The main type of hair loss in women is the same as it is men. It's called androgenetic alopecia, or female (or male) pattern hair loss. In men, hair loss usually begins above the temples, and the receding hairline eventually forms a characteristic "M" shape; hair at the top of the head also thins, often progressing to baldness. In women, androgenetic alopecia begins with gradual thinning at the part line, followed by increasing diffuse hair loss radiating from the top of the head. A woman's hairline rarely recedes, and women rarely become bald.
Thank you for all your post. My daughter had extremely thick hair about eight years ago. It was so thick you could barely put it in a scrunchie. Her hair has been continuously thinning to the point that you can see through it. All the women in my family on both sides have extremely thick hair. We live in the north east and have seen several GP and a Dermatologist who act like there is nothing wrong. I work in the medical field and when I hear this I get so mad because I feel like they want to just brush of like no big deal. It is a big deal to all women no matter what ages. I have written done some of the post advise and will continue to look for an endocrinologist for her. Please keep me postes on any new developements.
Evaluating and treating hair loss (alopecia) is an important part of primary care, yet many physicians find it complex and confusing. Hair loss affects men and women of all ages and frequently has significant social and psychologic consequences. This article reviews the physiology of normal hair growth, common causes of hair loss, and treatments currently available for alopecia.
I am 43 and I have been thinning/losing my hair for the past four years. It is so upsetting. I know very few people who can relate…until I came across this site. Has anyone tried apple cider vinegar? I read that it can help with hair loss, but I am skeptical, as all of the remedies I’ve tried thus far have been disappointing. I try to put my hair loss situation in perspective, but I’m not always successful. Best wishes to all of the women on this site. I hope hair restoration is around the corner for all of us.
Alopecia areata is characterized by a localized area of complete hair loss (Figure 5). This may extend to the entire scalp (alopecia totalis) or the entire body (alopecia universalis)12,13 (Figure 6). Alopecia areata is probably secondary to an autoimmune reaction involving antibody, T-cell, and cytokine-mediated losses.14–16 The trait appears to be polygenic, affecting 0.1 to 0.2 percent of the population, with men and women equally affected.14 On microscopic evaluation, “exclamation-point” hairs are found, in which the proximal hair shaft has thinned but the distal portion remains of normal caliber (Figure 7). Spontaneous recovery usually occurs within six to 12 months, with hair in areas of re-growth often being pigmented differently.1,13 Prognosis is not as good if the condition persists longer than one year, worsens, or begins before puberty. Persons with a family history of the disorder, atopy, or Down syndrome also have a poorer prognosis.1 The recurrence rate is 30 percent, and recurrence usually affects the initial area of involvement.12 Thyroid abnormalities, vitiligo, and pernicious anemia frequently accompany alopecia areata.1,12,14
Family history will often tell the doctor what type of alopecia a person has. Occasionally, a punch biopsy may be necessary to determine the type of hair loss. Looking at plucked hairs under a microscope can help to tell the difference between alopecia areata and androgenic alopecia. Other tests might be done to check for autoimmune diseases like lupus that can accompany alopecia.
Leprosy (Hansen's disease) is a disfiguring disease caused by infection with Mycobacterium leprae bacteria. The disease is spread from person to person through nasal secretions or droplets. Symptoms and signs of leprosy include numbness, loss of temperature sensation, painless ulcers, eye damage, loss of digits, and facial disfigurement. Leprosy is treated with antibiotics and the dosage and length of time of administration depends upon which form of leprosy the patient has.
Hair: It’s a natural part of being a human. But when the temperature climbs, and skin is exposed, it’s one of those things that a good many of us want to control. This week, we’re tackling hairlessness, not just the process of hair removal (electric shavers and ingrown-hair treatments and aesthetician-approved tweezers) but also what to buy when you’re losing your hair, and even how to take care of a Sphynx cat. Here, we’re talking to dermatologists and hair-loss doctors about hair-loss treatments that actually work.
Each follicle produces hair for 2 to 6 years and then takes a break for several months. While the hair follicle is in its rest phase, the hair falls out. There are around 100,000 follicles on the scalp, but because each follicle rests at a different time and others produce hairs, hair loss is usually unnoticeable. More noticeable hair loss occurs when there is a disruption to the growth and shedding cycle, or if the hair follicle is obliterated and replaced with scar tissue.
