other hand, non-scarring alopecia is those in which the hair can grow back. We are going to talk about the most common types within this category.
Androgenetic female alopecia
Androgenetic alopecia is also known as female pattern alopecia. It is the most frequent cause of this situation in women. So much so that it affects almost 50% of women at some point in their lives.
Its appearance is associated with age; that is, the incidence increases as ageing occurs. In particular, it is estimated that it affects 30% of women in their 70s; however, it can occur at other stages.
Baldness is evident in the central area of the head; It is important to note that the forehead line is preserved, so the famous “entrances” that usually characterize men do not appear.
The truth is that the factors involved in its development are not exactly known. It is believed that there is significant hormonal and metabolic influence. Furthermore, a study carried out at a University in Brazil shows that the genetic influence is remarkable.
Now, although the condition is called androgenetic alopecia, most women who suffer from it have normal levels of androgens in their blood. Therefore, this data is not relevant to your study.
Alopecia areata is a less common pathology that seems to have an immune cause. In this case, what happens is that hair loss occurs in the form of rounded patches. There can be a single focus or several, and even affect more than 50% of all hair.
Although it falls into the category of reversible alopecia, it is a recurring situation. In some people, it can cause loss of all hair. Also, its appearance is associated with stressful situations or a depressed immune system.
What are other factors associated with this condition?
Numerous factors influence hair loss, so the causes of this situation are almost innumerable. We can find female alopecia as a consequence of childbirth, due to extreme weight loss, bleeding or even surgical procedures.
Hormonal alterations, such as thyroid pathology, can also be the cause. Similarly, it has been considered that certain infections, carcinogenic processes and medical treatments can cause female alopecia.
It is also important to note that there is a psychiatric disorder, called trichotillomania, which consists of compulsively pulling hair. This situation should be differentiated from the rest since the approach when seeking treatment will be different.
Can female alopecia be treated?
As in men, female alopecia can be treated, but it depends on the cause. We must bear in mind that this situation has a very strong impact on the level of self-esteem and self-evaluation. Therefore, it is essential to individualize each case and do everything possible to solve it.
For androgenetic alopecia, a medicine called minoxidil is usually used, which stimulates hair growth. It is contraindicated if the woman is pregnant or lactating.
In the case of alopecia areata, this medicine can also be used, in addition to corticosteroid treatments. However, none of these drugs is without side effects, so they should always be prescribed by a doctor.