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Hair Loss in Men and Women (Alopecia)

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Hair loss facts

  • Hair loss is a very common condition and affects most people at some time in their lives.
  • Androgenetic hair loss is seen in both men and women but is worse in men.
  • Health issues like thyroid disease, anemia, and low vitamin levels may cause hair loss.
  • Alopecia areata is a very common, coin-shaped temporary hair loss patch that usually resolves on its own.
  • Medications for hair regrowth include minoxidil (Rogaine), finasteride (Propecia), and dutasteride (Avodart).
  • Prevention includes good hair hygiene, regular shampooing, and good nutrition.
  • Medical health screening for hair loss may include blood tests such as complete blood count (CBC), iron level, vitamin B, and thyroid function tests (TFT).

What are causes of hair loss?

Because there are so many types of scalp hair loss, determining the precise cause of hair loss in an individual can be challenging. . This article will cover the most common causes. The medical term for hair loss is alopecia.

Most hair loss is not associated with systemic or internal disease, nor is poor diet a frequent factor. Hair may simply thin as a result of predetermined genetic factors, family history, and the overall aging process. Many men and women may notice a mild and often normal physiologic thinning of hair starting in their thirties and forties. Other times, normal life variations including temporary severe stress, illness, nutritional changes, and hormonal changes like those in pregnancy, puberty, and menopause may cause a reversible hair loss.

Several health conditions, including thyroid disease and iron deficiency anemia, can cause hair loss. While thyroid blood tests and other lab tests, including a complete blood count (CBC), on people who have ordinary hair loss are usually normal, it is important to exclude underlying causes in sudden or severe hair loss. If you are concerned about some other underlying health issues, you may start by seeing your family physician, internist, or gynecologist for basic health screening. Dermatologists are doctors who specialize in problems of skin, hair, and nails and may provide more advanced diagnosis and treatment of hair thinning and loss. Sometimes a scalp biopsy may be taken to help in diagnosis of severe or unexplained hair loss.

Although many medications list "hair loss" among their potential side effects, most drugs are not likely to induce hair loss. On the other hand, with cancer treatments and immune suppression medications, hair loss is a very common side effect. Complete hair loss often occurs after a course of major chemotherapy for cancer. Usually, hair regrows after six to 12 months.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/24/2014

Patient Comments

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Hair Loss - Treatments Question: What hair loss treatments have worked well for you?
Hair Loss - Age and Pattern Question: How old were you when you first experienced hair loss? How would you describe or classify the pattern?
Hair Loss - Vitamins Question: What vitamins do you take for hair loss? Have you noticed an improvement since taking them?
Hair Loss - Options Question: What optional treatments have you tried for your hair loss? Are you happy with the results?
Hair Loss - Telogen Effuvium Question: Describe your experience with telogen effuvium, including the suspected cause for your "sudden" hair loss.
Hair Loss - Women Question: If you are a woman, describe your experience with hair loss, including any treatments.
Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/hair_loss/article.htm

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