A rather peculiar form of baldness seen in both sexes has been termed alopecia areata. In this disorder a circular patch of scalp loses hair. The area involved seldom exceeds the size of a quarter. After a period of some weeks or months, a regrowth of hair will occur in the bald patch. The cause of this disorder and the reason for its peculiar localization is unknown: it sometimes seems related to nervous stresses and is seen more frequently in tense. hypersensitive persons.
In elderly women, as well as in elderly men, some degree of thinning-out of the hair is generally observed. It occurs also with body hair, such as pubic and armpit hair. A somewhat similar process is being observed more frequently in a relatively small percentage of middle-aged women, no particular agent or hormonal disturbance seemingly being involved. This pattern of hair thinning in middle age seems to have arisen only in the past two decades and is still under investigation.
In no way does it resemble the kinds of baldness seen in men. Women exhibiting this condition can at least be told that it is not unrestrainedly progressive: currently, hormones and other agents are being evaluated in its treatment. For practical purposes, the average woman with an average head of hair can be reasonably certain that she will keep it indefinitely. and whatever episodes of hair loss she may encounter will always be temporary ones.