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FEMALE HAIR LOSS (ALOPECIA)
by Geoffrey Redmond, MD Quick Reference
What is Alopecia?
How I came to treat Alopecia
Why am I losing my hair?
Estrogen and female alopecia ...
Some final words What is Alopecia?
Alopecia is simply the medical term for hair loss. Female alopecia is both common and distressing. How I Came to Treat Alopecia In formal medical training, few physicians hear a word about androgenic alopecia, yet it affects 20% of women up to the forties and even more after that. I become interested in alopecia when I saw how distressing it is to women who have it. Though many of my physician colleagues do not think alopecia is worth medical attention, I disagree. Any bodily change which causes so much unhappiness is worth the effort to diagnose and treat. Alopecia falls in between specialties. Hair is part of the skin so is included in dermatology. Yet the cause of the most common form, androgenic alopecia, is internal: the actions of hormones which are the focus of a different specialty endocrinology. Yet few endocrinologists are trained to diagnose or treat hair loss in women. This is unfortunately because bridging the gap between specialties has made it possible to apply new knowledge about hormones to understanding and treating androgenic alopecia. The ignorance among health professionals about the all too common and distressing condition of alopecia is truly astounding. Many doctors cannot even recognize alopecia. This is terrible for the person seeking help. Being told nothing can be done is bad enough, but not being believed is even worse. Often when I see a woman for alopecia on her first visit, she is surprised when I acknowledge that she has a problem, since so many doctors have told her nothing is wrong. Yet I cannot remember ever seeing a woman worried about alopecia who did not actually have it. With some the loss was very mild, but it was never simply their imagination. After all, each of us knows our body better than anyone else. So here are the first things that need to be said: