Overcoming Medical Hair Loss
Being a victim of hair loss has not been a rosy journey for most of us, seeing as our hair was an essential part of us. Waking up day after day, to see our hair falling off until we were almost bald or completely bald, was a harrowing affair. One moment, we have long lustrous locks of hair, the next moment, we were searching for tufts of hair.
Medically, we see hair loss as the thinning of hair on one’s scalp. After visiting our dermatologists, we learned the medical term for hair loss is alopecia; and it can either be permanent or temporary. Yikes for whoever gets stuck with permanent alopecia. A lot of people generally assume old age or cancer should be the only thing receding our hairline. So, when they see us battling with our hairless scalp, they assume we are either past menopausal age as a woman or conveniently old as a man.
We have had to learn over time, especially the younger ones among us, that there are different causes of alopecia, and most have got nothing to do with age. Hair loss without scarring the scalp is a fairly common condition that affects most people at one point in their lives. Alopecia is not simply a beauty or hair salon problem, you have to see a doctor because it might be a symptom of an underlying disorder. Good news! We learned that this uncomfortable condition can be prevented.
What Are The Causes Of Hair Loss?
The most common cause of hair loss is the predetermined genetic factor in the aging process. Once a few of us started reaching our 40s, we started noticing mild thinning of hair from the frontal hairline. Hormonal changes can also cause hair loss, especially in women. Some of us experienced hair loss when we were pregnant, in puberty, taking some hormonal pills, or experiencing menopause.
Emotional trauma can also cause hair loss, as we have seen in one of us. Protein and vitamin deficiency have been known to cause alopecia. Some health conditions like thyroid problems (hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism), anemia, secondary syphilis, chemotherapy, and PCOS can also cause hair loss. We will not forget to mention physical trauma like sudden weight loss and accidents.
Drugs like blood thinners, blood pressure regulators, methotrexate for rheumatism, lithium for bipolar disorder, antidepressants, and NSAIDs pills can also promote drastic hair loss.
What Are The Types Of Hair Loss?
Over time, we have met one another, and we have discovered that different people have different types of hair loss problems on them. These are common types:
Alopecia Areata: This type of hair loss is an autoimmune disorder, characterized by an attack on the hair follicles by the immune system. No one knows why one’s immune system should do such evil! The damage is not permanent though as the hair can grow back after treatment. It is not a sight for sore eyes because it appears in the form of smooth patches of bald skin, sometimes affects the whole head. It can also take off the hair on the eyebrows or beards.
Traction Alopecia: This one should be blamed on the individual and their stylist. It is a small or localized hair loss caused by a constant pull on the roots of the hair. It is common when people make tight braids or tight ponytails, and we call it ‘having no edges.’
Trichotillomania: Sounds big, right? Well, we thought so when some of us heard the name from our dermatologist. It is a mental condition where one cannot seem to stop pulling or twisting their hair. It might be a sign of anxiety, nervousness, or stress. Sometimes, it becomes a developed habit.
Tinea Capitis: If you have ever encountered the word ‘tinea’, you will know it is medical terminology for fungal infection. Once the head encounters a particular fungus, it starts spreading on the scalp, in the form of a whitish, itchy patch. This condition does not create smooth patches, rather, it creates broken hairs. It spreads, especially through youngsters, through the sharing of hats, combs, or brushes.
What Are The Symptoms Of Hair Loss?
All of the symptoms can differ, well except for the incoming baldness. Here are some of the symptoms:
A receding hairline
Thinning hair in the middle of the head
A horseshoe-shaped bald pattern on the crown of the head
Excessive shedding of hair while combing or brushing
Complete loss of hair all over the body
Patches of broken hair all over the body
Diagnosis, Prevention, And Treatment Of Hair Loss
A lot of us suffered in silence because we did not know how to deal with what was happening to us. It takes courage, lots of it, to finally report hair issues to physicians or dermatologists, only to be told nothing can really be done.
After a physical examination of the affected part, we did other screening such as full blood count test, iron level test, thyroid function tests, vitamin deficiency tests, and a biopsy of the scalp. To start the treatment, the doctors recommended medications such as Minoxidil, Propecia (for men only), and multi-vitamins.
For the cosmetic approach, there are hair fiber powder, hair units (human or synthetic hair), hair extensions and weaves, laser therapy, and hair transplant surgery. For people with itchy scalp and dermatitis on the scalp, medicated shampoos or creams like Ketoconazole, OTC dandruff, and topical lotions can help with the issue.
To prevent hair loss, it is important to have great hair hygiene with regular shampooing, good nutrition with enough iron and vitamins, and regular visits to a doctor. It is also best to treat medical conditions (thyroid diseases, anemia, and hormonal imbalance) on time before they start making you lose your hair.
Well, we know this is not the most fun journey and that is why we are available to help you overcome your hair loss and have a great hair day, every day. The first step is to make your private consultation appointment and let’s walk you through the journey of having back your full confidence and self-esteem.