Question: I have been having thinning hair for a while which has been upsetting me so went to my doctor who said I have Female Pattern Hair Loss. They weren't very helpful and I felt they were quite dismissive of my problem even though it is worrying me greatly and affecting my confidence. I didn't feel comfortable asking them some of the questions I had so wondered if you might be able to help me instead. I wanted to know if this diagnosis means I will eventually go bald? And also I am obviously interested in hearing about ways to prevent this from happening as well as helping to thicken my hair. Many thanks.
Answer: Hi, Sally. Just to put your mind at rest and so you have a good knowledge of the basics of this condition, let me run through a brief overview of genetic hair loss before getting to your questions.
Female Pattern Hair Loss is an extremely common condition which affects the top of the scalp from the hairline and temples to the crown in those with the relevant genetic predisposition. It is permanent but can generally be well-managed using clinically-proven treatments.
It can present any time following puberty, though women generally start to notice the first signs of this type of hair loss - such as their hair having less volume, their ponytail looking thinner than usual, and/or a widening of the parting - from their 30s or 40s.
There is also anecdotal evidence to suggest the trend is moving more towards premature hair loss increasing, with women in their 20s often seeing these signs; this is thought to be down to the increasing pressures of modern life and our diets, given stress and elements such as nutritional deficiencies are established triggers of hairloss. At Belgravia we certainly have many Female Pattern Hair Loss treatment clients in their 20s.
Over time it causes gradually thinning hair in individuals with an inherited sensitivity to the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This is the result of DHT binding to the follicles located at the top of the scalp, slowly weakening them, resulting in increasingly finer hair being produced.
Whilst this condition in men has the same effects, it can lead to defined areas of complete baldness, such as either side of a receding hairline, at the crown or all the way along the vertex (top of scalp) from the crown to hairline.
It is rare to see this extreme in women; female hairloss tends to stop short of causing baldness though it can lead to significant thinning where the scalp becomes clearly visible in advanced cases. So, in answer to your question about if you will go bald from Female Pattern Hair Loss, in our experience it is highly unlikely.
With regards what you can do to treat female pattern hair loss and prevent further shedding, as before, this is a permanent condition but, although there is no cure for genetic hair loss, there are clinically-proven hair loss treatments available.
Minoxidil is applied topically and is both MHRA-licensed and FDA-approved specifically for this purpose. Using a tailored hair loss treatment course comprising high strength minoxidil can help to successfully manage your symptoms by promoting hair growth as well as helping to prevent hair loss in the future with on-going use.
In addition to this hair loss solution, additional hair growth supporting products such as low level laser therapy (LLLT) home-use devices - for instance the FDA-cleared HairMax LaserBand - which help to stimulate the follicles and strengthen the hair, may be useful, as may highly-targeted nutritional supplements designed to support the maintenance of normal healthy hair growth, such as Hair Vitalics for Women.
What we recommend is having a consultation - either online or in-person - with a dedicated hair loss specialist who can assess your scalp. They can then talk you through their diagnosis, appropriate treatment recommendations based on your medical profile, and additional considerations which may also need to be checked in some cases of women's hair loss. These can include getting a blood test from your GP to ensure there is no underlying issue with zinc or iron levels, your thyroid function or various other common health problems which can cause excess hair fall.
The Belgravia Centre is a world-renowned group of a hair loss clinic in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation from anywhere in the world for home-use treatment.
View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world's largest gallery of hair growth photos and demonstrates the level of success that so many of Belgravia's patients achieve.