Alopecia is the medical term for hair loss and experts say that the majority of American men, as well as a high percentage of women, are affected at some point in their lives. Of all the types of hair loss, androgenetic alopecia (AGA), commonly referred to as male- or female-pattern baldness - is by far the most common, accounting for about 95 percent of the hair loss in the U.S. according to Better Nutrition magazine. Pattern baldness is genetic and experts say that the trait is inherited equally in men and women. The gene, however, can only express itself when dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a male hormone, is present. Because estrogen usually suppresses male-hormone production, women do not typically experience pattern baldness until after menopause has begun, although experts say that even the slightest hormone shift can cause hair loss in women.
The causes behind other types of hair loss - including alopecia areata, telogen effluvium, anagen effluvium and traction alopecia - and their treatment can be dramatically different, however. Experts say that hair loss is best treated in association with its underlying cause and therefore, recommend seeking medical care. Abnormal hair loss can also be a symptom of a more serious disease; therefore, an early diagnosis is strongly suggested.