Are hair transplants a viable option for treating female hair loss?

When you think hair loss, you might visualise a man with a receding hairline or bald pate, but actually many women suffer from hair loss and want to find a way to reverse the problem. Hair transplant surgery has become increasingly safe, effective and risk-free procedure over the years, but is it a suitable hair loss solution for women?

Androgenetic alopecia is the most common form of hair loss and is more well known as male pattern baldness, but it affects many women also. Approximately 50 per cent of women over the age of women experience androgenetic alopecia to some degree. In women, it follows a slightly different pattern to male hair loss, typically presenting as diffuse hair loss across the scalp.

However, androgenetic alopecia is not the only hair loss condition to affect women and there are some hair loss conditions that are uniquely female. Treatment depends on the exact cause of the hair loss, so in our clinic the first and often most important stage is to correctly diagnose the underlying problem.

Causes of female hair loss

Other than androgenetic alopecia, common causes of hair loss to affect women include:

  • Stress and traumatic incidents can affect the hair follicles in a number of different ways
  • Diet and rapid weight loss can result in hair loss
  • Hair loss is a symptom of many underlying medical conditions, particularly thyroid diseases
  • Many medications, from birth control, steroids, blood pressure and heart disease drugs, can cause temporary or permanent hair loss
  • Pollutants and environmental damage are a possible factor in hair thinning and loss
  • Life changes, accompanied with surges of hormones, such as pregnancy and the menopause, are linked with hair loss

Are women suitable for hair transplant surgery?

Hair transplant surgery can be an effective hair loss solution for some women, but it depends greatly on the type of hair loss they are suffering. Androgenetic alopecia in men follows a distinct pattern, hence the name, where the hair recedes from the frontal hairline, often accompanied by hair loss on the top of the scalp. Hair on the side and back of the scalp is usually ‘safe’ and, as a result, they are considered a stable donor area for hair transplant surgery. Women, on the other hand, typically experience diffuse hair thinning across the whole of the scalp and, as a result, do not have a stable donor area, making them unsuitable for a hair transplant.

A woman’s hair is heavily associated with her femininity and it has been estimated that the average female can spend £40,000 on her hair over a lifetime. Hair loss can, therefore, be incredibly devastating, but many conditions will respond best to early intervention, so seeking diagnosis and treatment is imperative.

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