By: Dr. Linda Khoshaba
Hair loss can be attributed to your genetic makeup
Female pattern and male pattern baldness are 2 conditions in which the DNA of hair loss is hard wired from birth. Female pattern baldness affects about 50% of women in aged 50 years and older. A family history of hair loss is an obvious genetic predisposition to this condition, however, a lack of family history cannot rule out the diagnosis in women either.
Genetic hair loss is due to several genes and is multi-factorial. Currently there is preliminary research that can determine what the male pattern baldness genes are, however, not much research on the genetics of female pattern baldness exists. The estimated chances of heritable male pattern baldness are closer to 81% meaning that genetics play a much larger role compared to environmental causes.
Female pattern hair loss (FPHL)
Female pattern hair loss, also known as androgenic alopecia, is a type of hair loss that is underdiagnosed in many women. Alopecia is often associated with hormone imbalances, iron deficiency anemia, nutrient deficiencies, post pregnancy and stress. Female pattern hair loss usually becomes more noticeable during menopause. Women will report hair thinning especially on the top and front of their head.
The pattern of hair loss seen in FPHL is characterized by a process called miniaturization (See picture). What happens is that DHT (dihydrotestosterone) is a hormone that attacks the blood supply of terminal hairs and causes them to eventually become weaker vellus hairs(miniaturized hairs). This process occurs because the DHT is attracted to that blood supply and ends up binding to the receptors in the scalp follicles. This results in shrinking the hair follicle and makes it extremely difficult for healthy hair to grow and survive.
Interventions studied to treat FPHL
In a recent Cochrane literature review to see what interventions have been made to treat FPHL, the most effective intervention seen among 47 studies was minodoxidil. The strength did not make a difference in the effect on hair loss. Laser-based hair treatments that were used in these studies used a hand held comb and and results showed inconsistent results on hair growth; some did not show any change and other studies showed increase in hair count. Further randomized trials are needed to see if there are any interventions that can help with FPHL.
How to find out if you have FPHL
Schedule an appointment today with Dr. Linda Khoshaba and she can do a hair analysis to see if you have any miniaturization occurring and what options are available to you.
Dr. Khoshaba primarily focuses on women’s health, pediatric medicine, diabetes management, and prolotherapy. She is a primary care provider who is treats all aspects of health and wellness and is dedicated to meeting the individual need of each patient. She is devoted to educate and empower patients’ to make lifestyle changes so they can experience life to the fullest. In her spare time, Linda enjoys traveling and spending time with her family, husband and baby boy Julian.