Do women go bald?

No really.

Men notoriously go bald, and although a lot of them try to mask it with comeovers, wigs, transplants and toupees, it’s a fact of life.

Do women go bald, and if so how do they deal with it?

And if not, why don’t women go bald?

Not in the same way that men do, and total baldness is fairly rare among women, but “female pattern hair loss” is a real thing. I know several women who suffer from it, and their hair has become very thin and sparse, particularly on the tops of their heads.

They can try minoxidil (Rogaine), though it doesn’t appear to help most of them.

My friends who suffer from it cope by wearing their hair short, and / or wearing caps or scarves a lot.

Edit: an article from HuffPo on it: What Women Can Do About Hair Loss | HuffPost Post 50

Yes, they do. Women lose hair at the same rate as men (same percentage of women as of men), but they lose it in different ways. Women tend to thin, and may have bald spots. Women rarely go completely bald. Treatment for women depends on the cause (causes include polycystic ovary syndrome, thyroid disease, anemia, hormone imbalances, various medications, and pattern baldness). Treatments are similar to those for men, including transplants, and minoxidil. One woman I knew who was fairly young when she started losing her hair ended up just moving to wigs.

I read a variety of sources to put this together. Here is a good overview.

From, a well respected subscription website for health professionals:

There’s a lot more that could be said about it, but kenobi 65’s link expands on these basics pretty well.

I know two young women who are totally bald due to alopecia. Neither of them like wigs - according to them, they are itchy and hot. So they use scarves, kerchiefs and other head coverings.

As has been mentioned in posts above, as women get older, their hair can thin, sometimes by quite a lot. The women I’ve known who have had that happen have dealt with it mostly via wigs, though generally they are only worn in public, not at home. I haven’t asked, but I have wondered if having some hair makes a wig is less bothersome than if you have no hair, since the complaints I’ve heard have only come from women who are completely bald (and that would include not only the ones mentioned above, but also a couple others I know who were temporarily bald as a result of chemotherapy).

My grandmother was one of those unfortunate women who lost most of their hair relatively young. She wore wigs. When I was born with red hair, it was a conumdrum to my mom because she had never seen her MIL’s natural hair. My mother herself had a slowly receding hairline. I’m guessing my chances for one or the other are fairly high.

Interesting answers.

Thank you.

Anticonvulsants are a major cause of hair thinning for women. My hair was never really thick, but I had a lot of it, but in the last ten years or so, it’s because really thin and I can’t wear it up anymore, because you can see how much of my scalp shows through. (They fuck up my nails, too, so they’re all brittle and peeling)

I’m extremely self-conscious about it. :frowning:

My paternal grandmother wore a wig, because her hair had gotten very, very thin. She had adult-onset Type-1 diabetes, and apparently people who have this, which is an autoimmune disorder, lose a lot of their hair. My FIL was diabetic, and he injected insulin, so I’m assuming he had adult-onset Type-1 as well (he was a Marine when he was in his early 20s, and served in Vietnam, so he couldn’t have been diabetic then). He had male pattern baldness, but even the hair he still had was very sparse, if that makes sense.

My boss wears what she calls a “wiglet” to fill out her hair, because it’s gotten thin. I guess that’s sort of like a woman’s toupee. Hers looks really good, though.

I had enormously, ridiculously thick hair as a teen, and through my 20s and 30s. I’m 50 now, and it’s gotten a little thin, but it’s still thicker than most people’s, and it’s finally manageable.

Well, I just learned something new: Anticonvulsants.

Thank you.

You don’t see as many bald women as bald men, because usually their hair gets thinner in a different pattern, I think. However, my mother and one of my aunts both went pretty much bald by their early 40s, and they wore wigs. They started with filler type wigs. My mother wore a hairstyle where she combed it from the back to the front, and then curled the front…it was odd because when she hadn’t fixed it and sprayed it into place, it looked way long, but once she had parted it an inch below her crown and done her comb-over, it looked short.

Then she added a thing she called a rat, and changed it to side parted, with the hair parted and going over the rat. Both these hairstyles were things she did when I was really small. By the time I was in 4th or 5th grade, it was wigs when out, turbans at home. She kept it long and twisted it into a bun at the back to have something to anchor the wig to. I think she actually had about as much hair as my husband, who is bald (but his remaining hair or two are about 1/4 inch long).

The thing is, a bald man is no big deal. A man who shaves his head is no big deal. It’s not a look women usually have. I don’t know how many women are out there wearing wigs to cover it up, because you can’t always tell it’s a wig, although with my mother’s you could.

Meanwhile my grandmother and grandfather both had full heads of hair, so the bald gene didn’t come from them directly, but a couple of my great-aunts were also bald. Probably some great-uncles too, although since bald men weren’t remarkable, I don’t remember.

A girl in my high school lost her hair on the entire top of her head, either overnight or over a period of days. I don’t recall ever hearing what the cause was, but it was fairly traumatic for her.

That’s probably ideopathic alopecia. Hair loss that happens unrelated to another disease a person has. It usually isn’t inherited, either.

I went to school with a girl who had that. She combed her hair over from one side, and wore a barrette or something to keep it in place.

I also knew another girl who had ideopathic alopecia, and somehow, after like two years, her head hair spontaneously grew back. Not very thickly, but enough that she looked like she had hair. Her eyebrows and eyelashes didn’t grow back, though.

Got a cite for that? I’m unable to find any references to hair loss or thinning due to anticonvulsants in my medical sources.

Drug-Induced Hair Loss

Is Your Medication Causing Hair Loss? These 11 Drugs Are Common Culprits

Epilepsy Medication and Hair Loss

Cosmetic side effects of antiepileptic drugs in adults with epilepsy

And if you do a search, countless forums for epilepsy sufferers have women asking for advice on dealing with hair loss. :frowning:


It’s weird that UpToDate didn’t mention that in their otherwise pretty complete coverage of hair loss in women. And I’m stunned to discover that up to 24% of people taking valproic acid report alopecia.

Damnit. That explains a few things. Weight gain too. :frowning: :mad:

Thank you for posting.

Interesting question. Thank you.

I had a high school acquaintance who went white headed over the space of a couple months. Weirdo.

My niece lost all her hair over her entire body. She hated wearing wigs and used a head scarf. The lose of eyebrows and especially lashes gave her an especially odd look. She was devastated although she was engaged when it happened and is now happily married.