A healthy person loses 50 to 100 strands of hair normally. But it a concern if you see bald patches and excessive thinning of hair.Hair loss is termed as alopecia. In males, the term baldness is commonly referred. Excessive hair loss lead to baldness.There are many causes of baldness.Hereditary hair loss is the primary reason of baldness. Hair loss is usually in patches in circular patterns, dandruff, skin lesions, and scarring in males.
HAIR LOSS CAUSES
Male-pattern baldness is generally hereditary. It is caused by genes and male sex hormones that cause oversensitive hair follicle that leads to a receding hairline, thinning of the hair on the crown and temples, leaving M-shaped hairline around the sides of the head. Male-pattern baldness is common and affects two out of three men by 50 years of age.But it can start earlier in men in thirties also.
Hair loss in females can also lead to female-pattern baldness. It may not be complete baldness or male like baldness, but it is thinning of hair on top and crown of the hair.
2. Lack of protein
Hair is made up keratin which is a protein. So protein is essential for hair growth. If there is less intake of protein in your diet, then you will suffer from hair loss.There are many sources of protein like eggs, fish, meat, etc. But if you are a vegetarian then milk, green leafy vegetables, pulses you can include in your diet.
Too much of intake of vitamin A can cause hair loss. Drugs that are used for cancer, arthritis, depression, heart problems, high blood pressure and birth control also causes hair loss.
Mental stress can also cause hair loss. Depression due to any reason like divorce or death of a loved one or loss of property can lead to hair loss.
5. Medical causes
Diseases like thyroid, anemia, protein deficiency and low vitamin levels may cause hair loss. Pregnancy and menopause can also cause hair loss. Diseases like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and skin ailments like psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis also causes hair loss.Other reasons for hair loss are physical trauma like surgery or acute illness or drastic loss in weight.
5. Autoimmune related hair loss
This is called alopecia areata and is a result of an overactive immune system.The immune system finds hair as a foreign body and targets it.This leads to hair loss.
6. Overstyling and hair treatment
Too much styling and hair treatments over the years can cause hair fall.Tight braids, corn rows or hair weaves as well as chemical relaxers to straighten your hair can damage your hair.These treatments affect the hair root, resulting in hair loss.Shampooing too often, bleaching, and dyeing hair can cause thinning by making hair weak and brittle.
It is very common for men as well as women to lose hair when they enter in their 50s and 60s.
Hair loss can be caused by hormonal disbalance in both men and women. Abnormal production of androgens commonly male hormone but can be secreted by females also causes hair loss.
HAIR LOSS TREATMENT
Medications for male pattern hair loss
Treatments for the male pattern hair loss is not so useful but can be successful in some males. Three types of medications are known to male pattern baldness.These are finasteride, dutasteride, and minoxidil. They are useful in preventing further hair loss.
1. Minoxidil (Rogaine)
It is a medication available from pharmacies without prescription and is very effective for male pattern baldness and alopecia areata. It is in a form of liquid or foam, which is to be rubbed into the scalp every day twice. It helps in preventing further hair loss.But not many people have their hair growth after using it. It takes more than six months for hair to regrow.A minoxidil foam is available without propylene glycol for those who are allergic to propylene glycol. Minoxidil is either in 5% or 2% contained in the medication.5% may be more efficient in some males but may cause side effects like dryness or itchiness.
It is available in a pill form; that is to be taken every day. It is not recommended for women and strictly not allowed for pregnant women.Hair growth starts in 6 weeks.It helps in increase in hair retention and it’s volume. Side effects include decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction, and ejaculatory dysfunction.But very few men are affected by its side effects.This medication should be continued a regular basis as if medication is discontinued hair loss is resumed.
Finasteride is available on prescription from your GP. It prevents the male hormone testosterone being converted to the hormone dihydrotestosterone(DHT).DHT causes shrinkage of hair follicles, thus causing hair loss. But with the use of this drug prevents hair follicles to shrink and help in regrowth of hair.
It is also available as a tablet which is to be taken every day as prescribed by your doctor. It has the same function as that of finasteride and can cause side effects like decreased sex drive.
Medication for female pattern baldness
1. Minoxidil (Rogaine) 5% or 2% is also suitable for females who are suffering from hair loss. It is in a foam and is to be used daily.You have to be patient as it gives result in 4 to 6 months.
2. Prescribed medications: Some prescribed antiandrogen medications are helpful in hair growth in females.They inhibit male hormones that cause hair loss.Finasteride, a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor is prescribed to women who are heading to menopause because it can cause birth defect in young women. It blocks an enzyme that regulates the production of androgen.Thus, help in hair regrowth. Aldactone / Spironolactone is an antiandrogen that slows down the production of androgens in the adrenal glands and ovaries. Other drugs are Tagamet / Cimetidine that slows down production of androgen and thus helps in hair regrowth.