The Truth About Hair Loss

Scared of combing your hair?  Frightened by the amount of hair you see on the comb when you do?  Is your hairline slowly receding?  Face it.  You may be experiencing hair loss.

The average life span of hair

    The average hair strand lasts for two to six years.  Each strand grows approximately a centimetre per month during this duration.  Around ninety percent of the hair on your scalp is growing at any one time.  The remaining ten percent, at any given time, is in a resting phase.  After about two to three months, resting hair falls off and new strands grow in its place.

    It is about normal to shed hair as this cycle progresses.  However hair loss may become excessive for some people.  Abnormal hair loss may affect men, women and children.

What is hair loss?

    Alopecia is the scientific term for hair loss.  There are three types of alopecia: areata, totalis and universalis.  Alopecia areata is a form of hair loss from areas of the body, usually from the scalp.  It is characterized as bald spots or patches in the scalp.  It may just be one spot or multiple spots in the scalp.  For one to two percent of people with alopecia areata, the condition progresses into alopecia totalis and then alopecia universalis.

    Alopecia totalis, more commonly known as baldness, is characterized by loss of all the hair in the scalp.  The causes of this is still unclear, however it has been related to autoimmune disorders and is said to have been brought about by stress.

    Alopecia universalis is a medical disorder in which the sufferer is unable to grow hair on the entire body.  This condition may start manifesting at any age.  Like alopecia totalis, this is said to be an autoimmune disease.

What causes Alopecia?

    A lot of factors may contribute to abnormal hair loss. 

    Three to four months after an illness or major surgery, you may notice a large patch of hair missing.  This hair loss may be related to stress and anxiety brought about by the condition and is most likely temporary.

    Hormonal dysfunctions may also cause hair loss.  If you have hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, your hair may fall out.  This hair loss may be remedied by having the thyroid problem treated.  Hair loss may also occur if male or female hormones are out of balance.    Correcting the hormonal imbalance may stop or lessen the hair loss.

    Most women notice hair loss three months after delivery.  This is because the woman’s body returns to its pre-pregnancy state and causes extra hair to be shed.

    There are also medications that can cause hair loss.  Medications such as anticoagulants, gout treatment medicine and medicines used in chemotherapy to cure cancer, too much vitamin A, birth control pills and antidepressants may cause or aggravate hair loss.

    Certain infections may cause hair loss.  Fungal infections in the scalp can cause hair loss, too.  And lastly, hair loss may be a secondary effect of underlying diseases such as lupus or diabetes.

How can I treat Alopecia?

    The most cost effective way to minimize hair loss is to lessen stress.  Some forms of hair loss are said to have been caused by stress and anxiety.  Your doctors ask you of your eating habits and the medications you’re currently taking or whether you’ve recently had any illness.  This will determine the treatment your doctor will suggest.  Certain medication may help minimize if not stop the abnormal hair loss.

    If rest and medication does not help minimize your hair loss, you may want to consider trying different hairstyle to cover the balding spots or wear wigs, hair pieces, hair weaves or even surgery.

    This surgery is more popularly known as hair transplant surgery.  This procedure offers a longer-term solution to your hair loss dilemma.  It involves transferring hair bearing skin patches to the balding areas.  Surgeons will be placing rows of micrografts in front and minigrafts a few rows behind.  It is the best solution to your hair fall problem though it may be expensive.

    Natural as it may be, hair loss is not something we should just overlook or ignore.  This may already be warning signs of hidden diseases you may have.  Once you notice excessive amounts of hair falling off, contact your dermatologist and have your scalp checked.  Who knows, you may already be balding and it might be too late before you take action.


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