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Female pattern hair loss: Current treatment concepts

Authors Quan Q Dinh, Rodney Sinclair

Published 15 July 2007 Volume 2007:2(2) Pages 189—199

Quan Q Dinh, Rodney Sinclair

Department of Dermatology, St Vincent’s Hospital, Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia

Abstract: Fewer than 45% of women go through life with a full head of hair. Female pattern hair loss is the commonest cause of hair loss in women and prevalence increases with advancing age. Affected women may experience psychological distress and impaired social functioning. In most cases the diagnosis can be made clinically and the condition treated medically. While many women using oral antiandrogens and topical minoxidil will regrow some hair, early diagnosis and initiation of treatment is desirable as these treatments are more effective at arresting progression of hair loss than stimulating regrowth. Adjunctive nonpharmacological treatment modalities such as counseling, cosmetic camouflage and hair transplantation are important measures for some patients. The histology of female pattern hair loss is identical to that of male androgenetic alopecia. While the clinical pattern of the hair loss differs between men, the response to oral antiandrogens suggests that female pattern hair loss is an androgen dependant condition, at least in the majority of cases. Female pattern hair loss is a chronic progressive condition. All treatments need to be continued to maintain the effect. An initial therapeutic response often takes 12 or even 24 months. Given this delay, monitoring for treatment effect through clinical photography or standardized clinical severity scales is helpful.

Keywords: female pattern hair loss, androgenetic alopecia

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