Today hair loss is affecting millions of men and women. No matter how common it is, without a doubt, it is a stressful experience. Often it results in drastic loss of self confidence, feeling less attractive, being withdrawn and even depression.
The majority of women have diffuse thinning on all area of the scalp. It is rarely localized like in men. Diagnosing the cause of hair loss is essential for treatment. Diffuse hair loss is treated with medication, while localized hair loss is most often treated surgically.
As in men, hair loss in women is caused by a variety of factors such as genetic predisposition, hormones, pregnancy, menopause and age. Hair loss is usually hereditary, but it can also be caused by medication, illness etc.
Hormones and Hair Loss in Women
In women with hereditary hair loss two enzymes are usually responsible: Aromatase and 5 Alpha Reductase. Enzyme Aromatase is responsible for formation of female sex hormones estrone and estradiol. Women have larger levels of aromatase, especially in the frontal region, which explains why there is no drastic loss of the hair line region as seen in men.
To determine most accurate diagnosis, it is recommended to test enzyme levels in women, due to possibility of increased production of androgen hormones (free and total testosterone, DHEA, prolactin) and to follow up with tests that might indicate other medical conditions. Blood work, mineral and vitamin levels, pituitary glands hormones are all recommended for testing.
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