Hair loss (alopecia) is the progressive thinning and eventual loss of hair. Hair can fall out in patches or all over, and eventually, small bald patches may appear. Thinning and hair fragility is the most noticeable and common symptom. Moreover, people can also see the thinning of the frontal edges of the brows, at the temples, and on top of the head. You should consult your doctor for hair loss treatment if you experience these symptoms.
What causes baldness?
Various causes can result in baldness. However, some of them include-
- Poor nutrition
- Radiation therapy
Some hair loss is normal as people age. About 50-100 hairs fall per day. However, if more than this amount is seen on the hairbrush or in the sink, alopecia may be the problem.
Let us learn the reasons in brief-
Hair loss is not hereditary. However, it can pass on to family members. Androgens, the male sex hormone, may cause hair to thin in some areas of the scalp or make hair fall out. The condition is called androgenetic alopecia (AGA). It is also known by the name male pattern baldness. The term indicated that this hair loss is seen more often in men than women. In addition, hair loss may also result due to other hormones, such as estrogen and prolactin.
If you are experiencing baldness due to age, hair loss treatment can still work for you. Consult with your doctor for an appropriate solution.
As people age, the number of hairs on their heads gradually decreases. Most people have about 100,000 hairs on their heads when they are young. This number becomes 50,000 by the time they are 60 years old. In addition, by the time a person is 80 years old, they may have only about 25,000 hairs on their head.
Many people think baldness is due to a lack of vitamins or minerals. However, it is not only the reason. Some illnesses and chronic conditions can lead to thinning of hairs.
Diseases such as iron deficiency (anemia), thyroid disease, diabetes mellitus, and lupus erythematosus can cause abnormal or premature hair loss. In addition, the side effects from the treatment of some conditions can also result in a temporary or permanent form of hair loss. For example, some women who receive chemotherapy lose their hair. In addition, people with kidney disease may have excessive hair falling due to the lack of dialysis.
In such cases, your doctor may look for a hair loss treatment while keeping your health condition in mind.
Medications for cancer treatment (chemotherapy), heart problems (beta-blockers), arthritis (methotrexate), and high cholesterol (niacin, clofibrate) may cause alopecia. Accutane® (a medication used to treat severe acne) can also cause temporary or permanent hair loss.
- Hormonal changes
Hormonal changes, which are related to temporary or permanent alopecia include-
- Thyroid diseases
- Excessive production of male hormones (hyperandrogenism)
- An overactive pituitary gland (which causes excess production of prolactin)
- Stress and poor nutrition
Stress can cause the body to produce certain hormones that result in protein loss. This protein is vital for healthy hair growth. In addition, poor nutrition, such as a person not eating enough protein, can also result in alopecia.
- Radiation therapy
Radiation therapy for certain types of cancer may result in permanent or temporary hair loss. It is most common after treatment for lymphoma and cancers. These procedures affect the head and neck area, such as breast cancer.
In such cases, your doctor may prescribe a hair loss treatment to prevent baldness in the future. Moreover, it may also improve the existing falling of hairs.
What are the symptoms of alopecia?
Symptoms of hairlessness in women
Hair loss in women is a common condition. It affects all women at some time in their lives. In most cases, it is only a temporary problem. The symptoms of alopecia in premenopausal women are usually thinning around the front and top of the scalp. It spreads towards the back of the head over time. However, in post-menopausal women, hair loss is usually more diffuse and may include thinning all over the scalp.
Some common symptoms in women are-
- Reduction hair at the frontage or crown of the scalp
- Hair loss that spreads to the back of the head over time
- Diffuse alopecia all over the scalp
Symptoms of alopecia in men
Hair loss in men is very common. About 20% of men start to experience baldness by age 30 and 50% do so by age 60. The main symptom of male pattern baldness is a receding hairline. However, men who lose their hair often have the best results with drugs such as finasteride or minoxidil. Hair transplantation is another hair loss treatment for men with significant hair loss.
In men, some common symptoms of alopecia are-
- A receding hairline that may be associated with a thinning crown
- A widening part accompanied by a small amount of hair at one or both sides
- Reduction on the crest or top of the scalp
- Diffuse thinning or a general reduction in hair volume
What can help treat baldness?
The primary step is to look for a doctor as soon as possible. If you have been losing more than just a few hairs a day, your doctor can recommend several treatment options. No treatment can cure hair loss. However, many treatments can help slow or stop the progression.
What is finasteride?
Finasteride is a drug taken orally. It can help treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH, enlarged prostate gland) and male pattern hair loss (androgenic alopecia).
How does finasteride work?
This hair loss treatment inhibits the action of an enzyme called 5α-reductase. It converts testosterone to a more potent form, dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is responsible for the miniaturization of hair follicles and excess hair production in balding men. However, finasteride works by inhibiting the conversion of testosterone to DHT.
What are the side effects of finasteride?
The main side effect associated with this medication is a decrease in libido (sex drive). Moreover, other side effects may include-
- Reduced semen production
- Breast tenderness or enlargement
Although these side effects are not pleasant, they are usually mild and reversible.
How much time does finasteride take to work?
Finasteride typically begins working within three months of starting treatment. However, it may take up to six months to see the full effects of finasteride. During this time, you should use this hair loss treatment as directed by your doctor. Moreover, see your doctor regularly for check-ups. If you do not see any improvement after two years on finasteride, your doctor may likely recommend that you switch to a different medication.
What is minoxidil?
Minoxidil is a drug that is most commonly used to treat hair loss. It is a topical medication and is applied directly to the scalp. Moreover, minoxidil can also prevent hair loss in men who are at risk for balding.
How does minoxidil work?
The medication works by promoting hair growth. It helps increase the number of hair follicles in the scalp and keeps the hair follicles healthy. In addition, minoxidil is most effective when used early.
What are the side effects of minoxidil?
The most common side effect of this medication is scalp irritation. People may experience this irritation like redness, itching, or a rash. However, less common side effects include hair growth in places other than the scalp and worsening of hair loss.
How much time does this hair loss treatment take to work?
People can see the effectiveness of minoxidil within 25 weeks of regular use. In some cases, people may begin to see results as quickly as 12 weeks. Minoxidil is a topical medication that comes in the form of a lotion or foam. It is available by prescription only. However, you can purchase it online from registered online pharmacies.
What is hair transplant surgery?
Hair transplant surgery is a surgical procedure. It deals with removing hair follicles from one part of the body and fixing them to the bald areas of the body, particularly the scalp. The procedure is mainly used to restore hair on the scalp. However, experts may also use this procedure to restore eyebrows, eyelashes, beard hair, chest hair, and pubic hair.
How is hair transplant surgery performed?
The surgeon places hair follicle units into tiny incisions made in the scalp. These pieces consist of around four hairs. In addition, the entire procedure of this hair loss treatment usually takes between five and eight hours, depending on the extent of baldness or the number of affected areas. It requires around two weeks for healing. However, most patients return to their usual activities within a few days.
What are the risks of hair transplant surgery?
As with any surgical procedure, there are risks associated with hair transplant surgery. Therefore, the risks of this treatment include-
- Bleeding from the scalp
- Nerve damage that can cause numbness or weakness in the site of the surgery
- Swelling around the eyes
- Temporary patchy hair loss
- Temporary itching, tingling sensation, tightness, redness, or swelling at the donor site
- Adverse reaction to anesthesia
- Hair follicles, which are not viable, maybe re-absorbed into the body after transplantation. It can cause a condition called “shock loss”. Here, hair is lost in the transplanted area
- Temporary paresthesia, or tingling on the scalp
Moreover, in some cases, women may lose the transplanted hair eventually. It is common in women who have experienced pattern baldness since early in life.
What are the benefits of this hair loss treatment?
Hair transplant surgery can improve the appearance of baldness by restoring hair to areas where it has been lost. Moreover, it can also help to create a more natural-looking hairline.
What are hair systems?
Hair systems are artificial hairpieces attached to the body using various methods. The most popular method of attaching hair systems is by gluing or bonding them onto the scalp. This procedure has been around for various years. However, it has experienced extremely fast growth over recent years due to technological advances in adhesives and application techniques that have made this method. For some people, it has become a more desirable option than a traditional option.
What are the benefits of hair systems?
- Low cost (compared to medical or surgical treatment)
- No need for ongoing or repeated maintenance treatments such as medications, laser therapy, and others
- Instant naturalness in appearance, which enables you to return to the lifestyle you desire
- No risk of scarring from this hair loss treatment, no downtime from work or lifestyle activities
- Variety of hair system types to choose from, which enables you to choose the perfect hair system to meet your specific needs and lifestyle
- A natural-looking hairline that gives you a youthful appearance
- It can be used to cover baldness, thinning hair, or receding hairlines in both men and women
What are the risks of hair systems?
Like any other type of surgery or medical treatment, there are some risks associated with hair systems. Nevertheless, some frequent possibilities include-
- Allergic reaction to adhesive or other materials used in the hair system
- Inflammation or infection of the scalp
- Damage to the scalp caused by incorrect application of the hair system
How can diet and lifestyle changes help prevent hair loss?
There are a few key things you can do to help prevent hair loss. You can consider the following-
- Make sure you are eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables and using your hair loss treatment
- Add enough protein and iron to your diet
- Get enough sleep
- Do regular exercises
- Avoid stress if possible because stress can lead to hair loss
You may also want to talk with your doctor about taking over-the-counter or prescription medications if the baldness is due to an underlying condition such as iron deficiency, thyroid trouble, autoimmune disease, or lupus.