What kind of hair loss can be treated
Feb, 08 2020 | By Dr. Sangay Bhutia (Hair Transplant Specialist in Delhi)
Hair loss or alopecia is an extremely common condition; men and women across ages are all susceptible to hair loss. Hair loss is just an interruption in the hair growth cycle, which can be caused by a variety of reasons and can happen in different ways. Hair loss can be induced by unhealthy eating habits, stress, or genetics. People usually lose 50-100 strands of hair everyday, but if you are losing significantly more than that, it is a sign of alopecia. It can be damaging to a person in different ways as well. Baldness and thinning hair can change a person’s appearance and it can also lead to great psychological distress. However, the good news is there are solutions available for most kinds of hair loss.
Here are some of the most common types of hair loss and whether they can be treated, and how:
Telogen Effluvium is when a large portion of follicles enter telogen or the resting phase of the hair growth cycle. It leads to hair fall and the hair is not replaced by new hair as it should. The hair cycle has three phases: Anagen or growth phase, telogen or resting phase, and catagen or transition phase. Usually about 5-10% of a person’s hair is in telogen at a time, but in Telogen Effluvium, almost 30% goes into the resting phase.
The condition can be caused by illness, thyroid imbalance, surgery, sudden weight loss or weight gain, menopause, poor diet, or childbirth.
The cure for the condition depends on managing the triggers behind it. For instance a good diet can fix nutritional deficiencies, or counselling can help with managing stress. There is also hormone replacement therapy for menopausal women. Doctors also often ask patients to up their intake of iron and protein-rich foods, or recommend supplements, as the lack of either can induce hair loss.
An autoimmune condition, it involves the body’s immune system attacking its own healthy tissue. Healthy tissue include hair follicles, which fall out in case of Alopecia Areata and are not replaced by new hair. The condition also attacks hair on other parts of the body. It is characterised by hair fall in small patches.
The condition is usually treated using corticosteroids, which are anti-inflammatory drugs. Alopecia Areata can also be traumatic for the patients; it requires both the treatment of hair loss and addressing of the mental trauma caused to the patient.
This is caused by stress caused to hair follicles due to pulling from hairstyles like tight braids or ponytails. This can lead to thinning of hair and even bald spots. But it can easily be treated by changing into relaxed hairstyles which don’t lead to pulling of hair. But it does require immediate attention from an expert.
This condition is characterised by an irresistible urge to pull out one’s own hair. People suffering from Trichotillomania find it hard to stop pulling their hair out. It can lead to hair thinning and hair loss.
Hair loss caused by Trichotillomania can be stopped by therapy used to address the condition. Some of the treatments are: Cognitive therapy, which includes identifying beliefs which are making people pull their hair; Habit reversal training, which involves recognising situations where patients tend to pull their hair, and finding substitute behaviours. Doctors, for instance, may recommend fist clenching instead of pulling your own hair in situations which induces Trichotillomania.
Male pattern baldness or Androgenetic Alopecia is the most common kind of hair loss. It is a genetic condition and can affect people as young as in their early twenties to those in their 70s or 80s. It usually starts with hair fall at the temples and the crown, and progresses through the scalp. The main culprit behind this kind of hair loss is DHT or Dihydrotestosterone, an androgen which causes the hair follicles to miniaturise and fall out permanently. Androgenetic Alopecia can be detrimental to a person’s self image, can cause stress or depression, and even BDD or Body dysmorphic disorder. The good news is that it has a permanent solution in the form of hair transplant surgery.
For those in the early stages of hair loss, doctors recommend topical medication like finasteride (Propecia) and minoxidil (Rogaine), which are both considered helpful in arresting hair loss. However, the only permanent solution to this kind of hair loss is hair transplant, which involves taking healthy follicles from the back or sides of the head, which are resistant to DHT, and implanting them on the bald and thinning spots on the scalp. The procedure is natural, minimally invasive, and affordable.
Hair loss happens to most people, in various degrees; the important thing is to seek professional help and get behind the cause, so it can be addressed immediately.