Furthermore, Penn dermatopathologists developed an even more advanced method called the HoVert technique for diagnosing hair loss and other disorders from a scalp biopsy. The technique uses a unique horizontal and vertical testing approach that provides a greater amount of information to the referring dermatologist than standard industry longitudinal scalp biopsies.
There are numerous diseases that can affect the hair and scalp. Hair loss can be caused by a variety of conditions. Diseases such as alopecia areata, anemia, male/female pattern baldness, and infections of the scalp can all cause significant difficulty and loss of daily well-being. Stanford Dermatology has established a special clinic focusing on the diagnosis and treatment of these disorders of the hair.
Why? Unwanted hair growth (sideburns, for example) is a reported side effect of minoxidil. The belief is that a higher concentration of minoxidil would result in more unwanted hair, which is why women are instructed to use it less often. However, the study in Skin Therapy Letter reports that unwanted hair was more common in 2 percent minoxidil solutions than 5 percent, and women are instructed to use Rogaine’s 2 percent solution twice daily — so what gives?
The follicles on the sides of the scalp are more genetically resistant to DHT, which is why male pattern baldness often results in a “crown” of hair. But its downsides are serious. “With women, finasteride is not an option,” says Dr. Wolfeld. “It’s not FDA-approved for women to take, so we don’t prescribe it.” In fact, due to the drug’s effect on hormone levels, pregnant women are advised to not even touch broken or crushed tablets.
Hello I gave up years ago and have been wearing hair pieces. If u live in Nj I know someone who will come to your house or you can go to his and he will make you a custom piece depending on your needs. I started the journey again because I noticed that my daughter is starting to resemble me. I want to get treAted so that I have an answer for her. I really can’t afford dr. Redmond but I am giving it a try. I will share my experience.
I just came across this website, I thought by chance but I think not! I have been having scalp pain, like my skull wanted to crack open. Then the tendersness of my hair folicals when the wind would blow. I started to loose lots of hair so went to my family doctor. All the test were done for Thyroid problems…all turned out what they call “normal”. Have you seen the wide range which is considered normal? How can this be when everyone is so different? I am loosing hair as I sit and write this message. The hair just gently falling onto my shoulder. I need to color my hair as it is time from the length of my silver roots but the last time I had my hair touched up, I thought I was going to die from the pain when the stylist tried to just shampoo the color off. Oh my God! Painful, painful. I used to be a stylist so you can imagine my shock when I was told it wasn’t my Tyroid!
I have had alopecia universalis for 12 years now. It was very difficult in the beginning when my hair began to fall out. I was in college and devastated because I thought my life was over. I have now grown to accept myself and the way I look now. I know I would not be who I am today without this having happened, and I really like me! It does get better, but it is a process. A good support system and love from family and friends gets you through. Good luck to you all on your journey.
I am 18 years old and about a month ago i noticed my hair falling out increasingly fast. It has scared me to death. I’ve gone to see my general practitioner and he said that hair goes through shedding stages and that it is normal. It is definitely not normal for me. I insisted that he check my thyroid and my results came back normal. My family just repeatedly tells me that I’m crazy and have no reason to worry. I have just purchased an apartment with my friends and will start college in the fall. I am terrified to begin my new life with a hair loss problem. My hair has always been my best feature. It has always been thick, healthy, beautifully wavy, and I have always received compliments on it. I am emotionally devastated to watch my hair fall out in large amounts just from taking a shower or brushing my hair. It is nice to know that I’m not crazy, or alone. Thank You All!
When alopecia areata is associated with celiac disease, treatment with a gluten-free diet allows for complete and permanent regrowth of scalp and other body hair in many people, but in others there are remissions and recurrences. This improvement is probably due to the normalization of the immune response as a result of gluten withdrawal from the diet.
Current evidence suggests that alopecia areata is caused by an abnormality in the immune system that damages hair follicles. This particular abnormality leads to autoimmunity, a misguided immune system that tends to attack its own body. As a result, the immune system attacks particular tissues of the body. In alopecia areata, for unknown reasons, the body's own immune system attacks the hair follicles and disrupts normal hair formation. Biopsies of affected skin show immune lymphocytes penetrating into the hair bulb of the hair follicles. Alopecia areata is occasionally associated with other autoimmune conditions such as thyroid disease, vitiligo, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and ulcerative colitis. The diagnosis or treatment of these diseases is unlikely to affect the course of alopecia areata. Sometimes, alopecia areata occurs within family members, suggesting a role of genes.
