Hair loss: symptoms, causes and treatment

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Hair loss: symptoms, causes and treatment

2024-02-28

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All of us at least once in our lives notice that we lose our hair. It’s natural to lose some hair every day as new one grows and replace them. People normally lose up to 50-100 hairs a day and usually anything to be worried about, but in some cases, this may really bother and may also be a sign of serious problems with health.


Hair loss may be temporary or permanent and may happen abruptly or develop gradually over time. Sometimes your hair just gets thinner and it does not necessarily cause baldness. So let’s see what are the main symptoms of hair loss.


What are the symptoms of hair loss?

  • You check your brush after using it and see more hair on it than normal
  • You find unusually large amounts of hair on your pillows or in the shower drains
  • You notice your hair get thinner, for example, when you tie up a ponytail
  • You have one or more bald patches you never had before
  • You notice your hairline looking higher than it was before
  • You feel your scalp skin itchy

 

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What are the causes of hair loss?

There are many possible causes of hair loss. The most common include:

 

  • Hereditary hair loss

Androgenetic alopecia that is also known as pattern alopecia is a genetic and the most common cause of hair loss, that affects up to every second person. It can be inherited from either side of the family and tends to happen gradually. Some people might experience hair loss as teens, others might notice symptoms later. It begins to recede at the temples and over time you can notice your hairline gets much higher and the crown gets more thin.  

 

  • Aging

Aging is also related to hair loss. With age, hair growth gets more slow, and some follicles even stop producing new hairs.


  • Stress

Physical or emotional stress may often cause hair to fall out. This type of hair loss is named telogen effluvium.

Some body stress, such as severe illness, infection, undergoing surgery, or childbirth can all be responsible for thinning or shedding hair.

Intense emotional stress or trauma can cause telogen effluvium as well. When you deal with some stressful events in your life like the death of a loved one, divorce, or loss of your job or house, you can experience hair loss.

You may not notice this for months after stressful experiences cause normally telogen effluvium begins 2-3 months after a triggering event.

 

  • Diet or nutrition deficiency

If you keep a crash or fad diet and lose many pounds in a short time, hair loss may be a reaction of your body to the shock. Deficiency in certain vitamins and minerals, especially protein, biotin, zinc, and iron, may lead not only to health problems but to hair loss. Shortage of vitamin D or excess of vitamin A, anorexia and bulimia are also could be reasons for negative changes in the condition of your hair.

 

  • Hormonal changes

Women often experience hair loss after pregnancy and menopause. Men also may experience hair loss due to changes in thyroid hormone levels that help regulate almost every function in our body and hair growth is no exception.

Taking hormonal birth control pills also can affect hair growth and cause hormonal changes of any kind means changes in the production of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Hormonal imbalance can disrupt the cycle of hair life and contribute to hair thinning or loss.   

 

  • Drug side effects and medical illness

Hair loss is a side effect of a number of drugs, including blood-thinning medications, birth control pills, some antidepressants, and beta and calcium channel blockers. Many medications used in cancer chemotherapy or radiation treatment can lead you to lose most or all of your hair.

Certain autoimmune diseases such as alopecia areata cause patchy hair loss. The body’s immune system begins to attack hair follicles, so hair falls out and new ones can’t grow.

Some scalp infections, traumatic alopecia, or trichotillomania may also lead to bald spots on your head or complete hair loss.  

 

  • Hairstyle and care

Dying or perm can damage your hair and over time lead to hair loss.

Hairstyles like too-tight ponytails, cornrows, or braids also can cause a type of hair loss called traction alopecia.

Other styling habits that include drying your hair using high heat or straightening or waving your hair using flat irons or hair styler can lead to breakage and thinning hair. If you apply some harsh chemicals or products on your hair and pull them tightly with some pins, bands, or clips, your follicles become damaged. Over-shampooing, hot-oil hair treatments or brushing your hair when they are wet also can cause hair to fall out. 


 

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How is hair loss treated?

Hair loss treatment depends on the cause and may include:

 

  • Healthy lifestyle and supplements

If the cause of hair loss is stress, minimizing stress can help. Good sleep, healthy food, and sport also can prevent hair loss. 

Taking supplements like vitamins can help with vitamin deficiency, which often causes hair loss. Before taking any supplement you’d better check it with the doctor.

 

  • Medications

Taking topical medications such as minoxidil (Rogaine), oral medications like finasteride (Propecia), antiandrogens, corticosteroids, antifungals or other medications can help with hair loss problems.

Topical minoxidil stimulates new hair to grow and prevents hair from thinning. Rarely but you can have side-effects like scalp irritation, redness, or facial hair growth.

Finasteride and antiandrogens help to slow the process of hair loss and boost new hair growth by not letting the body produce a hormone that destroys hair follicles. Possible side effects of taking oral medication or antiandrogens are depression, erectile dysfunction for men, and irregular menstrual periods for women.

Corticosteroids and antifungal medications help in the case of hair loss caused by an autoimmune disease or some infection as tinea capitis or scalp ringworm.

Most of the medications are only prescribed by the doctor. Before start taking any medication, you’d better to see a doctor first.

 

  • Injections

The injections such as platelet-rich plasma injections, botulinum toxin injections, or JAK inhibitors may help stimulate hair growth. The doctor does injections to thinning or bald areas to make hair regrow. This type of treatment is the most effective for alopecia areata cases.

 

  • Hair transplants

Hair transplant or hair restoration surgery is a process of taking hair follicles from one area of the scalp that is rich in hair and moving them to areas of baldness.

Hair transplantation surgery in Korea has two types: follicular unit extraction (FUE) and follicular unit transplantation (FUT). 

 

Follicular unit extraction (FUE) is a non-incisional method of hair transplantation. The surgeon separates each follicular unit one by one from the donor location.

 

Follicular unit transplantation (FUT) is an incisional method of hair transplantation. The surgeon cuts strips of tissue into follicular units and grafts them to the recipient location.

 

Both methods have their proms and coms. You could get to know which method is more appropriate in your case after having a consultation with a hair transplant specialist. Docfinderkorea will help you find the best clinic in Korea and the hair care method that makes you feel better about how you look. If you want to get a free consultation, click here. 

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