Androgenetic alopecia (AGA) occurs in women as well as in men. In women, AGA is defined as female pattern hair loss. The patterns of AGA in women are significantly different from the AGA patterns in men.
The typical appearance of female pattern hair loss is diffuse thinning of hair over the top of the scalp. The Ludwig Classification illustrates female pattern hair loss in increasing degrees of severity from Grade I and Grade III.
Female pattern hair loss can begin at any age from teen-age through middle age. There may not be an obvious hereditary association; whereas a man with AGA usually has close male relatives with AGA, no such family pattern may be apparent for women.
While AGA is the most common cause of permanent hair loss in women (about 50 percent of women over age 40 have some degree of female pattern hair loss), it is by no means the only cause. Non-AGA causes of hair loss are more frequent in women than inmen; some of these causes are discussed in the next section.Women more than men are also likely to have temporary hair loss that may occur separately or together with female pattern hair loss. Two common causes of temporary hair loss in women are the hormonal changes associated with pregnancy and untreated hypothyroidism.
A woman who is worried about loss of scalp hair should consult a physician hair restoration specialist for evaluation and diagnosis. Female hair loss can usually be successfully treated after a diagnosis is established.