What is Hair Loss ( Alopecia )?
Alopecia is hair loss or absence of hair. Alopecia is usually most prominent on the scalp, but can occur anywhere on the body where hair grows. The condition is more common in men than women.
What Causes Hair Loss?
Hair loss is believed to be caused by a combination of:
- Hormonal changes
- Some diseases that cause hair loss
- Family history of baldness
- Untreated ringworm of the scalp
- Iron or protein deficiency
- Excess vitamin A intake
- Rapid weight loss
- Certain medications, such as cancer chemotherapy
- Certain medical conditions, such as lupus
The following do not cause hair loss:
- Poor blood circulation in the scalp
- Wearing hats
Generally, the earlier the hair loss begins, the more severe the baldness gets.
What are the Symptoms of Hair Loss?
Depending on the type, the symptoms of hair loss will vary. There are several types of hair loss, including:
- Female pattern hair loss. Although less common, female pattern baldness differs from male pattern baldness because the hair is usually thinning all over the head. The hairline is preserved. Female pattern baldness rarely causes all hair to fall out.
- Male pattern baldness. Male pattern baldness is often inherited. The condition can begin at any age. Hair loss usually starts on the front, sides, or top of the head. Some men may have a bald spot or a hairline that just pops up. Some men may lose all their hair.
- Alopecia areata This hair loss type is characterized by sudden hair loss in a specific area. Hair grows back after a few months. However, regrowth may not occur if all body hair is suddenly shed. The exact cause of this type of hair loss is unknown. Genetic causes are suspected, as well as a link with autoimmune conditions and allergies. If hair loss only on the scalp is complete, it is called alopecia totalis, and if all body hair is lost, it is called alopecia universalis.
- Toxic alopecia. Toxic alopecia can occur after a high fever or severe illness. Some medications, especially thallium, high doses of vitamin A, retinoids, and cancer drugs can also cause it. Medical conditions such as thyroid disease and giving birth can also trigger toxic alopecia. The condition often causes temporary hair loss.
- Cicatricial alopecia. Wounded areas can inhibit hair regrowth. Scarring can result from burns, injuries, or radiation therapy. However, wounds caused by other causes such as lupus, bacterial or fungal skin infections, lichen planus, sarcoidosis, tuberculosis or skin cancer can also cause hair loss.
- Trichotillomania (hair pulling). Hair pulling can also cause hair loss. This condition is more common in young children.
How Is Hair Loss Diagnosed?
In addition to the medical history and physical examination, a biopsy of the skin can help determine the type and/or cause of baldness. If infection is suspected, culture can be done from the sample taken. Microscopic examination of hair fiber called trichogram can be done. Digital examination can be performed by enlarging the scalp and hair with a dermoscope.
Hair Loss Treatments
Your doctor will plan the best treatment for hair loss in Istanbul Basari Hospital for you based on:
- Your age
- Your general health and medical history
- The level of the situation
- Your tolerance for certain drugs, procedures, and treatments
- Estimation of how long hair loss will last
Some types of hair loss have no cure. Some types of hair loss go away on their own without treatment. Research continues for a solution to hair loss. Existing treatments may include:
- Certain medications that promote hair growth (such as minoxidil and finasteride)
- Corticosteroid injections (when treating alopecia areata or other inflammatory diseases that cause hair loss)
- Treating the condition or disease that causes hair loss
- Hair transplant
- Skin lifts and grafts
- Vitamin supplements for hair