You notice it happening gradually. More hair comes off your head and ends up on the hair brush, and on the bathroom floor after a shampoo. In the beginning, you brush off (no pun intended) the problem, but there comes a time when you can’t avoid noticing your once crowning glory has started to thin out and lose its lustre.
People tend to initially cover hair loss with different hairstyles or hair partings, caps or scarves, and only see the doctor when alopecia becomes apparent.
COMMON CAUSES OF HAIR LOSS:
Hereditary hair loss (androgenic alopecia) is the most common form of baldness and is related to aging. In simple terms this means that if your father and his forefathers suffered from baldness, chances are that you will also inherit the same fate. However, if the males in your mother’s side don’t suffer from hair loss, there is a good chance you may not go bald.
For women, hormonal changes during pregnancy or menopause, can cause temporary or permanent hair loss.
- Medically caused hair loss
Some strong medical treatments like chemotherapy or radiotherapy can cause hair loss all over the patient’s body. Once treatment is over, the hair usually grows back as normal in most cases.
- Thyroid problems
Severe and untreated hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can cause hair loss along the entire scalp. Reversal of hair loss is usually successful if the thyroid condition is attended to, though the process will take time and regrowth may not be fully complete.
- Hair pulling disorder
Trichotillomania is the irresistible urge to pull out one’s own hair. It leaves the scalp with bald spots which causes further distress, especially socially. This is a mental health disorder and needs professional help to overcome.
- Hairstyles and hair treatments
Too much of a good thing has bad effects. The same goes for excessive, not to mention expensive, hair treatments, hairstyling or pulling hair back into ponytails, all of which can cause traction alopecia. Hot hair treatments and long-term usage of hair dyes can cause hair to fall out.
SYMPTOMS OF ALOPECIA:
Do look out for the following symptoms of alopecia:
- Gradual thinning on the top
This normally happens as both men and women age. Men will notice a receding hairline starting from the forehead. Women will notice their hair parting broaden, or a receding hairline as well.
- Patchy bald spots on the scalp
Sometimes hair loss appears in the form of patchy bald spots on the scalp. Similar hair loss spots can also be seen on the eyebrows or in men’s beards.
- Hair falls out easily
Sometimes an emotional or physical shock can make the hair loosen at the roots, and quite a bit of hair comes off easily during a hair wash, when combing through or even gentle tugging. Don’t fret even more, as this is a temporary issue and will stop when you recover from the shock.
- Ringworm infection
Noticeable scaly patches are a sign of ringworm infection. Ringworm is a fungal infection that shows up as irregularly shaped circles on the head, which are itchy.
People who find they are starting to lose more hair than usual should consult a medical practitioner first, especially if they have underlying medical conditions. Women may lose hair at childbirth or on the onset of menopause and should also consult a medical practitioner for further advice.
Prevention of hair loss:
It is important to note that hair loss due to hereditary is not preventable. But this article shares some tips that may help to reduce hair loss:
- Be gentle with your crowning glory
Use proper hair tools for your specific hair type, e.g., use a wide toothed comb to detangle wet hair. Avoid tugging your hair and frequently bunching it up into a tight ponytail.
Frequent usage of a hair dryer, especially with hot air, makes the hair dry and brittle. The same goes for hot hair treatments, permanents, hair straighteners and hair curlers.
- Protect your hair
Use a hat, cap or scarf when going out to protect your hair from sunlight and UV light.
- See your doctor
Your doctor will be able to assess if the medications and supplements you currently take are linked to your hair loss.
Ask your doctor for a cooling cap if you need to undergo chemotherapy, as this cap can reduce hair loss.
There are a lot of “hair restoration” saloons out there that offer miracle cures for hair loss at fancy prices. The worst thing that can happen is total hair loss from wrong treatments, as damage done is normally irreversible.
Therefore, it is important for an initial consultation with a qualified medical practitioner first, as your doctor will be able to diagnose, offer medical advice and suggest options for hair loss treatment for you to follow up on, which are specifically based on your type of hair loss and hair type.
24th June 19:40