Saturday, June 8, 2013

Causes of Bald Spots in Women

In women, hair loss is rarely in the form of patches or bald spots. However, this does not mean that it will never happen because there are conditions that can cause it to happen. Women can experience hair loss in patches due to a medical condition or other underlying causes.  This problem seldom occurs in women, but if it does, it generally happens during the menopause change or soon after menopause occurs. 

The following are the different types of hair loss and the causes in women.

Androgenic alopecia 
This type of hair loss is commonly experienced in men and is referred to as male pattern baldness. Despite the name, women too can experience a similar type of baldness pattern where the hair thins extensively and bald patches appear on the top of the scalp and on the sides too. The hair loss is caused by the hormone DHT blocking the hair follicles and causing shrinkage and thinning hair.

Hair loss can be due to genetic reasons or the high level of circulating androgens caused by some other condition. In women, polycystic ovarian syndrome, menopause, pregnancy, birth control medication and peri-menopause can cause this type of baldness.

The FDA has approved minoxidil for treating bald patches; it is a topical application and is used to treat androgenic hair loss. There are other medications and some corticosteroids that doctors may recommend to treat the problem.

Alopecia Areata
Alopecia areata is another type of hair loss that affects women and men; it causes baldness in spots on the scalp. This type of hair loss is very sudden and the shape of the patch is generally round. The hair follicles get attacked by the body’s immune system by mistake. Rather a costly one from the point of view of the person experiencing the hair loss! The good news is that the problem is temporary provided the cause is identified and treated without delay. Hair growth generally resumes as normal and in some cases it can happen without treatment as well.

Steroid injections and creams, minoxidil and cyclosporine among other treatments may be recommended by the doctor to treat alopecia areata.

Treatments vary depending on the nature of the problem, the real reason behind the baldness and the health of the individual. For example, a fungal infection on the scalp will need a different kind of treatment such as appropriate antifungal medications.