Men and women, sooner or later, would come to the realization that they would end up losing a considerable portion of their hair, and it doesn’t matter if they would like it or not.
You could just wake up from a good night’s sleep and find a considerable clump of hair on your pillow or even on your comb after brushing your hair. The medical term for hair loss is alopecia
Losing hairs can affect just your scalp or your entire body, and it can be the result of heredity, hormonal changes, medications, and medical conditions. Hair loss can be experienced by anyone, but it’s more common in men.
Baldness typically refers to excessive hair loss from your scalp, and hereditary hair loss, associated with age is the most common cause of baldness. Some people prefer to let their hair loss run its natural course (untreated and unhidden), while others may cover it up with hairstyles, hats or scarves.
However, there are a number of treatments available to prevent further hair loss and to restore growth.
Hair Loss Facts
- Losing of hairs is a very common condition that affects most people at some point in their lives.
- Hair loss from breakage of the hair shaft is dissimilar to hair loss as a result of decreased hair growth.
- Andro-genetic hair loss is seen in both men and women but is more striking in men.
- Thyroid disease, anemia, protein deficiency, chemotherapy, and low vitamin levels may lead to hair loss.
- A form of hair loss produced by the autoimmune destruction of hair follicles in localized areas of skin is known as Alopecia areata.
- Medications indicated for the management of hair growth include minoxidil (Rogaine) and finasteride (Propecia).
- Preventive measures against hair loss include good hair hygiene, regular shampooing, and good nourishment.
- Medical health screening for hair loss may include complete blood count(CBC), iron level, vitamin B, thyroid function tests (TFT). A biopsy of the scalp may also be required.
Symptoms of Hair Loss
Hair loss can appear in many different ways, depending on the causative agent. It can affect just your scalp or your whole body and may be temporal or permanent.
Therefore, symptoms of hair loss may include:
- Gradual thinning on top of the head, which is the most common type of hair loss, affecting both men and women as they age. In men, hair often begins to recede from the forehead in an M-shaped line. On the other hand, women typically retain the hairline on the forehead but have a broadening of the part in their hair.
- Circular or patchy bald spots, which usually affects just the scalp, but it sometimes also occurs in beards or eyebrows. In some instances, the skin may become itchy or painful before the hair falls out.
- A physical or emotional shock can result in sudden loosening of hair, and a handful of hair may come out when combing or washing your hair. This type of hair loss more often than not results in overall hair thinning and not bald patches.
- Full-body hair loss that can arise from some conditions and medical treatments, such as chemotherapy for cancer. This can result in the loss of hair all over your body.
- Patches of scaling that spread over the scalp is a sign of ringworm and may be accompanied by a broken hair, redness, swelling and, oozing.
What Are The Causes And Risk Factors For Hair Loss?
Because there are many different types of hair loss, finding the cause can be tricky.
Most times, hair loss is not associated with any systemic or internal disease. Poor diet is not a frequent factor either. Hair may simply thin as a result of predetermined genetic factors and the overall aging process of the body cell.
Many people do notice mild physiologic thinning of hair starting in their 30s and 40s. Life problems like illness, emotional trauma, protein deprivation and hormonal changes like those in pregnancy, puberty, and menopause, may all result in hair loss.
Other conditions such as thyroid disease and iron deficiency anemia, can cause hair loss.
Most baldness is caused by genetics and is not preventable.
Tips to avoid preventable types of hair loss:
- Avoid tight hairstyles, such as braids or ponytails.
- Keep away from twisting, rubbing or pulling your hair on impulse.
- Treat your hair gently when washing and brushing, and use a wide-toothed comb, to help prevent pulling out hair.
- Avoid harsh treatments such as hot rollers, and hot oil treatments.
- Avoid medications and supplements that could cause hair loss as a side effect.
- Protect your hair from ultraviolet light and sunlight.
- Stop smoking if you are a smoker. Some studies have shown an association between smoking and baldness in men.
- For those people, undergoing chemotherapy, ask your doctor about a cooling cap that can reduce your risk of losing hair during chemotherapy.
Dermatologists are doctors who specialize in problems of skin, hair, and nails. They may provide more advanced diagnosis and treatment of hair loss and hair thinning. Such basic health screening can be done by a family physician, internist, or gynecologist, and sometimes a scalp biopsy may be necessary.
Although some medications list “hair loss” among their potential side effects, it has been observed that such drugs are unlikely to induce hair loss. However, cancer chemotherapy and immune-suppressive medications commonly result in hair loss, which usually grows back after six months to a year.