Review of quality of life studies in women with alopecia

    Darnell Davis, Valerie D. Callender
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    TLDR Alopecia significantly lowers women's quality of life, with psychological and social challenges, highlighting the importance of early treatment and support.
    The document summarizes research on the impact of alopecia on women's quality of life (QoL), revealing significant psychological and social effects. It cites a study with 125 women showing that topical minoxidil improved QoL in those with female pattern hair loss (FPHL), which affects up to 40% of women by age 60 to 69. Another study with 2,962 patients, including 1,036 women, found a 13.6% incidence of severe alopecia areata (AA) with marked social disturbances. Further research with 60 AA patients using three questionnaires showed that alopecia universalis led to poorer QoL. A study of 532 patients from the National Alopecia Areata Registry indicated over 50% experienced poorer QoL, with risk factors such as age between 20 to 50 years, female sex, and changes in physical appearance and social status. A systematic review and meta-analysis involving over 4,516 patients confirmed that AA reduces QoL, especially with greater scalp involvement and a history of anxiety or depression. Scarring alopecia was found to have a more significant psychological impact than nonscarring alopecia, as shown in a study of 50 black South African women. The document concludes that alopecia negatively affects women's QoL and emphasizes the need for early treatment, including medical and cosmetic interventions, and support groups to improve overall well-being.
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