Alopecia is a common disease that results in the loss of hair on the scalp and other regions. Alopecia occurs in males and females of all ages, but onset most often occurs in childhood. There are three types of Alopecia: Alopecia Areata, Alopecia Totalis and Alopecia Universalis.
Male alopecia or male pattern genetic thinning is the most common form of hair loss in men, and is easily recognized by the distinct manner in which hair across the top of the scalp is progressively lost.
Male alopecia is hair thinning in an “M” shaped pattern; hair loss occurs on the temples and crown of the head with sparing of the sides and back. Engaged at puberty, androgens promote follicular reduction further leading to gradual hair thinning.
Male alopecia typically originates with a receding of the hairline at the temples and thinning of the hair concentration on the crown. Over time the remaining hair follicles across the top of the scalp are affected, sometimes resulting in complete baldness.
Women also may experience alopecia, often with thinning in the central and frontal scalp regions. A history and physical examination directs hair loss surgeons in connecting conditions of hirsutism, ovarian abnormalities, menstrual irregularities, acne, and infertility to alopecia.
The world is seeing amassed numbers of pre and postmenopausal women experiencing hair loss. It’s estimated over 90% of these women can be grouped into two categories of female hair loss:
Female Alopecia – resultant of hormonal change.
Diffuse – hair loss in its entirety from a nutritional disturbance.
The exponential rise in the numbers of younger women developing genetic thinning is multi-factorial, but is thought to be in part due to the advent of synthetic hormones used in contraceptive and hormone replacement therapies.
In a woman with the inherited tendency to develop it, genetic hair thinning is always triggered by some event that causes fluctuations in her body’s hormone balance.
Female alopecia is characterized by a progressive thinning of the top, temple or crown regions of the scalp. Unlike men’s genetic hair loss, not all the hair follicles across the top of a woman’s scalp are affected – thus ‘thinning’ of the hair density occurs rather than total baldness.
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