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Female Pattern Hair Loss: Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Female pattern hair loss (FPHL) is a common condition that affects millions of women around the world. It is a condition that can lead to significant hair thinning and even total hair loss. The causes of female pattern hair loss can be varied and complex, from genetic predisposition to hormonal changes to certain medical conditions.

Diagnosis of female pattern hair loss can be difficult due to the presence of many contributing factors. Treatment options, on the other hand, are more straightforward and may range from medications to surgical procedures.

In this article, we will explore the causes, diagnosis, and treatment of female pattern hair loss in detail. We will also discuss the importance of early diagnosis and the various preventive measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of female pattern hair loss.

Causes of Female Pattern Hair Loss

Female Pattern Hair Loss (FPHL) is a common and progressive condition that affects a large number of women. It is characterized by a diffuse thinning of hair on the scalp, which results in a reduction of hair volume and a receding hairline. The causes of FPHL can be both genetic and environmental.

Genetic factors are known to play a major role in the development of FPHL. A family history of hair loss increases the likelihood of a woman developing FPHL. Additionally, hormonal changes, such as those related to pregnancy and menopause, can cause FPHL. Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is a hormone that, when present in high levels, can lead to hair loss in women. Other hormones, such as androgens and estrogens, can also play a role in the development of FPHL.

Environmental factors can also contribute to FPHL. Stress is a major factor and can lead to hair loss in women. Other environmental factors, such as poor nutrition, can also lead to FPHL. Finally, certain medications, such as those used to treat cancer or depression, can cause hair loss in women.

Diagnosing Female Pattern Hair Loss

Female Pattern Hair Loss (FPHL) is a common form of hair loss in women that typically occurs in a diffuse pattern, affecting both sides of the scalp. It is characterized by thinning of the hair, widening of the part line, and a decrease in volume. Diagnosing Female Pattern Hair Loss can be difficult and often requires a comprehensive evaluation of the patient’s medical history, physical exam, family history, and scalp examination.

The diagnosis of FPHL begins with a review of the patient’s medical history. The physician will ask questions about the patient’s medical history, including any medications being taken, any medical conditions that may be present, and any family history of hair loss.

The next step is a scalp examination. During this examination, the physician will use a handheld microscope to examine the scalp in order to assess the nature of the hair loss. The physician will also take a few strands of hair for additional testing to determine the cause of the hair loss.

In some cases, additional tests may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis of FPHL. The physician may order a blood test to check for nutritional deficiencies, an androgen test to measure hormone levels, or a biopsy of the scalp to look for signs of inflammation which are necessary to rule out other hair loss conditions such as alopecia areata or frontal fibrosing alopecia. Depending on the results of these tests, the physician may recommend additional treatments or medications to help slow or stop hair loss.

Treatments for Female Pattern Hair Loss

Fortunately, there are treatments available to help reduce the symptoms of FPHL. The most common treatment for FPHL is a medication called minoxidil. It is a topical solution that is applied directly to the scalp and helps to increase blood flow to the scalp and stimulate new hair growth. Other medications, like spironolactone, may also be prescribed to help slow the progression of FPHL.

In addition to medications, there are also lifestyle changes that may help reduce the symptoms of FPHL. Eating a balanced diet, avoiding harsh hairstyles and products, and reducing stress can all help to improve hair health and reduce hair loss. Additionally, it is important to get enough sleep and exercise, as these can help to keep the body and scalp healthy.

Laser caps are another option available. These devices use low-level laser therapy to emit red light infrared to stimulate blood flow to the scalp. This will stimulate the hair follicles to have improved hair growth.

Finally, hair transplants may be an option for some women with FPHL. Hair transplants involve taking healthy hair follicles from one part of the scalp and transplanting them to the area of hair loss. The transplanted hair should begin to grow after several months and can help to restore the appearance of a full head of hair.


Female pattern hair loss is a common condition that affects many women. It can be challenging to diagnose, but there are treatments available to help manage the condition. If you think you may be experiencing female pattern hair loss, it is important to speak to your physician who can help diagnose the condition and provide treatment options.

It is important to properly diagnose this condition especially if my patient is planning to get a hair transplant. Hair transplantation performed in a patient with a pathologic hair loss condition like alopecia arreata or frontal fibrosing alopecia has a high failure rate. I treat many women with FPHL in my practice at The Youth Fountain in Freehold, New Jersey.

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