Loose anagen syndrome, which most commonly presents in young children, occurs when hair that is not firmly rooted in the follicle can be pulled out easily. Most of the time, hair falls out after it has reached an arbitrary maximum length. Children with loose anagen syndrome often cannot grow hair beyond a relatively short length. The condition more commonly affects girls with blond or brown hair.
I would just like to spare anyone else In Los Angeles thinking about going to see the dermatologist who supposedly specializes in hair lossat UCLA (Dr Strick or something like that I think is his name) He is the most insensitive and uncaring Dr. I have ever met. After waiting close to 2 hours after my scheduled appt to see him. He gave me some xeroxed copy of an article on T E that was out of Glamour or Cosmopolitan or some Fashion magazine like that. He asked no questions. I wasnt even there for 10minutes but when I showed him a big bag of hair which I saved, that had fallen out in the past several weeks. He just very insensitively told me it was T E and it would grow back-basically like just get over it, then he gave me the bums rush out the door.
About 2 years ago my hair started thinning. I thought it was because I was in college and stressed. At that point I started going what is known as “CG” in the curly hair world. I no longer color, flat iron, use sulfates and I rarely blow-dry and use silicones. I use shampoos and conditioners with beneficial ingredients, not fillers. After 1.5 years on this Curly Girl routine, I experienced some relief and noticed my hair getting thicker. That lasted a couple months and now I’m back to losing a ton of hair. One day I counted 160 hairs…that was on a decent day. I’m sure I’ve lost 2x that amount before. My hair is noticeably thinner, drier, and it knots. It NEVER use to knot. I think my hair has become finer too, but I’m not positive. It just feels more fragile.
I have had hair loss for the past several years. I have seen both endocrinologists and dermatologists. I had one derm who was good, but I unfortunately moved. She put me on minoxidil 5% and spironolactone. I am now seeing and endo but he has me on Synthroid and I was very interested to read on this site that it can actually be a cause of hair loss! If anyone can recommend a doctor in Chicago i would appreciate it. I see there are 2 other people asking for recommendations but I haven’t seen responses to them. Thanks!
The complex actions of genetics, DHT, shifting of hormone ratios and age-related volume loss can commonly occur in women in their 40’s and 50’s. However, just like in men, genetic hair loss can appear at all ages after puberty. In fact, hair loss occurs with relatively high frequency even in women in their 20’s and 30’s. The majority of women with female pattern hair loss initially develop diffuse thinning over the front and top of the scalp, while maintaining the frontal hairline. This thinning may present with a widening through the central part line while others may present initially with either episodic or continuous hair shedding, prior to any noticeable decrease in hair volume. In addition, thinning may also be seen throughout the scalp, including the temple areas as well as the back and sides.
Hi, I cannot afford to go to see Dr. Redmond even though I live in NY (he’s just too pricy, I have no insurance, etc…) but I’m going to see the ob/gyn towards then end of the month to get help because I’m convinced I have PCOS (literally all the symptoms) and I was wondering, what birth control is best for hair? I’ve read Dr. Redmond’s site before and I could have sworn that Yaz or Yasmin kept popping up in the faqs section or somewhere on that site as good bcp for hair loss. I realize some people experienced hair loss after going off those pills, but if you have hair loss prior to bcp, I could have sworn Dr. Redmond listed those as good at helping hair loss and I thought some women claimed (elsewhere, not on his site) that they’ve regrown some hair after going on Yasmin. Sorry if I’m rambling, but does anyone know? Thanks. If I have PCOS, which I’m sure I do, I’m pushing for Spironolactone because I’ve read of a bunch of women who’ve had great success at regrowing hair with it, and one story on this site about a woman named “Jen” had great results. I think it took her 2 years, and she allegedly grew back 90-95% of her hair (also taking Metformin, dieting and exercising, and using Nizoral shampoo) so I’m trying to remain optimistic. It’s not just being 27 & single that makes me horrified at losing hair, though it doesn’t help, I’d still be freaking out if I was 57. If I could regrow even 30% to 50% I’d be elated. Because ultimately, I’m holding out hope for stem cells to be all of our “saviors.” Lol. There are 3 companies working on adult stem cell therapies for hair loss (from what I’ve seen here and elsewhere, they are Histogen, Follica, and Aderans) not to mention a Cairo Dermatologist who has successfully helped children with alopecia areata/totalis regrow significant amounts of hair, though only in one study and the results are only preliminary. Who knows. But still, fingers crossed that I can get these stupid hormones under control and stop my daily horror at washing my hair and seeing my once beautiful hair fall away. I always took my hair for granted and often complained about it, but I’d give anything for my thick long hair back. I had fine hair always, but tons of it and I always wore it long. Now I wear it pulled back in a bun to hide as best I can all that scalp showing through. Thanks for this site, it’s keeping me from going off the deep end.
