Hair Loss Symptoms, Causes and Treatments


By the age of 45, hair loss affects over 65% of men, and over 50% of women, respectively. It can be temporary or permanent. It can be the result of heredity, hormonal changes, medical conditions or a normal part of ageing. Anyone can lose hair on their head, but it's slightly more common in men.

Baldness typically refers to excessive hair loss from your scalp, but it can occur on any part of the body. Hereditary hair loss with age is the most common cause of baldness. Some hair loss sufferers do not seek treatment, while others may cover it up with hairstyles, makeup, hats or scarves. And then some people actually use treatments for the problem.

Symptoms for hair loss

Hair loss can either occur suddenly, or gradually, over a longer period. It really depends on the individual and the cause. The most common signs and symptoms of hair loss may include: Gradual thinning on top of head, receding at the hairline on the forehead, which is more common in men, and a broadening of the part in hair, which is more common in women.

Handfuls of hair may come out when combing or washing your hair or even after gentle tugging. This type of hair loss usually causes overall hair thinning, but is temporary. Losing up to 150 hair a day is perfectly normal, so it is not necessarily something to worry about.

Some conditions and medical treatments, such as chemotherapy for cancer, can result in the loss of hair all over your body. The hair usually grows back. Patches of scaling that spread over the scalp. This is a sign of ringworm. It may be accompanied by broken hair, redness, swelling and, at times, oozing. 

Getting medical advice about hair loss

If hair loss is concerning you, then you should see your doctor. Getting advice on the subject as early as possible will stand you in a better position to combat it. Doctor's will likely recommend treatments for your hair loss, in the form of Finasteride (for men), and Minoxidil. Both are FDA approved, but come with the risk of negative side-effects.  There are also natural solutions, which we'll get into later in this article. 

Causes of hair loss

Men and women typically lose between 100 to 150 hairs a day. However, it's not noticeable because new hair is growing in at the same time. Baldness starts occurring when the new hair doesn't replace the fallen hair.

Hair loss is typically related to one or more of the following factors:

  • Heredity (Genetics). Most hair loss sufferers have the family gene to blame. This condition is called androgenic alopecia, male-pattern baldness and female-pattern baldness. It usually occurs gradually, but it can be a quick process for some individuals — a receding hairline and bald spots in men and thinning hair along the crown of the scalp in women.
  • Hormonal changes and medical conditions. A variety of conditions can cause permanent or temporary hair loss, including hormonal changes due to pregnancy, childbirth, menopause and thyroid problems. In most cases, this is temporary, but it can lead to more severe and longer lasting issues for some sufferers.
  • Medications. Hair loss can be a side effect of certain drugs, such as those used for cancer, arthritis, depression, heart problems, gout and high blood pressure. This can be temporary, but in some cases permanent, too.
  • Stress. Many people experience a general thinning of hair several months after a physical or emotional shock. This type of hair loss is temporary. Random bald spots usually occur with stress related baldness, but they usually fill in over time.
  • Seasonal hair loss. Certain seasons can cause excess hair shedding for many men and women. Autumn and Spring are usually the most common months for seasonal hair loss, but some people suffer from it during other times of the year. This is a temporary phase of shedding, but not ideal for people who already suffer from another form of hair loss.

Genetics (male-pattern baldness and female-pattern baldness) is the most common cause of baldness. Unfortunately, this type of hair loss is not preventable. It can be treated, and even halted, but not cured.

These tips may help you avoid preventable types of hair loss:

  • Be gentle with your hair. Use a detangler and avoid tugging when brushing and combing, especially when your hair is wet. A wide-toothed comb might help prevent pulling out hair.
  • Avoid heat based styling products such as hot rollers, curling irons, hot-oil treatments and fully heated hair-dryers. 
  • Limit the tension on hair from styles that use rubber bands, barrettes and braids.
  • Protect your hair from sunlight and other sources of ultraviolet light. Use a SPF hair moisturiser, particularity during the hotter months of the year when your hair is exposed to harmful UV rays.

If you're being treated with chemotherapy, ask your doctor about a cooling cap. This cap can reduce your risk of losing hair during chemotherapy.


Treatments for hair loss

As stated earlier in this article, baldness cannot be cured. However, there are ways in which it can be treated, which can result in slowing down and even halting the process.The problem is, different treatments work varyingly from person to person. A treatment's effectiveness depends on the individual.

The most common treatments for hair loss are:

  • Finasteride (for men). Finasteride (branded as Propecia) is a medically approved treatment pill for male pattern baldness. It can prevent further baldness. However, this pill needs to be taken monthly for the rest of your life, and it can come with negative side-effects such as headaches, skin rash, low sex drive, erectile dysfunction, and mental health complications. Many men prefer not to risk it, and therefore seek safer, alternatives. 
  • Minoxidil (5% for men and 2% for women). Minoxidil (most commonly branded as Regaine/Rogaine), is medically approved topical treatment for hair loss. It can help promote hair growth, but only n a very minimal scale. Again, negative side-effects are common with this treatment, which can include skin rash, headaches, dizziness and weight gain. 
  • Hair laser comb/brush. Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) can be quite effective when used properly. LLLT is certainly no miracle cure for hair loss, but the laser comb has been signed-off by the Food and Drug Administration for both safety and effectiveness. It is cleared for hair growth and the treatment of hair loss.
  • Micro-needling (Derma roller). The derma roller can work for hair loss. It is used to puncture tiny wounds into your skin, which, when recovered, help form new hair growth. Many studies and clinical trials have shown success with individuals using a derma roller for hair loss.
  • Multi-vitamin supplements. The recommended daily value of vitamins can help to slow down hair loss. Multi-vitamin supplements offer you a safe and natural solution of tackling hair loss. They contain a host of DHT blocking properties, as well as hair growth promoters, all within a safe and natural pill. 

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