Hair Loss: Symptoms, Treatments, Causes, Tests & Prevention
Generally, people grow hair on almost every part of their body, except in the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. Though, most of the strands are so tiny - often invisible.
Several things can lead to hair loss; which is why the various types of hair loss are classified based on the cause. For instance:
Androgenic alopecia – is genetically induced hair loss that affects both men and women. It is commonly known as male pattern baldness.
Involution alopecia - This is hair loss that occurs due to old age. As people increase in age, the hair follicles get to the resting phase, and hair growth becomes retrogressive.
Alopecia areata - Refers to hair loss that occurs due to an autoimmune attack on the hair follicles.
Telogen effluvium - In this condition, several groups of hair enter the resting growth phase, and your hair starts reducing spontaneously, though temporarily.
Trichotillomania - This is a psychological disorder where an individual start pulling off their own hair. It is more common in children.
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What Causes Hair Loss?
The top 8 most commonly encountered causes of hair loss include:
Hormonal changes are by far one of the most common causes of hair loss. The primary culprit in this scenario is the hormone dihydrotestosterone, often abbreviated as DHT. This hormone binds to the receptors in the follicles causing the hair follicles to shrink, weaken and fall off.
Alterations in genes can increase your predisposition to hair loss. For instance, it is the alteration in genes that make hormones such as DHT to cause weakening and shrinking of hair follicles.
Sometimes your immune system can start attacking your own body. Alopecia areata is a classic example of hair loss that occurs when the immune system attacks the hair follicles.
One of the significant side effects of most strong drugs is hair loss. Medications such as drugs used in chemotherapy, anti-hypertensives, beta blockers, blood thinners, and contraceptive pills can often lead to hair loss
Stress and illness
Stress is also a major contributing factor to hair loss. Additionally, illnesses such as fungal infections - especially those caused by ringworms can cause hair loss.
Temporary hair loss can be caused partly by your choice of food. For instance, a diet low in protein and restricted in calories are some of the major diet causes of hair loss.
Diseases such as diabetes, iron deficiency, thyroid diseases, and lupus often manifest with hair loss. However, this is not always a cause to worry about because your hair will regrow if the condition is treated.
Certain hairstyles, continuous use of certain shampoos, bleaching and /or dying of your hair are known to be the major cosmetic causes of hair loss depending on the strength of chemicals used in these products.
Signs of Hair Loss
Signs of a condition always vary depending on the cause, age, and gender among other factors. You may be noticing some hairs in your hairbrush when you make your hair. This could be perfectly okay - but only when you are losing about 50 to 100 strands of hair.
Here are the signs that you should look for when you suspect that you are suffering from hair loss:
Your scalp hair will start thinning
Your hairline will start receding
Exposed crown in the scalp of men
Severe thinning of women's hair especially at the crown of the head
How to Treat Hair Loss?
There are several mechanisms to treating hair loss. Actually, some of them have been in existence since antiquity. However, contemporary techniques are more studied and proven to be effective.
Some of the highly effective contemporary treatments include:
Over the counter medications such as minoxidil and prescription medicines like finasteride can be used to treat hair loss. You can also use lotions such as Brotzu lotion for hair loss. Most of the medications used to combat hair loss work chiefly by inhibiting the increase of the hormone DHT in the body. By inhibiting the production of DHT, you significantly reduce your chances of suffering from hair loss.
Some patients may actually prefer hair transplantation. However, you may need a professional to do it for you. Incompetent service providers my advice you on what does not work.
Scalp micropigmentation involves the use of dye to camouflage the regions of the head without hair. It is a highly dedicated procedure which requires professionals with a high level of experience.
Tests for hair loss
There are quite many tests that can be done when you have hair loss. Most of them are diagnostic - designed to find out the cause of your hair loss. Depending on what your doctor suspects, he will order for hormonal levels testing, thyroid function tests, tests for body iron or scalp biopsy.
Your doctor may also use a densitometer - a handheld magnification device that works by determining how miniaturized the hair shaft is.
How to Prevent Hair Loss?
It is quite impossible to prevent hair loss that occurs due to genetic problems. However, conditions that are self-induced are very much preventable.
Try and avoid those hairstyles such as ponytails, braids, and cornrows which pull on your hairline. Over time, these hairstyles will reduce your hair.
Carefully select the cosmetic ingredients to add to your hair. You should be wary about the chemicals that you add to your hair. A variety of chemicals, especially those added in the salon can potentially damage your hair and lead to hair loss.
Besides, heat can also be as damaging as certain chemicals. Avoid those hair tools which adds a lot of heat to your hair. Heat is good for straightening hair, but you shouldn’t overdo it for the sake of your hair.