As the name suggests, androgenetic alopecia involves the action of the hormones called androgens, which are essential for normal male sexual development and have other important functions in both sexes, including sex drive and regulation of hair growth. The condition may be inherited and involve several different genes. It can also result from an underlying endocrine condition, such as overproduction of androgen or an androgen-secreting tumor on the ovary, pituitary, or adrenal gland. In either case, the alopecia is likely related to increased androgen activity. But unlike androgenetic alopecia in men, in women the precise role of androgens is harder to determine. On the chance that an androgen-secreting tumor is involved, it's important to measure androgen levels in women with clear female pattern hair loss.
Although it’s generally only prescribed as a last resort for menopausal symptoms, hormone replacement therapy is a common and very effective hair loss treatment for some women — as long as they are menopausal or post-menopausal and are not at higher risk for adverse effects from HRT. It's most often prescribed for women who have androgenetic alopecia, also called pattern baldness. Hormone replacement therapy has a number of benefits for both general health and symptom management, but also a number of side effects — which range from unpleasant to dangerous.
It’s good to know that hair loss is a hereditary thing. My husband’s father has hair that is thinning out quickly, so I imagine that my husband will have a similar problem in the future. If that’s the case, then I should probably look into some preventative treatments to help him out. After all, the last thing I want is for my husband to start balding at age 40!