Hair loss, or alopecia, is a concern for men, women, and children. Treatments for hair loss include medications such as Propecia and Rogaine, hair replacements, and hair restoration as well as treatments at a local dermatology office.
Mistakenly thought to be a strictly male disease, women actually make up 40 percent of American hair loss sufferers. Hair loss in women can be absolutely devastating for the sufferer’s self-image and emotional wellbeing.
Hair loss can be temporary or long-lasting. Temporary hair loss can be easy to fix when its cause is identified and dealt with, or difficult when it is not immediately clear what the cause is. Hair loss that Dr. Renata Flaks could possibly have been temporary may become long-lasting as a result of a delayed diagnosis. Alopecia is the medical term for excessive or abnormal hair loss. There are different kinds of alopecia. What all hair loss has in common, whether it’s in men or women, is that it is always a symptom of something else that’s gone wrong in your body. Your hair will remain on your head where it belongs if hormone imbalance, disease, or some other condition is not occurring. That condition may be as simple as having a gene that makes you susceptible to male or female pattern baldness or one of the forms of alopecia areata, or it may be as complex as a whole host of diseases. Fortunately, hair loss may also be a symptom of a short-term event such as stress, pregnancy, and the taking of certain medications. In these situations, hair will often (though not always) grow back when the event has passed. Substances including hormones and medications or diseases can cause a change in hair growth, or the pattern and duration of shedding phases. When this happens, synchronous growth and shedding occur. Once the cause is dealt with, many times hairs will go back to their random pattern of growth and shedding, and the hair loss problem stops. Unfortunately, for some women, hair loss becomes a lifelong struggle.
Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a derivative of the male hormone testosterone, is the enemy of hair follicles on your head. Simply put, under certain conditions DHT wants those follicles dead. This simple action is at the root of many kinds of hair loss, so we’ll address it first.
Androgenetic alopecia, commonly called male or female pattern baldness, was only partially understood until the last few decades. For many years, scientists thought that androgenetic alopecia was caused by the predominance of the male sex hormone, testosterone, which women also have in trace amounts under normal conditions. While testosterone is at the core of the balding process, DHT is thought to be the main culprit. A simple blood test ordered by either your primary care doctor or dermatologist will determine testosterone level in your body.
When your body goes through something traumatic, like childbirth, malnutrition, a severe infection, major surgery, or extreme stress, many of the 90 percent or so of the hair in the anagen (growing) phase or catagen (resting) phase can shift all at once into the shedding (telogen) phase. About 6 weeks to 3 months after the stressful event is usually when the phenomenon called telogen effluvium can begin. It is possible to lose handfuls of hair at a time when in full-blown telogen effluvium. For most who suffer with TE, complete remission is probable as long as severely stressful events can be avoided. For some women, however, TE is a mysterious chronic disorder and can persist for months or even years without any true understanding of any triggering factors or stressors.
Traction alopecia is caused by localized trauma to the hair follicles from tight hairstyles that pull at hair over time. If the condition is detected early enough, the hair will regrow. Braiding, cornrows, tight ponytails, and extensions are the most common styling causes.
Oral contraceptives can also cause hair loss. The American Hair Loss Association recommends that all women interested in using oral contraceptives for the prevention of conception should only use low-androgen-index birth control pills, and if there is a strong predisposition for genetic hair loss in your family, the use of another non-hormonal form of birth control is recommended.
There are some other types of hair loss. Please make an appointment with us today to find out what kind of hair loss you have and treatment options you have.