Excessive hair loss can be caused by genetics, prescription medications, certain health conditions, environmental factors, and poor nutrition. The average person loses 50 to 100 hairs each day. People with excessive hair loss may have bald patches or thinning hair. Its estimated that 50% of men and women in the United States experience excessive hair loss by age 50. Many of these people will seek hair loss treatment.
While its not a life-threatening condition, excessive hair loss can cause anxiety and emotional distress. Many people with hair loss also suffer from low self-esteem. The good news is that hair loss treatment can slow the progression of this condition. In some cases, people can even regrow some lost hair.
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Propecia is an FDA-approved hair loss treatment. The medication works by targeting the chemical that affects hair loss on the top and middle part of the head. Clinical studies have shown that Propecia is an effective hair loss treatment for 90% of men.
Finasteride is the FDA-approved generic version of Propecia. Many people prefer this medication because it is an affordable hair loss treatment. Finasteride is also used to treat men with an enlarged prostate.
Hair Loss Symptoms
Hair loss symptoms can depend on the type of hair loss. Some people experience sudden hair loss while others may lose hair gradually over time. In some people, hair loss occurs in patches. Other people may notice thinning all over the scalp. Hair loss can be temporary or permanent.
Gradual thinning. Men and women can suffer from this type of hair loss. However, the symptoms may be slightly different. Men with this type of hair loss typically notice a receded hairline. Women usually keep their original hairline, but may notice overall thinning throughout the top of the head.
Sudden hair loss. Men and women can experience sudden hair loss due to severe physical or emotional stress. People with this type of hair loss may notice that their hair falls out in clumps.
Complete hair loss. Men and women can suffer from complete, full-body hair loss due to medical treatments such as chemotherapy.
Hair loss is frequently caused by a genetic disorder called androgenic alopecia. This condition is also known as male pattern baldness. Androgenic alopecia occurs when hormonal changes shrink the hair follicles on the scalp. Over time, the affected hairs become short and fine. Eventually, the hair follicles can no longer support new hair growth. This type of hair loss is typically permanent. People with androgenic alopecia may benefit from hair loss treatment.
Hair loss may also be caused by a condition called telogen effluvium. This condition is triggered by severe emotional or physical distress that can disrupt the hair growth cycle. Common triggers may include eating disorders, psychological disorders, high fever, severe illness, childbirth, surgery, and anemia. The main symptom of telogen effluvium is overall thinning throughout the scalp. Hair loss treatment can completely reverse this condition.
Hair loss can also be caused by an autoimmune disorder that attacks healthy hair follicles. This condition is known as alopecia areata. People with alopecia areata may notice bald spots on the scalp, eyebrows, and beard. This condition may resolve without hair loss treatment. In extreme cases, people with alopecia areata may suffer from complete hair loss on the face, head, and body.
Other causes of hair loss may include:
Certain health conditions
Certain prescription medications
Severe physical or emotional distress
Damage from hair dye or styling products
If you are experiencing excessive hair loss, schedule an appointment with your doctor. A physician can determine the cause of hair loss and recommend a hair loss treatment.
Diagnosing Hair Loss
A thorough physical examination can help your doctor determine why you are experiencing hair loss. During the exam, the doctor will review your symptoms and perform additional testing as needed. A doctor can typically diagnose androgenic alopecia based on a visual inspection alone.
Hair loss can also be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. In some cases, your doctor may recommend a skin biopsy or blood test. This is particularly important is you have sudden hair loss or accompanying symptoms such as redness, rashes, pain, and itching. A doctor can recommend an effective hair loss treatment based on your specific diagnosis.
Hair Loss Treatments
There are a variety of effective hair loss treatments on the market. Many people with hair loss choose an FDA-approved prescription hair loss treatment. These medications can prevent or slow additional hair loss. In some cases, people can even regrow some lost hair.
Propecia is a popular hair loss treatment for androgenic alopecia. It specifically targets the male hormone that causes hair loss. Clinical studies have shown that this hair loss treatment can slow the progression of androgenic alopecia. After at least one year of use, Propecia may help some people regrow lost hair. Finasteride is the generic version of Propecia.
Wigs and hairpieces can be used to cover bald patches and thinning hair. Many men with androgenic alopecia choose to shave their heads for a confident and masculine appearance. These hair loss treatments are also popular because they can help improve self-esteem.
Surgical Hair Loss Treatment
Hair transplant surgery is a popular hair loss treatment option. During this procedure, the surgeon takes small hair plugs from the back of the head and moves them to bald parts of the scalp. Multiple surgical hair loss treatments may be required to achieve the desired result. This hair loss treatment is generally permanent and effective. However, it can also be painful and expensive.
Scalp reduction surgery is another surgical hair loss treatment. During this procedure, the surgeon removes bald portions of the scalp and replaces them with areas that have hair. Scalp reduction surgery is a permanent and effective hair loss treatment. However, the procedure can be expensive. The potential risks of scalp reduction surgery may include pain, scarring, and infection.
Health and Hair Loss Treatment
In some cases, hair loss can indicate that you have an underlying health condition. If you are experiencing hair loss, contact your doctor for a medical evaluation. Hair loss may be caused by hormonal changes, thyroid disorders, and certain prescription medications. Your doctor can diagnose the problem and recommend the right hair loss treatment for your specific case.
A variety of factors can influence the condition of your hair. Hair loss can be caused by sudden weight loss, poor nutrition, and severe stress. You can keep your hair in great condition by maintaining a healthy weight, choosing nutritious foods, and managing stress effectively.