I want to say that all of you are very courageous and sharing. I appreciate everything I have read here. Thankfully, I am starting out in a slightly better position – I still have a fair amount of hair left. I started with a HUGE amount of hair. For the last 6 – 12 months, I have been losing handfulls of hair in the shower every morning, then some more when I comb it out, then a bit more when I put styling product in it, then just a bit more during the day. The shower is the huge hit, though. I’m 37 and on a ton of medication – synthroid, neurontin (an amitryptiline derivative), anti-depressants, and a host of pain medications for a degenerative back problem. I brought my hair loss up to a doc around the time it started, since I was already on synthroid, he re-tested my levels, and said everything was fine. My hair structure has always been on the thin side, but there was just so damn much it didn’t matter – now there is a lot less. What used to take upwards of 20 minutes to dry with a dryer, now takes 5. I’ve been worried about it for quite a while, and didn’t know what to do. I started my on-line research today with hair extensions and stumbled on this site. I am encouraged that I’m starting my search for an answer relatively early in my hair loss journey. I have some great advice and questions to go in to see my doc about. If anyone has any recommendations for the Boise, ID area for a dermatologist and endocrinologist, I would really appreciate it.
Thank you all for sharing your stories. I have various health issues including arthritis of the spine, GI problem and Poly ovarian cyst syndrom… I had exetremely thick and full hair all my life 5yrs ago my hair started falling out in huge clumps all day long so much so that I leave huge hair balls under my desk at work… I also have sjordren syn. When I first went to my family doctor he told me it was because of my high stress job… I said that I did research on the internet and that all my conditions were supposed to be linked to hairloss he was mad and said why did I come to him if I had all the answers… I have been to 2 dermos who said its nothing. I went to the only endocrinologist in a 100 plus mile radius of my home who was taking new patients who said that there is nothing wrong with me and that if I cared about my health as much as my hair loss I would loss weight ( I know I not skinny but…) he did not even LOOK at my tests when he came in he said we didnt get your urine samples results back. I said that I went 3 weeks ago. He then said oh here they are… but did not even look at them before his fat comment… since I do not want to swear on here I will just say “jerk”. I cried the whole way home. I went back to my family doc and saw the PA because it seems he is sick of me. Again among other sympt. my hairloss is getting worse… the PA’s answer “yea that’s pretty bad.” (wow I’m paying for this advice ) She brought me back samples and said this should help. it was an anti depressant….I said I am not depressed I am upset that everyone can acknowledge my sympt. but no one seems to be able to help my. My arthritis doctor ran tests only to shut me up and said my folate levels were fine so it had to be stress… not their problem. I came from my 3rd gyno today who said now since my cysts were gone and my test. levels were normal that I can’t have children anyhow then I shouldn’t worry about hairloss… no advice whatsoever about the diease less than 5 mins. $400.00 40 mile trip another day of work gone. This doc. did even think I should be concerned that I cannot get preg. or my pain (so it does not surprise me about the hairloss) I said is there anything else that can cause my hair to fall out besides test. levels he said not gyno related…. He said if you like we can test you again in three more months. I would give up but I know it is not something just in my head or even just a cosmetic problem…. I feel sometimes they just want to milk my insurance dry my running the wrong test so they can keep charge you for the expensive stuff instead of working on a cure for you. The worst maybe is that my family and friends are also sick of me and think I just like attention. From your post I looks like a lot of have similar health and experiences. Although I am very upset I am glad be able to vent to people who also my have be treated like hypocons… and armed me will more info.
@Amanda P. I regrew my hair and you can too. -I've been bleaching my hair on and off since forever. My hair wouldn't grow any longer it would just snap off. I've dreamed about having thick, long hair. And when I say dreamed, I mean it quite literally. So i decided to do something about it. My friend suggested Biotin when we were talking about my hair loss.
