What can you do if you have hair loss?
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Do not suffer in silence if your hair is falling out. Turn to a dermatologist for a proper diagnosing to know whether you have hair loss or excessive hair shedding. The cause and type of hair loss makes it super flexible to opt for suitable treatments options available.
Hereditary hair loss
Hair loss that is genetically inherited is called androgenetic alopecia and one of the most common causes of hair loss in young men and women. The poor gene can be inherited from either parent or their side of the family, though you’re most likely to obtain it from your parents only. Women with hereditary hair loss usually tend to develop thinning at the hairline behind the bangs. The condition may begin as early as your 20s and develop slowly. You may be unguarded in case your mother also has this pattern of thinning. In some cases, the hair loss spread across the entire scalp.
The tests: The doctor will analyze the pattern of hair loss to identify if it’s hereditary and may order blood test to rule out other causes. A scalp biopsy is sometimes done to examine if the hair follicles have been replaced with miniaturized follicles, a foolproof sign of hereditary hair loss.
What you can do: Reduce and control the hair loss by applying Rogaine (minoxidil) on the scalp twice a day. Minoxidil works on both females and males, although females should use a lower-strength formula to avoid accidental side effects. If you are Pregnant or nursing, then do not use minoxidil. Men can be treated with alopecia or hereditary hair loss with finasteride (Propecia).
Telogen effluvium is a phenomenon that takes place after chronic stress, pregnancy, child birth surgery, excessive weight loss. In this circumstance, you shed excessive amounts of hair per day, often when styling, head wash or combing. It can also be caused by a side effect of some medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, beta-blockers, and antidepressants. During this phase, hair moves rapidly than normal from its growing phase into the “resting” phase before moving quickly into the shedding, or telogen, phase.
The tests: There are no tests for telogen effluvium, but your dermatologist may check for small “club- shaped” bulbs on the fallen hair’s roots and also enquire about your recent life events. The bulbs refers the hair has undergone through a complete cycle of growth, indicating that the cycle may have quicken due to stress.
What you can do: In some situations, such as major surgery or pregnancy, you may have to lie in wait until the hair loss slows. And if medication is the sinner, speak to your doctor about altering your dosage or changing medicines. If it’s linked to stress, reduce anxiety.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS can begin as early as age 12, is caused by a hormonal irregularities in which the ovaries produce excessive male hormones. This condition can also cause infertility along with hair loss.
In PCOS, while you may experience hair loss on head, you may see more hair growth elsewhere on the body.
The tests: A blood test to gauge for elevated rate of testosterone and Dehydroepiandrosterone- a by-product of testosterone.
What you can do: Most patients of PCOS are treated with birth control pills such as Yasmin, which comprises a capable anti-androgen that obstructs testosterone. If you do not want to use birth control pills, Spironolactone (Aldactone), which also blocks male hormones, will be prescribed by your doctor. Losing weight can also be one of the ways to minimize the effect of the male hormones.
This autoimmune disorder forms round, smooth patches of baldness on the head, some other parts of the body or even total body along with scalp. The immune system attacks hair follicles under this disease. Its causes are unknown, but it may be elevated by excessive stress or illness and is reported to affect 4.7 million people in the US.
The tests: Blood tests for iron stores, ANAs and hormones to rule out underlying medical conditions that may cause hair loss.
What you can do: Intralesional corticosteroids are used to treat alopecia areata. Minoxidil (Rogaine) may also help. Stress-reduction is highly needed to relieve from this condition.
Millions of people, especially women, suffer from thyroid. When the body produces very less thyroid hormone, hormone responsible for heart rate, metabolism, and mood, you are said to have hypothyroidism. If your body produces too much of thyroid hormone, you’re said to have hyperthyroidism. Thyroid hormone is responsible for the growth of hair, skin, and nails. But when you don’t have the correct amount, you may suffer hair loss.
The tests: A thyroid-stimulating hormone is measure through a blood test. Excess TSH generally illustrates hypothyroidism, while adversely low levels indicate hyperthyroidism.
What you can do: A thyroid hormone medication to restore levels to normal may be prescribed by your doctor. Regular TSH tests should be done to make sure sufficient dosage.
Iron deficiency anemia
Iron deficiency occurs when the blood doesn’t have enough red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen to cells all across the body, giving you the energy you need.
The tests: A blood test is done to check ferritin, the protein that stocks iron in your body. Blood level of hematocrit, which measures the level of your blood that is made up of red blood cells can also be tested by your doctor.
What you can do: Step up to iron-rich foods such as leafy greens, beans, beef, pork, fortified cereals, and fish especially accompanied with vitamin C rich foods which encourages iron absorption. Women need 18 mg of iron a day, 8 mg after menopause; ask your doctor if you should take an iron supplement. In addition to iron, key components to prevent hair loss may include silica, biotin and L-cysteine.
Skin conditions of the scalp
An unhealthy scalp may cause hair loss due to seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff), that makes scalp to shed its skin. You will see greasy, yellowish scales on your shoulders or in your hair. It can also cause inflammation that makes it troublesome for hair to grow.
The tests: A physical analysis of the scalp will help identify the condition if you have seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, or fungal infections like ringworm. Biopsy of the scalp may be pinpointed.
What you can do: A prescribed medicated shampoo for seborrheic dermatitis or oral antifungals.
Lupus is an autoimmune disorder under which the body’s own immune system charges upon healthy tissues. The condition tends to knock women during their childbearing years. The symptoms of lupus can be noticed as oral ulcers, extreme headaches, fatigue, and swollen joints. Some people also reported to form a butterfly-shaped rash across the bridge of the nose and become more sun sensitive.
The tests: A rheumatologist will monitor joints and tissues for signs of inflammation, such as swelling, redness, heat and pain. A blood test is suggested to test levels of anti-nuclear antibodies (ANA) may also hint lupus. Skin biopsy may be conducted to determine lupus.
What you can do: Visit a rheumatologist if your hair loss co-exists with fatigue, joint pain, inflammation and other symptoms of lupus, which is well treated with oral medications such as prednisone. If you also notice a rash over your scalp, you need to consult a dermatologist, who may prescribe a topical lotion.