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Hair Loss: Signs and Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Risk Factors, & Prevention

Whether you are male or female, hair loss can be a devastating reality. It can affect your scalp only, entire body, and is sometimes linked to medications, medical issues, heredity, or changes in hormone balance. While either sex can experience hair loss, men tend to suffer from this condition more.

Whether you noticed that you are losing hair on your scalp, or throughout your entire body, being tuned into the symptoms of hair loss is a must so you can approach your family physician for treatment options. Below are some signs and symptoms of hair loss.

Signs and Symptoms

Depending on the root of the cause, hair loss can come in different ways. Sometimes it’s sudden; sometimes it’s gradual; in some cases, it only affect’s a person’s scalp; for others, it can be the entire body. Some types of hair loss are permanent, while others can simply be temporary.

The key signs and symptoms of hair loss include:

Gradual Thinning Of The Scalp

As the most common type of hair loss, this mostly affects men, but can occur to women as well, during the aging process. For men, there will be a gradual receding of the hair line at the forehead; while females generally see thinning occur at the top of their scalp when parting their hair.

Loss In Circular Patches

Some people will notice circular bald-spot patches. While this generally only affects the scalp, some individuals will notice these bald patches within eyebrows and beards. Some experience pain or itchiness in this area before the hair comes out.

Sudden Hair Loss

Sometimes people suddenly lose their hair due to an emotional or physical shock. Literally, handfuls of hair may come out when washing or brushing your hair after a mere tug.

 

Hair Loss Within The Body

Some individuals will lose hair all over their body due to medical treatments. A fine example of this is chemotherapy. Most times, the hair will grow back after time.

Scaly Patches Over The Scalp

This type of hair loss is a result of ringworm. Other signs and symptoms include: swelling, redness, and sometimes oozing. Broken hair will accompany these symptoms.

 

It is imperative to book an appointment with your doctor if you are concerned over hair loss and looking for treatment options. Sudden or patchy hair loss can be linked to other medical issues that may need to be further looked into.

Causes

It’s not uncommon for an individual to lose about one hundred hairs daily. This type of hair loss isn’t noticeable as new hair grows in to replace the old. Significant hair loss happens when hair growth and shedding is interfered with or when the hair follicle is damaged and scar tissue replaces it.

Hair loss can be linked to:

  • Family history
  • Hormonal changes (child birth, thyroid issues, menopause)
  • Medical conditions (alopecia areata, scalp infections like ring worm, and hair-pulling disorders such as trichotillomania)
  • Side effects from medications and supplements
  • Radiation therapy (i.e. chemotherapy). The hair will grow back, but it may not be the same as it was before
  • Stress over an emotional or physical shock
  • Hair treatments and styles

Treatment

Treatment options are vast for hair loss, and vary depending on the root cause of your hair loss. If you are experiencing hair loss due to a medical condition, then treatment would center around the health concern at hand, versus the hair loss. If you are losing hair over a medication or supplement, talk to your doctor about alternative options.

However, for those who are experiencing hair loss due to hormonal changes, family history, hair styles gone wrong, there are some FDA-approved treatments available to help with regrowth, including shampoos, conditions, and vitamins. There are also medications available to help slow down the hair-loss process. Your family doctor can shed light and provide additional information on all the treatment options available to you that best fits your hair loss situation and lifestyle.

There are also a variety of cosmetic treatment options for those suffering with scalp hair loss. They include:

Hair-Fiber Powders

These are powered fiber sprinkles that are colored and are offered on the retail market to hit balding regions within your scalp. With unique properties they attach to a person’s hair to offer a fuller appearance.

Hairpieces

Wigs, weaves, and extensions are a great way to battle the fight against hair loss and offers many of those who suffer from hair loss a renewed sense of confidence. There is a vast array of different products and styles to meet just about everyone’s needs and preferences these days.

Surgery/Hair Transplants

Surgical procedures around hair restoration offer a long-term solution to the issue of hair loss. People can go the hair transplant route – gathering hair from the back of the head and placing it to the front; or scalp reduction, which entails cutting at the bald regions of the head to stitch the rest together. Hair restoration procedures have come a long way over the years and today can produce very natural-looking results.

Laser Devices

Lower-level hair laser devices can be used to fight the battle of hair loss. FDA-approved, these can be used at home, and without a doctor’s prescription. They do vary in price, with some costing anywhere from $50 to $1,000. They are available in comb, hats, or helmet forms.

Risk factors

While there’s nothing you can do to avoid hair loss, there are some factors that increase one’s risk. They include:

  • Family history
  • Age
  • Medical conditions (i.e. ring worm, diabetes, alopecia areata, and lupus)
  • Losing a significant amount of weight
  • Stress

Prevention

While those who suffer from hair loss genetics can’t do too much to prevent the condition, as well as those who have specific medical conditions where hair loss is a sign or symptom, there are some tips below that can help others to avoid excessive hair loss in general.

  • Try and avoid doing your hair up in tight hairstyles (i.e. buns, braids, or tight ponytails)
  • Refrain from compulsively pulling, twisting, or rubbing your hair
  • Be gentle with your hair when brushing or washing it. Try and use a comb with wide teeth to avoid any unnecessary pulling on your hair
  • Prevent any regular harsh treatments on your hair like flat irons, hot rollers, permanents, or hot oil treatments
  • Look into any medications or supplements that you are using and re-evaluate the side effects. Is hair loss one of them? Could there be an alternative option that you could take instead?
  • Research has revealed a link between smoking and hair loss in men. If you smoke, consider quitting. Ask your doctor for some advice and strategies around this
  • For those who are dealing with chemotherapy, inquire about a cooling cap, as this can decrease your risk around losing your hair

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