During this procedure, surgeons remove a narrow strip of scalp and divide it into hundreds of tiny grafts, each containing just a few hairs. Each graft is planted in a slit in the scalp created by a blade or needle in the area of missing hair. Hair grows naturally this way, in small clusters of one to four follicles, called follicular units. As a result, the graft looks better than the larger "plugs" associated with hair transplants of yesteryear.
I have had thin, fine and ugly hair since I had a hysterectomy in my 20’s. I am 73 now. My mother had very sad hair as did my grandmother. My hair was thick and good until my surgery. I went to 3 dermatologists and they seemed almost embarrassed to look at my hair. I have tried men’s Rogaine but do not see any improvement. I take lots of vitamins and health aids but they don’t seem to help. I also take Premarin and blood pressure meds which may add to the problem. I wear a hair piece which clips into my hair and the lower back and sides and bangs are my real hair. It all mixes together. It is human hair and has a mono scalp which has a part and looks real. It is not a perfect solution but helps me go in public. As you can tell I have pretty much given up on a good solution and from reading what everyone has to say I am afraid that some of us are just destined to have bad hair.
Wow, I just started doing some research on this because I have been having problems with my hair thinning on the top of my head for several years, along with some sensitivity. I went to my internal medicine Doctor and he didn’t say much, which struck me as odd… he referred me to my women’s doctor who was slightly more sypathetic but offered no suggestions other than to see a dermatologist. I have been putting it off because I feel like I am getting the run-around. I see that I am not alone!
Also, re: the Proscar, I think that it may already be helping some as I think my shedding may be tapering off a bit more. I am losing a few less hairs Per day now. Maybe? I don’t know, but I am trying to stay positive!! I have no real regrowth. Just wisps, extremely fine hair, almost hard to see. Kind of transparent. I am not expecting miracles, but trust me…. THe moment I feel I have any true results to share with you girls, I will definitely be posting them! There aren’t many success stories out here. We need more. I guess people don’t come out here as much if they are experiencing good things w their hair?
Try and find a doctor that seems to care about women’s hair loss, and understands the emotional devastation it causes. I don’t want my doctor to dismiss my hair loss, and I don’t want him/her to tell me it’s no big deal. It is a big deal and if your doctor makes you feel uncomfortable in any way, they he/she is not for you. If possible try and speak with the doctor by phone (believe it or not some doctors will talk to you on the phone first) and if the rules of the office don’t permit this then try and ask as many questions to the receptionist, such as, does Dr. X see a lot of women for hair loss? Does he order blood work? What does he usually prescribe for treatment? The reality of that last question is that their is no “usual treatment” every woman is different and hopefully the receptionist tells you something to that effect. I don’t want to see a doctor that prescribes Rogaine as his/her first line of defense even before making a proper diagnosis with blood work or any other necessary tests. I firmly believe you should not be walking out with a bottle of Rogaine the first day of your appointment. Sure the doctor can probably be able to tell if your hair is experiencing miniaturization, but what about the blood work to determine the causes? Rogaine may be the right treatment for you, but I’d like to know why.
And though this treatment appears to be safe and somewhat effective, it’s hard to tell who will react well to this low-level light therapy, which is why the doctors I spoke with were hesitant to fully endorse it. “We’re not sure what the optimal power is, what the optimal wavelength is, we don’t even really know the mechanism of action of how this is working,” says Rieder. Plus, it doesn’t work on everyone. “There are subpopulations of patients who do respond to low-level laser light, but this is not easily predictable,” explains McMichael, though she adds that the risk of using the LaserComb is low.
Well, after breaking down and crying in the beauty salon today I came home to try to find why my hair is falling out so rapidly. I am currently seeing an endocrinologist in Houston for hypothyroidism and he wants to put me on Aldactone (Spiro) but I tried it for one week and got dizzy and am afraid to try it again. I am also fearful to get on medication and have to live on it the rest of my life. From what I’ve read, once you get on something and stop you lose the hair all over again. Has anyone ever been on Aldactone (Spiro), regained hair and got off with no problems? Does anyone know of anyone in the Houston area that treats hair loss? I’m almost certain mine is due to thyroid issues as I can’t seem to get stabilized but I’ve been shedding for almost a year and now it’s falling out in handfuls. My hair dresser, shampooer and the rest of the salon staff tried to comfort me today but I filled their sink with hair when they washed it. I don’t know what to do! I’ve been to 2 dermatologist who suggest Rogaine, this endocrinologist who suggests Aldactone…what to do? Anyone have any ideas? Thanks!