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Home > Hair Loss Causes > Gender Related Hair Loss
Hair loss is a universal phenomenon which affects individuals of every age, race and gender. There is a misconception that only men are prone to hair loss as compared to women. Hair loss is an intrinsic problem for both the genders though the symptoms and causes of hair loss in both the genders differ.
Androgenetic Alopecia the cause for men and women hair loss
The common hair loss cause that both men and women suffer from is Androgenetic Alopecia which is also called as pattern baldness. Women also suffer from pattern baldness and they may also suffer from other causes of hair loss such as Alopecia Areata, Telogen Effluvium or other infectious diseases.
There are various hair loss causes in men and women. Some reasons for hair loss are quite common in both the genders while some hair loss causes are particularly evident in one gender than the other. For example, hair loss induced by hormonal imbalance is more common in women than in men.
Reason for men and women hair loss
Some common reasons of hair loss in both genders are improper diet, smoking, stress, hormonal imbalance, DHEA supplements, etc.
Hair loss causes in Women
The common cause of hair loss in women is hormonal imbalance which can be due to a number of reasons. It can be due to the intake of birth control pills some of which contain progesterone drugs that can sometimes act like androgens. These synthetic progesterone drugs are responsible for androgenetic alopecia in some women. It increases the testosterone levels which in turn increase the formation of DHT (dihydrotestosterone) and ultimately cause female pattern baldness. However, other more modern birth control pills may contain non androgenic progesterones or do not contain progesterone at all. These birth control pills are much safer to use in terms of reducing the risk of hair loss. Some birth control pills can actually help to treat hair loss in women.
Even after menopause women can develop a hormonal imbalance. There may be a net drop in the estrogen level which makes them more susceptible to the onset of female pattern baldness.
Some women also develop polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a condition that makes them more susceptible to pattern hair loss.
Premature hair loss in men
The most universal reason of male pattern baldness is genetics. Genetics makes the individual pre-disposed to androgenetic hair loss or pattern baldness by determining both the density and the location of androgen-sensitive hair follicles. Apart from genetic or hereditary issues hormonal factors, especially androgens, play an important role in pattern baldness.
Mechanism of premature hair loss
There is a difference in the mechanism of premature hair loss or pattern baldness in accordance to the difference in gender. The Androgenetic men hair loss is also called male pattern baldness.
The pattern baldness in men is due to the contact of androgen receptors present in the hair follicles with the DHT (dihydrotesterone) enzymes. The DHT is produced by the 5 alpha reductase type I and II.
Pattern baldness in women involves additional factors such as the concentration of Cytochrome P-450-aromatase near hair follicles along with the distribution of androgen receptor proteins in and around hair follicles.
In women, the DHT (dihydrotestosterone) is produced by the reaction dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) from the adrenal glands with the joint action of alpha 5 reductase and hydroxysteroid hydrogenase isomerase enzymes.
The cytochrome enzyme metabolizes androgens to estrogens, and modifies the ratio of estrogens compared to androgens by keeping the estrogen level higher and preventing the severe effects of androgens.
These physiological reactions, lead to the difference in pattern of baldness among men and women
Effects of the Androgenetic mechanism in men and women
Different concentrations of androgen metabolizing enzymes and androgen receptors have been identified in hair follicles of women when compared to men. The concentration of Cytochrome P-450-aromatase in the frontal hair follicles is six times higher in women when compared to the men frontal hair follicles. This concentration helps women to retain their frontal hair line while men begin to loose it.
Women also have around 3 times less alpha-5-reductase type I or type II enzyme in their frontal hair follicles compared to men. Conversely, androgen receptor content in frontal hair follicles of men is 40% higher when compared to the hair follicles of women which make the men hair loss more evident.
Though there are differences in the mechanisms of premature hair loss in men and women, the treatments and restoration procedure are the same. The treatments of men and women hair loss differ in accordance to the intensity of hair loss.
If you are among the ones suffering from pattern baldness or premature hair loss, do a little research to be thoroughly informed about your disease before you consult the hair restoration physician for treatments and medications.