Although many jokes are made about hair loss, it is no laughing matter. Losing hair is frightening and, for many, a blow to their self-confidence. What can be done about hair loss?
First, it is important to understand that there are many causes for hair loss. Usually, hairs are constantly being shed and new hairs grown. However, if the cells in the scalp that normally produce hairs, do not live through their normal cycle, new hairs are not grown in sufficient quantities to replace the hairs being shed. So far science has not developed ways to insure the health of these hair-growing cells so that they can live through their normal life cycle, and so what is known as male-pattern baldness goes on unchecked. Male-pattern baldness can start as early as the late teens. Female-pattern baldness has much the same cause but appears as a general thinning of the hair all over the scalp, rather than the male’s receding forehead.
There are other significant causes of hair loss, some temporary, and some permanent. The most common cause of temporary hair loss is chemotherapy. This loss is initially devastating, but the hair usually grows back normally when treatments are discontinued. Some scalp infections can cause temporary or even permanent loss of hair, over parts or all of the body. Some women experience temporary hair loss during pregnancy. Others find their hair thins when they take certain forms of birth control. Many older women experience thinning of the hair when they enter menopause.
Some illnesses and drugs cause hair loss. Both thyroid disease and syphilis can cause thinning or loss of hair. Drugs that may cause hair loss include some prescribed for heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and depression. A poor diet with insufficient protein and iron, excessive worry, extreme dieting, severe shock, and protracted illnesses, can also cause hair loss.
Heredity may also play a part in your hair loss, though it is seldom the whole answer.
With so many factors involved in hair loss, it is essential to know what is causing your particular hair loss, and what you can do about it.
To find out what causes your hair loss, start with a visit to your family physician. After examining you thoroughly, he/she may have an answer, or he may want to do some tests to rule out disease or infection as possible causes. He may also do a biopsy, removing a very small piece of scalp for further examination. Your doctor will prescribe the treatment he considers best to treat you particular cause of hair loss. If he finds that your hair loss is primarily due to pattern baldness, he may suggest a medications.
There are only two medications approved by the United States Food And Drug Administration for treating hair loss. One of these may be useful for women and the second may be useful for male-pattern baldness. These are the medications your physician will suggest, if he feels they are appropriate for you. Even these medications is not effective in all cases. They may slow hair loss and in some cases seem promote regrowth.
There are many other products on the market which claim to stop hair loss. If you are tempted to try these, do ask your doctor’s opinion first. Many of these treatments only provide false hope and a basically a wast of money.
Your doctor may inform you that your hair loss is unquestionably permanent, and this may be a hard pill to swallow. There are products that will fluff up the hair to make it look thicker, conditioners and sprays to improve the appearance of your hair, wigs and wiglets to fill in empty areas, and then there are the surgical procedures that plant plugs of hair from the back of your scalp to the problem areas, or fold the scalp to lessen the bald areas. These procedures are expensive.
A full head of healthy hair is wonderful to have, but it will not bring you happiness. You can make your own happiness by using what still remains deep under that once thick crop.