Many equate hair loss with men; middle aged older men and even young men in their early twenties, not many people are aware that approximately 30% of all women in the US suffer from some form of hair loss. And they do suffer. It is difficult for men to deal with hair loss, it whittles away at a person’s self confidence, which in turn may affect both their personal and professional lives. For a woman, it is emotionally devastating. She feels her femininity slipping away and few women know where to turn.
Articles and advertising have focused on men and many women have no idea that there are options for them as well. When I first entered the field of hair restoration in 1994 most physicians were
reluctant to address female hair loss, and unfortunately many are
still hesitant today. It is true, that because of poor donor hair density over the occipital scalp, many women are not suitable for hair transplantation. However, it is wise to consult with a physician who has experience in female pattern hair loss before resigning one’s self to having to live with something that erodes one’s sense of well being. Dr. Cooley performs surgery on females almost every week, in fact today, we have two female patients in our office having procedures!
Unfortunately, it is not widely known that there is
help for this. Certain physicians like Dr. Jerry Cooley enjoy the challenge of addressing this loss and get great satisfaction from the improvement in their female patient’s lives and attitudes. The expressions on these women’s faces, in their before and after pictures says it all. They exude confidence, youth and vitality, the change is absolutely remarkable. It is amazing what impact a little hair can have! In Dr. Cooley’s words:
“Even though female hair loss is much more challenging to address than male pattern hair loss, there can be many contributing factors such as genetics and medical conditions. Not all females are good candidates for a transplant because they may diffuse hair loss and not enough donor hair available to move. That being said, we routinely perform hair restoration on female patients. This is done after evaluation them medically first.
Since the viable area of the donor is smaller than that of most males., a smaller procedure may be necessary. If more area needs to be covered or additional density is desired, then a second procedure may be called for. It is helpful to have some blood tests done. All doctors do not interpret the normal ranges the same. Sometimes what is healthy for the body is not necessarily healthy for the hair. Usually, these factors are not responsible for hair loss but have an impact on the problem.”
Causes of Female Pattern Hair Loss (FPHL)
Andorgenetic Alopecia: The most prevalent form of hair affecting men and women. The presentation of this condition differs in males and females. Men, have diffuse hair thinning over the crown, widening of the central part. Women may see a similar pattern but lack of involvement of the occipital scalp is considered to be one of the clinical signs that characterizes this condition. In women more often than men, hair loss may be caused by factors other than androgenetic alopecia.
Alopecia Areata: Possibly an autoimmune disease that can cause areas of patchy baldness with areas of retained hair. This can range from diffuse thinning to extensive areas of baldness.
Scarring Alopeica: Hair loss, which is caused by scarring all over the scalp. Often seen in women of African descent and is associated with tight braiding. It also occurs in menopausal women and may be due to inflammation.
Trichotillomania: This is caused by compulsive hair pulling and usually occurs in a specific spot where the patient consistently pulls at their hair. Emotional and psychological reasons for this should be explored as unless these are resolved, it may re-occur.
Telogen Effuvium: A common type of hair loss where a large percentage of hair shifts into the telogen or shedding phase.
Triangular Alopecia: The cause is not known but may appear in childhood and can be treated either medically or surgically.
It is heart breaking to witness the profound effect hair loss has on our female patients’ emotional health. However the change in these same women’s personalities, outlook and ultimately their quality of life after a procedure is what is most gratifying. This is an elective surgery and does not have the drama of saving lives, but we are making the lives we touch that much better!
I urge females dealing with hair loss to contact us at Carolina Dermatology and Hair Center, there is hope!