Female Hair Loss and Androgenetic Alopecia

Hair loss in postpartum (childbirth) women is usually triggered by a deficiency of thyroid hormones and iron. However, the main contributing factor if hair loss in women (90% of all cases) is an ever increasing pandemic of androgenization (abnormal increase of androgenetic hormones in female population) which is spreading like fire in large metropolitan areas. First signs of androgenetic hair loss take on a form of diffuse (homogenous) alopecia. Most women do not even suspect an increase in the level of androgenetic hormones and treat all possible and impossible reasons of hair loss, until prominent thinning of hair forms in the frontal-parietal area.

Androgenetic alopecia in women (AGA) is called androgenetic, because it is to a certain extent related to the increase in the level of androgenic hormones and increased sensitivity of hair follicle receptors towards androgens. It can also be triggered by malfunction of enzymes which participate in the metabolism of hormones, such as 5-alpha-reductase (increase in activity) or aromatase (decrease in activity of a specific enzyme).

From a clinic perspective in order to identify the appropriate treatment protocols of such patients it is necessary to distinguish the following variations of androgenetic alopecia, i.e.:

Androgenetic Alopecia which developed during the ages of 14 through 40.

Androgenetic Alopecia in women aged above 40 (hormone-related hair loss in women ages 42 through 45).

In the former case the disease is chronic with gradual progress and it is possible in 99 percent of cases to detect increase in such androgenic hormones as:

  • testosterone
  • androsterone
  • etiocholanolone
  • dehydroepiandrosterone
  • 11-keto-androsterone
  • 11b-keto-etiocholanolone
  • 11b-Hydroxy-androsterone
  • 11b-Hydroxy etiocholanolone

In the latter case AGA develops as a result of imbalance of androgenic and fеmale hormones. This imbalance is triggered by a decline in female hormones.

In scientific sources AGA which develops after the age of 40 is characterized as an abruptly expressed androgenization of women accompanied by seborrhea adiposa, blackheads (pimples), pilosis, changes in the menstrual cycle.

In my practice Androgenetic Alopecia in women is rarely accompanied with such symptoms and is predominantly restricted to thinning of hair in the frontal-parietal area. Most importantly, women should understand that alopecia is only an external expression of general androgenezation of the body and topical treatments of affected scalp areas only have a cosmetic effect. Such treatment does not prevent further androgenization of the body.

This leads to a plethora of adverse events:

Increase of male-like skeletal muscle mass;

Psychologic changes;

Changes of social behavior;

Polycystic ovary syndrome (this leads to infertility);

Insulin resistance, which is expressed by a decrease of sensitivity of cells towards insulin and respectively towards spikes of blood sugar that may lead to prediabetes.

Undoubtedly these conditions develop not in the first year of androgenization, it takes at least 5-15 years from the beginning of development of this disease till emergence of the foregoing symptoms.

This leads to:

Decrease in fertility (ability to conceive);

Social alienation (women subject to androgenization have a higher percentage of divorces);

As an extreme degree of androgenization — changes in sexual orientation.

In connection with the above, the patient herself or her trichologist, dermatologist or endocrinologist must foresee the consequences of development of general androgenization and not restrict themselves to cosmetic treatment protocols only.

In International Alopecia Areata Hospital the treatment and diagnostics of Androgenetic Alopecia is conducted via several routes:

Blood and urine assessments for presence of increased level of androgens;

Identification of triggers of increased androgen levels (which may include and are not limited to ultrasonic examinations, CT scans of adrenal glands and ovaries, etc);

Excess production of androgens can either be attributed to ovary or adrenal gland disorders and in some cases disorders of both.

Women with androgenetic alopecia must understand that altered metabolism of female hormones will accompany them for the rest of their lives. Only permanent scheduled treatment provides an opportunity to avoid all unpleasant symptoms and aspects of general androgenization of the body. This condition can be compared to a thyroid gland disorder. If a patient’s thyroid hormone levels are below the median required values, such patients are required to take thyroid hormone containing medications for the rest of their lives. If a patient suffers from excessive thyroid hormone production, she/he is required to take thyroid hormone suppressants for the rest of her/his life (e.g. thyroid gland hyperfunction - N. K Krupskaya).

Female patients diagnosed with androgenetic alopecia must understand that they have no alternative but to continuously treat the underlying causes of their condition. All topical solutions provided by various hair salons and health care providers have a temporary cosmetic effect and do not in any way block further androgenization of the body (metamorphosis of a female into a male). In other words, excessive testosterone levels and its metabolites are poisonous to the female body. It does not only impact normal ovary function and/or contribute to excessive muscle growth but also changes the psychological well-being of a woman.

Our clinic is the only place in the world which has a 30+ year track record of successfully treating various types of hair loss in women. In order to start treatment, please, fill in the application form and we will get back to you shortly.

As of August 2017, we have two locations serving our patients’ needs:

Moscow, Russia;

Heviz Resort, Hungary (EU).

Down below is just an example of the emotional state of a patient suffering from Androgenetic Alopecia. We stumbled upon it at an Internet forum devoted to women health: “The winter is over, the salvatory time of hats — either. The summer has come, again our heads and hair will be shining. Again we will be taking evasive actions. Scarves-caps… I am fed up with them in hot weather! It is still ok when you go shopping, but when you go out have dinner with friends! Not that much! It is especially embarrassing when you go for a swim at a seaside resort and accidentally get yourself submerged by a wave, your hair gets wet, and the bold head shines through…”