Hair loss, as the name suggests, is a condition whereby hair on one’s body falls out. There are numerous factors that cause this condition, and it can be both temporary or permanent.
What causes hair loss?
Hair loss is caused by several factors, including:
- Heritage (hereditary factors)
- Presence of an autoimmune disease (Alopecia areata)
- Cancer (hair fall after chemotherapy)
- Hormonal imbalance
- Thyroid diseases
- Scalp infection
What are the symptoms of hair loss?
Some symptoms of hair loss include the following:
- Progressive thinning on the top of the head
- Bald spots
- Sudden loosening of hair
What are the available treatments for hair loss?
Over-the-counter medication such as topical creams that are applied directly on the scalp will usually be the first line of defense for hair loss. Otherwise, the doctor may also prescribe you medication such as Propecia to treat male-pattern baldness. Propecia helps to slow down hair loss, while Finasteride encourages new hair growth.
If the patient has alopecia areata (autoimmune disease), the doctor may prescribe corticosteroids such as prednisone to reduce inflammation at the site and suppress the immune system to prevent the antibodies from further attacking the hair follicles.
In certain cases however, creams may not be enough to stop hair loss, with some requiring surgical procedures.
Hair Transplant Surgery
During a hair transplant surgery, small plugs of skin with intact hair follicles are surgically removed and transplanted to the bald parts of the scalp. As this hair loss is progressive, the patient may require several surgeries over time to maintain a full head of hair.
Apart from that, a surgeon can also perform another surgery known as scalp reduction, where the scalp that lacks hair is removed and the scalp that has hair is folded onto the bald patch.
Tissue Expansion Surgery
In tissue expansion surgery, a surgeon would first place a tissue expander under a portion of the scalp that has hair and is next to a bald spot, stretching the scalp that has hair. Once the scalp is stretched out, the surgeon then removes the expander and pulls the stretched portion over the bald spot to cover it.
In most cases, such remedies are often costly and carry some risk, including patchy hair growth, bleeding, wide scars, or infections.
Before performing such procedures, it is best to consult with a doctor on what treatment is best for you.
What are some ways to prevent hair loss?
While nothing can be done for permanent hair loss (hereditary), it is always good to practice the following to reduce the occurrences of temporary hair loss:
- Stop pulling your hair
- Avoid wearing tight headbands
- Eat a balanced diet that contains good amounts of iron and protein
- Avoid rubbing the hair and pat it dry after showering
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