Hair Loss Basics

Alopecia is the medical term for hair loss, and it can affect a person's scalp or their entire body. Most commonly, alopecia occurs on the top of the head and is found in males, causing a loss of hair which ultimately can result in total baldness. There are many causes to hair loss and if the cause of the symptom can be pinpointed, it may be able to be treated.

Causes of Hair Loss

Many different factors can lead to hair loss. Pinpointing the cause of hair loss can help the patient treat the problem promptly and efficiently. For many people, hair loss may just be genetic- the most common cause of hair loss is a hereditary condition called male patterned baldness. Other causes of hair loss include malnutrition, thyroid problems, scalp infections, chemotherapy, and even certain medications have been linked with hair loss. Family history of hair loss and poor nutrition are the most common causes of alopecia.

Signs of Hair Loss

There are numerous symptoms that may be signs of hair loss and potential baldness. Hair loss can come on gradually, with small bits of hair falling out at a time, or it can come on suddenly with no signs at all. Things to look for include gradual thinning of the hair on the top of the scalp, circular or patchy bald spots, a sudden loosening of hair or a loss of hair on other parts of the body. All of these things can be signs that hair loss is imminent.

Treatment for Hair Loss

There are many medications designed to treat hair loss. Depending on the cause of the hair loss doctors may choose to prescribe a prescription drug to try and treat the symptoms. Rogaine is an over the counter drug recommended by doctors for patients who's hair loss is hereditary. Propecia is a prescription medication for hair loss prescribed to those with male patterned baldness.

Surgery is an option for those who are serious about fixing their hair loss. Hair transplants and scalp reduction procedures help those suffering from hair loss regain some hair in a surgical setting. This may be a viable option for those who tried medication but experienced little to no results.

Many with male pattern baldness or significant hair loss choose to just wear a hairpiece to try and cover up their thinning hair.

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