Hair loss: when do you complain to your doctor about your hair?
Whether you are male or female, losing your hair is a traumatic experience. Although hereditary causes are the most common, other medical reasons can cause you to lose your hair.
You can't just wear a baseball hat all the time. You have to face facts: your hairline is receding. If your hair is getting thinner on top, you aren't alone. Many men, women and even children can experience hair loss for many reasons. Maybe you noticed a few more hairs in the shower drain or one clump too many on your comb or brush. Losing your hair isn't something you want to talk about or even think about, but it is worth mentioning to your doctor. Sometimes losing your hair is not just a normal part of aging, the downfall of bad genes or something you cannot avoid. Sometimes medical issues can cause you to lose your hair.
Oh, why did my hair go there? Hair loss causes
Heredity is the most common cause of hair loss, but it is by no means the only cause. Cicatricial, or scarring, alopecia is when your hair falls out due to inflammation of the hair follicle. Diseases such as lupus or lichen planus are associated with this type of hair loss. Alopecia areata is a condition in which your body attacks the hair follicles, but researchers are unsure what causes this condition. Telogen effluvium is hair loss after a physical or emotional shock that causes your hair to fall out. Usually, the hair grows back after the shock has passed. Poor nutrition, such as a lack of protein or iron, can cause hair loss, according to the Mayo Clinic, and medications used to treat various diseases, such as gout, depression and high blood pressure, have a side effect of hair loss.
Rapunzel was one lucky girl: female pattern baldness
Men are not the only ones to experience hair loss, but the slow thinning of hair can be devastating for a woman. Women do not usually lose all of their hair to become completely bald, but it thins through the crown, maintaining the hairline. Hormones are often the culprit in female pattern baldness. Too much testosterone or abnormalities in the thyroid hormones can cause a woman to lose her hair. Of course, if there is a history of male or female pattern baldness in your family, then genetics can play a large role in your hair loss. Other possible causes are pregnancy, deficiency in the vitamin biotin and the breaking of hair from hair treatments, according to MedlinePlus.
Medications and transplants and wigs, oh my! Treating hair loss
Whether male or female, if you are losing your hair, chances are good that you are trying to find some way to grow it, cover it or get it back. Minoxidil is the most common medication used for hair regrowth. It is sprayed on the head and grows hair back over six months. However, hair loss will return if you stop using minoxidil. Another drug is finasteride that slows down hair loss. Some sexual side effects are associated with this drug, and the drug is dangerous for women to even handle, let alone take. You can get hair transplants or hair plugs to fill in the places where you have lost the most hair. These procedures are expensive and can sometime cause pain. Hair weaves, hair pieces, wigs and toupees are the most common ways to deal with hair loss. They are not ideal and some of them are very expensive, but they are safe. Medical science has yet to come up with a way to safely, cheaply and effectively replace permanently lost hair.
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