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Female pattern alopecia or baldness

What is female pattern alopecia?

Female pattern alopecia was seen in postmenopausal adult (elderly) women previously, but also occurs in women around the age of 40 years recently. It is different from male pattern baldness.


Its symptoms are characteristics, i.e., hair mainly around the top of the head is decreasing in number and thinning. The hair in the area of O shape in men is not softened. The hairline at the top of the head barely changes and M shape like men rarely occurs. The hair begins to thin diffusely around the part of the hair in some cases.

  • Male pattern alopecia in women
    Diffuse hair loss which mainly occurs around the part of the hair. It is accompanied by iron-deficiency anemia.
    Source: New Hair Science (Japan Hair Science Association) p.110
  • Hair diameter distribution
    The average hair diameter is 0.062 mm and thin hair with 0.02 mm of diameter also exists. However, the hair is long, terminal hair different from vellus hair seen in male pattern alopecia.
    Source: New Hair Science (Japan Hair Science Association) p.110

In women, female sex hormones and androgenic hormones are secreted by ovaries and adrenal glands, respectively. Hair may begin to thin any time after puberty as a woman becomes mature but a woman remains unaware of hair thinning.
As female sex hormones begin to gradually decrease around in their forties, the balance against androgens is relatively disrupted leading to the decreased number of hairs at the top of the head and thinning hair. Some women suffer from the extremely decreased number of hairs compared with the past.

Other thinning hair and alopecia in women

As women age, they expose their naturally recessed hairline in the front head or thinning hair that affects the whole head in some cases. Its cause remains unclear unlike male pattern baldness. When looking at people who complain of diffuse hair loss or thinning hair including female pattern baldness, the number of hairs is reduced and the number of thinner hairs (vellus hairs) is increasing and moreover the hair grows slowly. Thus, they tend to suffer from anemia or are sometimes found to have abnormality of the thyroid gland based on the laboratory test.

Source: New Hair Science
(Japan Hair Science Association)

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