In some cases, hair loss may occur with a simple halt in the cycle of hair growth. Major illnesses, surgeries, or traumatic events can trigger hair loss. However, your hair will usually start growing back without treatment.
Hormonal changes associated with pregnancy, childbirth, discontinuing the use of birth control pills, and menopause can cause temporary hair loss.
Medical conditions that can cause hair loss include thyroid disease, alopecia areata (an autoimmune disease that attacks hair follicles), and scalp infections like ringworm. Diseases that cause scarring, such as lichen planus and some types of lupus, can result in permanent hair loss because of the scarring.
Hair loss can also be due to medications used to treat cancer, high blood pressure, arthritis, depression, and heart problems.
A physical or emotional shock may trigger noticeable hair loss. Examples of this type of shock include a death in the family, extreme weight loss, or a high fever. People with trichotillomania (hair-pulling disorder) have a compulsion to pull out their hair, usually from their head, eyebrows, or eyelashes. Traction hair loss can be due to hairstyles that put pressure on the follicles by pulling the hair back very tightly.
lacking in protein, iron, and other nutrients can lead to thinning hair.
Signs and symptoms of hair loss may include:
Medications will likely be the first course of treatment for hair loss. Over-the-counter medications generally consist of topical creams and gels that you apply directly to the scalp. The most common products contain an ingredient called minoxidil (Rogaine). According to the AAD, your doctor may recommend minoxidil in conjunction with other hair loss treatments. Side effects of minoxidil include scalp irritation and hair growth in adjacent areas, such as your forehead or face.
Prescription medications may also treat hair loss. Doctors prescribe the oral medication finasteride (Propecia) for male-pattern baldness. You take this medication daily to slow hair loss. Some men experience new hair growth when taking finasteride. Rare side effects of this medication include diminished sex drive and impaired sexual function. There may be a link between use of finasteride and a fast-growing type of prostate cancer.
Doctor also prescribe corticosteroids like prednisone. Individuals with alopecia areata can use this to reduce inflammation and suppress the immune system. Corticosteroids mimic the hormones made by your adrenal glands. A high amount of corticosteroid in the body reduces inflammation and suppresses the immune system.
You should monitor side effects from these medications carefully. Possible side effects include:
There is evidence that corticosteroid use may also put you at higher risk for the following conditions:
Sometimes, medications aren’t enough to stop hair loss. There are surgical procedures to treat baldness.
Hair Transplant Surgery
Hair transplant surgery involves moving small plugs of skin, each with a few hairs, to bald parts of your scalp. This works well for people with inherited baldness since they typically lose hair on the top of the head. Because that type of hair loss is progressive, you would need multiple surgeries over time.
In a scalp reduction, a surgeon removes part of your scalp that lacks hair. The surgeon then closes the area with a piece of your scalp that has hair. Another option is a flap, in which your surgeon folds scalp that has hair over a bald patch. This is a type of scalp reduction.Tissue expansion can also cover bald spots. It requires two surgeries. In the first surgery, a surgeon places a tissue expander under a part of the scalp that has hair and is next to the bald spot. After several weeks, the expander causes the growth of new skin cells. In the second surgery, your surgeon removes the expander and places the new skin with hair over the bald spot.
These surgical remedies for baldness tend to be expensive, and they carry risks. These include:
Your graft might
also not take, meaning that you would need to repeat the surgery.
These tips may help you avoid preventable types of hair loss: