The term pattern baldness is used commonly to describe the symptoms of hair loss, both for women and men.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, hair usually grows at a rate of around a half-inch per month. One hair normally grows for between two and six years before falling out.

Normally, this hair is then replaced. Pattern baldness occurs when the replacement hair does not grow again, leading to a gradual thinning. The condition affects men and women, but there are different causes and symptoms in each.

Symptoms in women

Female pattern baldness normally occurs on the top and crown of the scalp. It is often first detected when the center hair part widens. Women tend not to lose their front hairline, and the loss is often limited in extent. Female pattern baldness tends not to progress toward total hair loss, as is often the case in men.

Symptoms in men

According to NIH, male pattern baldness typically starts with the hairline. The hairline gradually recedes and forms a distinctive M shape. With male pattern baldness, the hair fibers gradually become finer, shorter and thinner, too. After some time, the M shape changes to leave a horseshoe pattern of hair on the sides of a mans head.

Causes in women

The actual causes of female pattern baldness are not fully understood, according to NIH. There are a number of well-researched theories about what causes this condition, however, including the aging process and any family history (male or female). It is also possible that changes in a womans hormonal balance could cause the condition.

Causes in men

It is believed that male pattern baldness is related to a mans genes and sex hormones. According to Medical News Today, hair follicles convert testosterone into a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Some follicles are sensitive to DHT, which causes them to shrink.

Hair today, gone tomorrow?

Hair loss (otherwise known as alopecia) can affect both men and women on the scalp or the entire body. According to the Mayo Clinic, hair loss can be caused by a number of different factors. It can be hereditary, can be caused by certain medications or can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. While you may not be able to fight against genetics, there are other steps you can take to help prevent hair loss.

Eat a balanced diet

Eating a healthy, balanced diet ensures that your body has all the natural vitamins and minerals that it requires. Vitamin deficiency can, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, result in dry, splitting hair, so a diet rich in vitamin C can help maintain healthy follicles. Following a healthy, balanced diet overall can help prevent hair loss, so eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, which are naturally high in vitamins.