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Understanding Hair Loss in Women

Women and Thinning Hair

Women lose their hair for a number of reasons, from stress to genetics. Hereditary hair loss in women looks different than it does in men. Typically, male hair loss takes place at the crown of the head or from the hairline.

Hair loss related to female pattern baldness typically occurs on the top of scalp, leaving the hairline intact. The hair loss is diffuse, meaning it occurs over the entire scalp, not just in selected areas. One of the ways that hereditary hair loss is measured in women is the Ludwig Classification scale. The Ludwig scale divides hair loss into three different types. A woman’s treatment options depend on where her hair loss falls on the Ludwig scale.

About the Scale

The Ludwig Scale was created in 1977 by Dr. Erich Ludwig. In the paper he published on female pattern baldness, Dr. Ludwig noted that the condition was more common than most people thought, in part because it looked so different from male pattern baldness. He created the classification system to improve the diagnosis of hair loss in women, so that the condition could be treated appropriately before too much hair was lost.

Type I

Women whose hair loss falls into the Type I category on the Ludwig scale have a mild amount of hair loss. Hair loss is usually on the top of the scalp, but might also be on the side and back of the head. When a woman wears her hair parted, the part might look wider than it once was. There might also be more areas of visible scalp on the top of her head.

Women with Type I hair loss are typically not ready for hair restoration surgery. At this stage, the hair loss can be concealed with careful grooming choices. For example, instead of parting the hair in the center, a woman might try to part it to one side or the other. She can also brush her hair back over the head or wear a hat or scarf to cover up signs of thinning.

Type II

Type II hair loss on the Ludwig Classification scale is more noticeable than Type I. When the hair is parted down the middle, the part is considerably wider than it was originally and continues to widen over time. Women with Type II hair loss might notice that they shed more often or that their hair is becoming thinner and thinner.

It is more difficult to conceal the hair loss with grooming at this stage. Women who wish to cover up can wear wigs, hats or scarves over the area. For some women, hair restoration surgery becomes an option at this stage. A hair transplant is only recommended for women who are not losing the hair from the back and sides of their heads, just from the top.

Type III

Type III hair loss is the most severe. At this advanced stage, any hair left on the top of the head is very thin. The top area of the scalp is completely visible. Unless a woman wears a wig or hat, it is almost impossible to disguise Type III hair loss with styling or grooming choices.

Hair Restoration in Women

If a woman’s hair loss is due to genetics, a hair transplant can help restore lost hair on the top of her head. Before performing the surgery, a doctor needs to properly diagnose the cause of the hair loss and make sure that the woman has hair on the back or sides of her  head that can be transplanted to the balding area.

Typically, a doctor can diagnose female pattern baldness by looking at the type of thinning a woman has, taking her family history and examining the hair follicles for miniaturization. Miniaturization means that the hair follicles and shafts are becoming thinner, due to the presence of certain hormones. Over time, the miniaturized hairs fall out. The surgeon can detect miniaturization using a tool called a densitometer.

If you are concerned about thinning hair on the top of your scalp, talk to a hair restoration specialist today. In Virginia Beach, Dr. Kyle Choe performs hair restoration surgery on both women and men. He can diagnose the cause of your hair loss and let you know what your options are. Contact the Choe Center for Hair Restoration for a consultation today by calling (757) 389-5850.

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The Choe Center for Facial Plastic Surgery offers state of the art cosmetic and reconstructive surgical care in a private, comfortable and safe setting. Our center is an AAAHC Accredited Office Base Surgery Center staffed by board certified anesthesiologists and experienced nurses. Quality and highest standards define medical staffs at the Choe Center.
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