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Female Pattern Baldness

Female pattern baldness

Female pattern baldness is the most common type of hair loss in women.


Each strand of hair sits in a tiny hole (cavity) in the skin called a follicle. In general, baldness occurs when the hair follicle shrinks over time, resulting in shorter and finer hair. Eventually, the follicle does not grow new hair. The follicles remain alive, which suggests that it is still possible to grow new hair.

The reason for female pattern baldness is not well understood, but may be related to:

  • Aging
  • Changes in the levels of androgens (male hormones). For example, after reaching menopause, many women find that the hair on their head is thinner, while the hair on their face is coarser.
  • Family history of male or female pattern baldness.
  • Symptoms

    Hair thinning is different from that of male pattern baldness in female pattern baldness:

  • Hair thins mainly on the top and crown of the scalp. It usually starts with a widening through the center hair part
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  • The front hairline remains unaffected except for normal recession, which happens to everyone as time passes
  • The hair loss rarely progresses to total or near total baldness, as it may in men.
  • Itching or skin sores on the scalp are generally not seen.

    Exams and Tests

    Female pattern baldness is usually diagnosed based on:

  • Ruling out other causes of hair loss.
  • The appearance and pattern of hair loss.
  • Your medical history.
  • The health care provider will examine you for other signs of too much male hormone (androgen), such as:

  • Abnormal new hair growth, such as on the face or between the belly button and pubic area
  • Changes in menstrual periods and enlargement of the clitoris
  • New acne
  • A skin biopsy of the scalp or blood tests may be used to diagnose skin disorders that cause hair loss.

    Looking at the hair under a microscope may be done to check for problems with the structure of the hair shaft itself.