Real Answers To Real Questions About Hair Loss
Hair loss in both men and women is sometimes due to disease.
Hair loss can occur with excessive weight gain or loss in a short period of time or when recovering from a high fever.
Hair loss may occur when taking anti-cancer medications.
Anemia due to lack of iron, can cause some hair loss.
Hair loss can result from an over-or under-productive thyroid gland.
In general, though, most cases of hair loss are not due to an illness or a medical condition.
Male pattern baldness affects over 20 million men in the United States. One in four men begins to go bald by age thirty. By age sixty, 2 out of 3 men are bald.
Hair has a limited life span. The normal growing phase of a hair follicle can last up to 5 years before the hair is dislodged by new hair growth. In male pattern baldness, when a hair falls out, a new one does not start to grow. This usually happens above the forehead, giving the familiar receding hairline look. It also happens at the crown of the head. Over time, the bald spots increase in size until the entire top of the head is bald and there is only hair on the sides of the head.
The severity and nature of hair loss can vary greatly; it ranges from male and female pattern alopecia (androgenetic alopecia, androgenic alopecia, or alopecia androgenetica), and alopecia areata, which involves the loss of some of the hair on the head, and alopecia totalis, which involves the loss of all head hair, to the most extreme form, alopecia universalis, which involves the loss of all hair from the head and the body.
If you have sudden hair loss, especially if you notice lots of hair on your pillow when you get up in the morning, contact your primary healthcare provider for a checkup. Health insurance does not usually cover most treatments for hair loss.
Hair Loss Myths
“You inherit baldness from your mother’s father”
Previously, early hair loss of the androgenic type was thought to be sex linked dominant in males and to be sex linked recessive in females. Research suggests that the gene for the androgen receptor, which is significant in determining probability for hair loss, is located on the X chromosome and so is always inherited from the mother’s side. There is a 50% chance that a person shares the same X chromosome as their maternal grandfather. Because women have two X chromosomes, they have two copies of the androgen receptor gene while men only have one. However research has also shown that a person with a balding father also has a significantly greater chance of experiencing hair loss.
“Baldness can be caused by emotional stress, sexual frustration etc.”
Emotional stress has been shown to accelerate hair loss in genetically susceptible individuals. Stress due to sleep deprivation in some studies, lowered testosterone levels, but is not noted to have effected sex hormone binding gobulin SHBG.
Thus, stress due to sleep deprivation in fit males is unlikely to elevate DHT, which causes male pattern baldness. Whether it can cause hair loss by some other mechanism is not clear.
“Bald men are more “virile” or sexually active than others”
Levels of free testosterone are strongly linked to libido and also DHT levels, but unless free testosterone is virtually non-existent, levels have not been shown to affect virility. Men with androgenic alopecia are more likely to have a higher baseline of free androgens. However sexual activity is multifactoral, and androgenic profile is also not the only determining factor in baldness. Additionally, because hair loss is progressive and free testosterone declines with age, a person’s hairline may be more indicative of their past than present disposition.
“Frequent Ejaculation Causes Baldness”
There are many misconceptions about what can help prevent hair loss, one of these being that frequent ejaculation may have an influence on male pattern baldness (MPB). Ejaculation significantly lowers levels of relaxin in a male’s body. Depending on frequency, it can raise or lower plasma testosterone. The claim that frequent ejaculations can cause baldness is often viewed with skepticism.
“Standing on One’s Head Alleviates Baldness”
The blood-flow theory, which led men to stand on their heads in the 1980s, can be found in the advertising for many of the fake hair loss treatments for sale. While Minoxidil is a vasodilator and is speculated to work, in part by increasing blood flow to hair follicles, there is no evidence that standing on one’s head can alleviate baldness.
“Tight Hats Cause Baldness”
This one probably started in the military where young men entering the service were required to wear hats and soon showed signs of going bald, or at least of hair thinning. This is due to coincidental timing. The age that young men enter the military is also the same age that male pattern hair loss begins.
“Shaving hair makes it grow back stronger”
Proposed as a popular remedy against hair loss, it is very probably just an illusion similar to the one perceived after shaving one’s beard or mustache. Shaving one’s head doesn’t increase the number of healthy hair present on the scalp, and after the remaining hair has grown a few millimeters, no enhancement in thickness or overall quality can be observed.
There are 2 medications approved to treat hair loss. The first is minoxidil (brand name Rogaine) which is applied directly to the scalp. It helps slow the balding in most men. In about 10 percent of men, it makes a dramatic difference and starts new hair growth. It may work best in men in their twenties and thirties who are just beginning to bald. It may take as long as a year to find out how well this medication works. If treatment is stopped, hair loss will begin again.
The second medication is finasteride, which is taken orally. Finasteride (brand name Propecia) blocks the action of a form of testosterone that appears to cause hair loss. It stops hair loss in over 80 percent of men, and starts new hair growth in about 50 percent. It may take up to a year to see results. Hair growth stops and balding resumes if the finasteride is discontinued.
The Laser Comb is the only drug-free product meant for home use in combating hair loss that’s won the endorsement of the Food and Drug Administration. As the device’s name suggests, it combines a low-level laser with a comb. When drawn through the hair, the laser strikes the scalp to promote hair growth.
With advancing age, hair naturally becomes finer and shorter. As hair thins, it becomes flatter and oilier. Excessive oil clogs pores and causes malnutrition of the hair root. This can perpetuate hair loss. Most healthcare providers agree that if you have an oily scalp with thinning hair, frequent shampooing is advised.
Other medical options are the punch graft hair transfer, which takes little tufts of hair from the back of the head and moves them to the front or top of the scalp. Scalp reduction is a surgical approach where the surgeon actually moves the back of the scalp up to the crown of the head.
The most popular non-medical option is a hairpiece.
Hair Loss In Women
Hair loss in women is a stressful situation that can include a self-esteem issue and depression, which in itself could contribute to female hair loss.
It could be something as simple as changing the shampoo you’re using, or changing your diet and working on a fitness routine.
Normal hair growth depends on a lot of factors including good blood circulation to the scalp and healthy hair follicles.
Female hair loss can also be attributed to:
·Over or Underactive Thyroid
·Medicines to Treat Heart Problems, High Blood Pressure, Depression, Birth Control, Blood Thinners etc.
Hairstyles and treatments can also be a factor in female hair loss.
Chemicals used in permanents and hot oil treatments can contribute to hair loss.
Diseases like lupus, diabetes or some other health condition could be factors in female hair loss.
Therefore contacting a qualified health professional for an informed diagnosis should be your first step in dealing with a hair loss problem. They can get you started on the proper protocol to get your situation under control.
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