Most of what is said about male patients applies to women also, but important differences exist. A significant number of women suffer from hair loss other than female pattern baldness. These must be ruled out before a definitive diagnosis of female pattern baldness can be made. Of these others, telogen effluvium is the most common. Classically, telogen effluvium is that shedding of hair that occurs several months after childbirth. Typically, the woman will notice large amounts of hair suddenly coming out one to six months after a significant stress in her life such as a surgery, a serious illness, or a social or psychological stress. The bad news is that there is no treatment for this type of hair loss. The good news is that the patient does not require any treatment. The hair should return on its own after a dormant phase.
Less common is traction hair loss. This form of hair loss may be amenable to hair transplantation if the hairstyle is changed.
True female pattern baldness is much more common than most people realize. In a study authored by O’Tar Norwood, M.D. it was noted that the incidence increases from 3% of women in their twenties to 30% of women in their eighties. By the time women are in their fifties, approximately one quarter are affected.