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Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment of Hairloss/Baldness

Hair Loss In men

Hairloss can be daunting and baldness can wreak havoc on your personality and appearance. As scary as it seems hair loss is still unavoidable and affects scores of people every year. This is why the causes of baldness have been studied in depth to understand it and find out a way to cure it completely. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) has revealed that 80 million people in America have alopecia.  Hair loss can be either for a short term or it can become permanent. In most cases, it affects hair on the scalp but it can also affect hair on the entire body. This condition mostly affects adults but children also develop this condition. 

It is normal for a healthy person to lose 50-100 hairs/day and normally these lost hairs are replaced by new hairs. It is not possible to count how many hairs you lose every day however thinning of hairs, bald patches, or excessive hairs in the drain after hair wash and biggers clumps in your hairbrush are all telltale signs of hair fall. If you notice sudden hair fall or any other symptoms of hair fall you should see your doctor get to find out the reason for hair fall and prescribe a treatment for this problem.

Symptoms of Hair Loss

Symptoms of hair loss appear differently in different people depending upon the type and causes of hair fall. In some people, this condition can surface as broadening of the forehead or receding hairline, bald patches,  and others may face it as an increase in the width of parting. Symptoms of hair fall are discussed below:

Thinning of Hair

The thinning of hair on some specific parts of the head is the most commonly noticed symptom of hair fall. In men, this symptom surfaces as receding hairline or hair loss from the front that makes a pattern similar to letter M. In females although hairs in the front are not affected but increasing width of the center or side part is seen.

Bald Patches 

Some people may experience hair fall that results in forming patches on their scalp. These patches can also appear on the beard area or eyebrows and skin may feel itchy afterward.  Mostly these patches smooth, circular, and coin-sized. 

Weakened Hairs

Trauma, surgery, or a sudden physical or emotional turmoil can be a reason of hair fall for this type. This can become evident in the form of loss of handfuls of hair upon gentle tugging, brushing, or shampooing. This symptom of hair fall does not cause any patchy areas but rather creates a generalized thinning of hair all over the scalp. 

Hair Loss That Affects the Entire Body

Disease conditions and certain chemicals or medicines can cause hair loss. Such as those used in chemotherapy for cancer treatment can elicit a loss of hair affecting the entire body. These hairs usually grow back as the effect of medicine gets nullified with time.

Dry Red Bald Patches 

In the case of ringworm, the infestation scalp can also become affected leading to red, itchy, swollen bald patches. This symptom of hair loss needs prompt medical attention to limit hair loss and treat the infestation. 

Causes of Hairloss

When a person affected with hair loss contacts a doctor or a dermatologist after examination his first objective is to determine the underlying causes of hair loss. Hair loss can result due to the magnitude of conditions and for successful and effective treatment of hair loss, the exact cause of hair loss needs to be identified clearly. 

Inherited Tendencies 

A most common cause of hair fall is due to inheriting this from parents. This counts for the most common reason for hair loss in men as it surfaces as male pattern baldness and thinning of hair in females. Later has no specific pattern and can affect men and women equally. 

Hormonal Imbalance

Some changes in hormonal balance can also lead to hair loss. These include hormonal alterations during pregnancy, childbirth, lactation, and problems like inactivity or overactivity of the thyroid gland. 

Medical Conditions 

Certain health issues can also be a cause of hair loss. Disorders like trichotillomania, alopecia aerate, and infections of scalp due to ringworm also end up in the form of evident hair loss. Lichen planus and some forms of lupus also lead to loss of hair. Medical reasons for hair loss are an important fact to consider when considering the treatment of hairloss for any person.

Chemicals and Drugs

Chemicals in the environment as well as some medicines that can cause hair loss are also being identified. Medicines intended for treatment or management of conditions like arthritis, gout, hypertension, heart diseases, and cancer can show side effects in the form of hair loss. 

Exposure to Radiations

After exposure to certain specific radiations hair fall can be evident and as the effect wears off the pattern of hair growth may change.

Stress

A stressful event in life like an unexpected emotional shock can also become a cause of hair loss. Hair loss due to stress can be reversed by stress reduction. 

Physical Stress on Scalp

Making hairstyles that pull hair tightly can lead to hair loss. Similarly, excessive use of heat and styling methods also damage hair health ending up in the form of hair loss.

Under Nutrition 

Failure to take a balanced diet can cause a deficiency of iron and other nutrients in the body. Lack of proper nutrition can also show up in the form of loss of hair from the scalp. Hair falling out of the disease of this nature can be easily countered by the use of a balanced diet.

How is Hairloss Diagnosed?

Diagnosis of hair loss is made by taking a medical history of the patient and inquiring relevant information. For making appropriate diagnosis doctors may use several techniques and instruments. Correct diagnosis is the first step towards the right treatment of the underlying reason for hair loss in men and women. You may undergo one of the following processes for the diagnosis of hair loss.

Blood sampling

A sample of blood may be withdrawn from the affected person to find out if the hair fall is due to some underlying deficiency or medical condition.

Pull test

The doctor during the examination may gently tug at several dozen hairs to check out the number of hairs falling out. This is done to identify the stage of hair loss.

Biopsy of Scalp

The doctor may scrape the surface of the skin in your head or the ends of hairs pulled out to examine the roots of hairs. Scalp biopsy is done to find out if hair fall is due to some infections like ringworm.

Light Microscopy

The use of light microscopy helps to find out hair trimmed at their bases. This method can be used to diagnose hair shaft problems due to which hair breakage may result. This is carried out by the use of a specialized instrument.

How to Treat Hairloss

The initial treatment of choice for hair fall is through the use of medicines. Many of these are available over the counter and others are prescribed by doctors. If you are also wondering about how to treat hairloss consult a physician to guide you in this matter.

Minoxidil

The most easily available drug for hairloss is minoxidil. It is available in the form of sprays, creams, and tablets. Its use can show side effects like hair growth in areas near to the site of use and itching of the scalp. American Academy of Dermatology has found that this medicine is prescribed in conjunction with other hair supplements for the treatment of hair loss. 

Finasteride

This medicine is prescribed to slow down hair loss in male pattern baldness affected people. Some patients also report the growth of new hair with the use of finasteride. Its side effects include lack of sexual desire and impairment of sexual function. It is also found to increase the risk of prostate cancer.

Corticosteroids

This class of medicine is prescribed for alopecia areata. It helps to suppress the immune system and also decreases resultant swelling.

Surgery 

In surgical methods for treatment of hairloss hair transplant surgery, scalp reduction, tissue expansion are being in practice. Each one of these has its own plus points and downsides. The best treatment option for hair fall for any person can only be decided by considering multiple factors. 

PRP

This is a normal method for the treatment of hair loss. In this method, plasma of a person himself is separated from a blood sample and then it is injected on the scalp. Because plasma is rich in proteins and growth factors it can induce hair growth and reduce hair fall. This is the least invasive method and shows promising results. The only downside is that you will need to have several sessions initially after which hair growth starts. Following these makeup sessions after every 4-6 months are also essential to maintain a concentration of growth factors and hence hair growth. 

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