Hair Loss (Alopecia)

Hair Loss (Alopecia)

There are a very broad range of causes for alopecia. These include genetic tendencies, fungal infection of the scalp, hormone disorders, and other medical conditions. You may lose hair gradually or notice significant loss over a fairly short period of time. With some conditions that cause hair to fall out, the hair will grow back. In other cases, simply halting the progression of alopecia is the best you can do. Early intervention is key – especially in cases of where scarring may occur and permanently damage hair follicles. Here are some of the more common types of hair loss:

Androgenetic Alopecia

Male pattern balding is a hereditary condition that can be passed down from either your father’s or mother’s side of the family (or both). Hair loss on the front and top of the scalp usually happens gradually. You might simply notice more stray hairs than normal on your shirt or pillow or in the shower. Men who begin going bald may be treated with over-the-counter Rogaine or prescription Propecia. Women who are experiencing similar hair loss should have their blood screened to identify hypothyroidism, excessive androgen production, or other hormonal abnormalities. Androgen blocking agents, estrogen (birth control pills), or other hormone-adjusting medications may be prescribed depending on the specific condition diagnosed.

Telogen Effluvium

This is a condition that causes sudden thinning out of hair all over the scalp. It may occur as a stress response to illness or surgery, or because of hormonal changes after childbirth. Your hair should grow back to its normal density within 4-6 months. You may wish to speed this process with OTC Rogaine.

Traction Alopecia

This problem is literally caused by hair being pulled out. This condition often occurs in African American women who have tight braids or who have hair weaves that place a great deal of tension on the hair roots. The hair begins to thin out along the forehead and temples. Wearing less restrictive hair styles can stop the damage. Some of the hair loss from traction alopecia may be reversed with Rogaine.

Alopecia Areata

This condition appears as circles of baldness or thinning hair throughout the scalp. It occurs when your body’s immune system interferes with the normal function of hair follicles. This malfunction may be associated with thyroid problems or immune system abnormalities such as vitiligo that affect the skin. Steroids (oral, injected, or topical) and topical tar are potential treatments depending on the underlying cause. Rogaine may also be used to help restore hair.

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