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Androgenetic Alopecia: It's Not Just Men, Women Face It Too

Androgenetic Alopecia: It's Not Just Men, Women Face It Too

Androgenetic Alopecia is one of the most common types of hair loss and it affects both males and females. It is proven to be caused by hormones called androgens, specifically one called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Some similar conditions of hair loss are alopecia areata where circular bald patches may appear on the head and alopecia totalis which results in complete baldness of the scalp.

What Is Androgenic Alopecia?

Androgenic Alopecia affects both sexes; In males, this condition is called male pattern baldness and could begin in the early twenties. This leads to the disappearance of hair from the frontal scalp and crown. Women also suffer from androgenic alopecia, which is referred to as female pattern hair loss and the condition tends to worsen after their forties. Women experience androgenic hair loss from all sections of the scalp with major hair loss experienced in the crown area. In extremely rare cases, this leads to total baldness in women.

What Causes Androgenic Alopecia

Androgenic alopecia could be the result of various genetic factors; at the same time, the condition could aggravate due to certain lifestyle and environmental factors. Research has established that hair loss is caused by a hormone, an androgen called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Androgens are also very crucial for the development of male and female sex organs at birth and at the onset of puberty. They are also responsible for facilitating hair growth.

The hair growth that begins in follicles is cyclic. After growing for a period varying between 2 to 6 years, it goes into a resting phase only to eventually fall out. The follicle then begins to grow new hair and the cycle begins all over again. A high level of androgens in the hair follicles could result in shorter hair growth cycles. This will lead to shorter and thinner-quality hair. Also, the hair that is shed takes time to be replaced with new hair. The receding hairline in males takes the form of the letter ‘M’.

Androgenic alopecia has also been connected to various other conditions such as coronary heart disease and an enlarged prostate.                                                        In women, this form of hair loss could lead to an increased risk of polycystic ovary syndrome. This creates a hormonal imbalance which could lead to menstruation issues, excess weight problems, acne, and excess growth of hair in other regions of the body. 

What Are The Symptoms Of Androgenic Alopecia?

If you are experiencing more bald spots and noticing more hair falling out than usual, you need to look for these particular symptoms to figure out if you are affected by alopecia. A familiar indication is the presence of those extra strands of hair on your brush or on your bathroom floor or sink, and you know the time has come to take those precautions. 

  • Symptoms In Males

It is useful to refer to the Norwood scale and decide on your treatment process on the basis of the procedure enumerated in the scale. 

The first stage does not involve much hair loss or any significant receding of the hairline. The second stage involves a slight recession of the hairline near the temples. During the third stage, the first symptoms of clinical balding appear. The hairline faces recession at both temples and resembles an M, U or V shape. Then we arrive at the stage 3 vertex stage wherein the hairline may or may not recede further but there is a lot of hair loss on the top of the scalp. During stage 4, the hairline recedes significantly with little or no hair on the vertex. The two different areas of hair loss are joined to the hair on the side by a band of hair. In stage 5, the areas separating the two sides become larger and the band thinner. In the 6th stage, the hair at the temples connects with the hair at the vertex as the band in the centre disappears. Stage 7 is the most severe stage of hair loss as only the hair on the sides remains but the growth is very sparse. There is also the Norwood Class A variation where the hairline recedes continuously down the middle without leaving any bald area in the vertex.
For Androgenic alopecia in males, the front portion of the scalp becomes more visible as the hair disappears rapidly from that section. This pattern of hair loss is shaped like a horseshoe and starts at the base of the scalp.

There is a possibility of experiencing a stinging or burning feeling right before you experience hair loss. If there is any itchy sensation or if you have developed blisters in the area that does indicate that you might be suffering from some form of infection. If you are facing this sort of situation, a visit to your doctor is recommended.

A more extreme form of Alopecia can cause you to lose hair from other parts of your body as well including your beard, eyebrows, and eyelashes among others. This could also be accompanied by scarring, so early diagnosis and treatment could help solve the issue.

Your nails are the most potent indicator of any such precarious conditions. Craters and spots on your nails are an indication that your hair is not in the best of health. It is however important to note that the loss of hair should coincide or follow hair loss, as on occasions nail breakage or brittleness could be the result of some other reason altogether. 

  • Symptoms In Female     

Similar signs of hair loss in women are seen. A slow but sure thinning of the hair on the top of the scalp is the most common phenomenon. Women generally see the partition broadening. It is important to determine the time frame and the pattern of hair fall to diagnose the problem of androgenic alopecia in females. If the hair loss is very gradual, the most likely possibility is a case of androgenic alopecia. The thinning hair will be reflected in a small pigtail. However, females rarely experience total hair loss and apart from minor hair thinning issues largely the hair is not affected. Therefore, treatment for androgenic alopecia in females is not required as frequently but can be needed when hair loss is becoming severe. 

Women may also experience patchy or coin-shaped losses of scalp hair. There is mild pain and itchiness before the hair falls out. There is also the possibility of sudden hair loss and washing and combing may be accompanied by significant hair shedding and which may lead to more thinning; this is usually the result of mental and physical trauma. With medical interventions like chemotherapy, hair loss happens all over the body simultaneously. 

The women also show sparse hair in the frontal portion but there is a thin line running across the front with a broad part of the scalp behind that having less hair. The women also show the presence of miniaturized hair. 

Can Androgenic Alopecia Be Cured?

Androgenic alopecia cannot be cured totally but the right diagnosis and prompt treatment at an earlier stage would help facilitate a faster process of recovery. It usually takes about a year for results to start showing. Androgenic alopecia treatment needs to be persisted with or you might end up experiencing hair fall again. However, the condition takes quite a long time to develop which could span a period of many years to decades. It tends to develop faster if one experiences an early onset of the condition.
Androgenic alopecia cannot be prevented. The rate of progression can be slowed down with the help of various drugs and hair loss can be stopped and restored. Minoxidil and Finasteride are two of the most widely used drugs to treat Androgenic Alopecia. Options for a new treatment for androgenic alopecia are also being gradually developed. Androgenic alopecia cure however still remains a very difficult and prolonged procedure.

How Does A Balanced Diet Help Treat Androgenic Alopecia?

Apart from medical options, a good healthy diet could also go a long way in solving all your Androgenic alopecia issues. Some of the best foods are

  • Spinach: If you include spinach in your daily diet, it will help greatly in preventing hair loss. Spinach is full of omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, and vitamins B, C, and E which contribute immensely to improving the health of your hair.
  • Nuts and Seeds: Foods such as walnuts and flaxseeds are high in omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.
  • Carrots: A good diet of carrots, which is a rich source of beta-carotene,  helps improve the health of the scalp and hair. Carrots also contain minerals, fiber, phosphorus, and potassium and also vitamins, K, C, B6, B1, B2, and B3 which help make your hair strong and robust. 

Takeaway

To sum it all up, androgenic alopecia is one of the common hair loss conditions, wherein treatment might reduce, control and manage the problem but cannot completely cure it. It could last for several years or you could suffer from it for your entire life. Medical attention could however reduce further hair loss significantly. Do take Traya’s Free Hair Test and get a correct diagnosis of your hair issues. You can visit us and learn from our experts about how to effectively tackle all your hair problems with the help of some effective remedies.

FAQs

Q1 - Does Androgenetic Alopecia Lead To Baldness In Women?

Ans - Androgenetic alopecia is also known as pattern baldness, which can affect both men and women. However, when it comes to women it normally involves the thinning of the partition line and increased hair fall from the top of the head. However, the hairline of a woman does not normally recede and they rarely experience baldness.  

Q2 - What Triggers Androgenic Alopecia?

Ans - Androgenic alopecia is caused by dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which attacks the hair follicles and curbs the growth of hair. Men have more testosterone and that is why they experience more hair fall issues than women.

Q3 - Can Hair Regrow In Androgenetic Alopecia?

Ans - It has been established that the hair follicles affected by Androgenetic Alopecia are damaged irreversibly. Though the process can be delayed, hair that is lost because of dead follicles will not grow back. 

Q4 - Can Androgenic Alopecia Be Cured?

Ans - There is no known cure for androgenetic alopecia. However, the progression of this condition is very gradual and could take several years to become severe. An earlier onset could mean a faster progression of the condition. 

Q5 - How Do You Fix Androgenic Alopecia?

Ans - Topically applied 2% minoxidil is considered the most effective treatment for androgenic alopecia. It works on the hair follicles by increasing the growth or anagen phase. It stimulates the follicles in the catagen phase and it increases the size of the follicles. PRP and hair transplantation are some of the other options.

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Zahra Lokhandwala

Hair Coach

Zahra is the hair coach-in-chief at Traya. She works closely with the doctors to monitor all cases. She is a fitness freak and has not touched sugar in years!

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