Since there are several categories that female hair loss can fall into, the Ludwig Classification is here to help make diagnosing simpler and easier to understand.
Female hair loss is different than male hair loss because for women thinning usually occurs all over the scalp instead of in a specific area. Of course different factors may result in different hair loss patterns.
Having female hair loss is tough enough – with systems such as the Ludwig stages in place, it allows a complicated situation to become easier to digest.
All three stages in the Ludwig Classification involve hair loss in the front and top of the scalp, with the frontal hairline region relatively preserved. After reading the types, you’ll see that hair transplant surgery is only an option if there is stable hair on the scalp.
The Ludwig Classification
Let’s start figuring the type you fit into. To see visuals, go to the Hair Transplants for Women section:
The mildest one, Type I is characterized by early thinning. Usually at this point, the thinning can be disguised easily with grooming techniques, so surgical hair restoration is typically not recommended.
At this stage, there is moderate hair loss. At the midline, there is significant widening. There is a noticeable decrease in hair volume. If there is stable hair on the back and sides of the scalp, hair transplant surgery may be an option.
This is the most advanced stage of hair loss. Due to widespread thinning, the top of the scalp usually has a thin, see-through appearance. At this time, hair transplant surgery is the way to go.
Going In for a Diagnosis
Careful physical analysis is essential when diagnosing female hair loss because it will make sure that there aren’t any underlying medical conditions that need to be treated. The evaluation will be pretty straightforward when certain factors are present, such as:
1. There is a family history of hair loss. (For women experiencing hair loss due to genetics, hair restoration surgery may be an option.)
2. There is gradual thinning in the front and/or top of the scalp.
3. The frontal hairline is preserved.
4. There is miniaturization in the thinning areas. How do you know if there is miniaturization? A hand-held device, a densitometer, will be used to identify if there is or not. Caused by hormones, miniaturization is characterized by a progressive decline in the diameter and length of the hair shaft.
Another test that could be used to help diagnosis includes the hair-pull test, which will show how much shedding there is. The hair pluck test will help reveal what damage there could be. Since finding the right diagnosis is so important (in some cases, correcting any underlying causes can reverse hair loss), blood work, biopsy, and other laboratory testing may be used, if common diagnostic tools don’t give any clear results.
The Reasons Behind Hair Loss
Men often lose their hair due to hereditary factors, but for women the reasons for hair loss vary. It could be from:
1. Hormonal imbalance
2. Thyroid conditions
4. Autoimmune disease
7. Crash dieting
8. Medications (Blood pressure medications, oral contraceptives, cholesterol lowering medications, diet pills, and many other medications can cause hair loss. During the consultation, a thorough medical history listing any current medications will help Dr. Choe assess whether or not the hair loss may be drug-related.)
9. Other conditions.
If You’re Ready for Surgical Hair Restoration
Know that many women are able to achieve a natural hair restoration with advanced surgical hair transplant techniques. One is the follicular unit transplantation (FUT). In appropriate candidates, surgery can dramatically improve the appearance of their hair.
To learn more about female hair loss and its effective treatments, contact the Choe Center for Facial Plastic Surgery of Virginia Beach, VA, at (757) 389-5850 for a consultation.