Doctors refer to hair loss as “alopecia,” and its various forms occur commonly. The most frequent form of alopecia, male pattern baldness, occurs in about 70%-85% of men. Female pattern baldness, though existing, is much less rare and rarely progresses as quickly.
There are several forms of hair loss and many potential causes of each. Is it possible to prevent or prolong hair loss? What are the possible treatment options?
Types of Hair Loss
- Involutional Alopecia: This is the everyday, normal, gradual thinning of the hair with age. The distinguished way to grow bald, if you will.
- Androgenic Alopecia: Common male-patterned baldness, the type passed down through genetics. The one huge myth about that everyone held so firmly for so long was that you only got the bad gene from the mom’s side of the family; the truth is that you can get it from either or both side.
- Alopecia Areata: This a really interesting balding pattern that happens repeatedly, in a cycle. It starts with one quarter shaped missing bald patch and then the patches are everywhere. This one is actually an autoimmune disorder, in which the immune system has attacked his own hair follicles.
- Alopecia Universalia – When a man or woman loses all their hair at the same time very rapidly. Usually, it’s all the hair. All at once, just no hesitation. And if you will notice, all of the lashes and brows. They have not figured out how but they think it is auto immune much like our last.
- Trichotillomania: Compulsive psych disorder in which a person compulsively pulls their hair out
- Telogen Effluvium: A hair loss condition which causes chronic stress so push hair from roots prematurely and cause a state a frequent hair shedding.
Causes of Hair Loss
What are the causes of hair loss? While most people are predisposed because of their family history and genetics, there are lifestyle patterns that can contribute as well. Moderate and severe alcohol use, for instance, has been shown to weaken the hair shaft and make early or excessive loss far more likely.
- Autoimmune disorders
- Alcohol/Smoking/Street (Illegal) Drugs
- Certain medications – Blood Pressure medication, beta-blockers, antidepressants and mood stabilizers, hormones, steroids.
- Poor diet
- Thyroid conditions
- Lack of sleep
- Hormonal imbalances
Drug-Induced Hair Loss
Many medications destroy hair by messing with it during with its growth phase. The more the growth is disrupted and the more of it falls out depends mostly upon the harshness of the chemicals in that medication and how long you were taking it for. What kind of drugs can cause hair loss?
- Blood pressure medication
- Beta blockers
- Antidepressants and mood stabilizers
- Acne medication
- Cancer drugs
- Medication for Parkinson’s disease
- Medication for epilepsy
Is There Any Way to Prevent Hair Loss?
Good nutrition might be key. Adequate levels of nutrients like iron, vitamin B, protein, Vitamin D, and calcium. Essential fatty acids like omega-3 can be a great help. Also, treatment of underlying medical conditions like thyroid disease, anemia, and hormonal imbalances may be very useful in prevention.
In addition, here are some other ways:
- Try to manage your stress levels.
- Be careful with your medication intake. If you’re given a new prescription, it can help to do some research first. Make sure that hair loss and hair thinning are not frequent side effects of a new drug that you are supposed to take; if this is the case, talk to your doctor about a replacement.
- Keep up with hygiene. It’s a myth that over-shampooing your hair will lead to it falling out faster. It’s actually the opposite; excessive sebum and bacteria build-up on your scalp will likely only encourage your follicles to shed faster so it’s a good idea to not skip washing up.
What Treatment is Available for Hair Loss?
|Minoxidil – The first product approved to prevent the further loss of hair and even grow certain amounts of new hair. Minoxidil has modest to moderate results and low side effects. Minoxidil is especially successful with hair regrowth in the uppermost vertex portion of the head. Hairline regrowth is not able to be done with any method other than surgery.||Finasteride – There have been other prescriptions on the market over the years, but Finasteride remains the lone option for hair regrowth in pill form. It is the most effective method other than surgery, halting the hair loss process for 83% of men and growing hair for over 60% of men, but there are some very significant side effects.||1) Scalp Transplant Surgery (done less frequently since the newer methods emerged).
2) Follicular Unit Hair Transplantation (FUT)
3) Follicular Hair Extraction (FHE)
Hair loss can happen to anyone, for a variety of different causes. Most of the time if can’t be prevented if you have the genetic disposition, but there are some things you can do to give yourself the best chance to at least slow the process down.