[bt_quote style="box" width="0"] Anyone can be confident with a full head of hair. But a confident bald man - there's your diamond in the rough. [/bt_quote] [bt_accordion width="0" active_first="yes" icon="plus-square-1"] [bt_spoiler title="Definition" icon="list"] Hair loss can affect just your scalp or your entire body. It can be the result of heredity, hormonal changes, medical conditions or medications. Anyone — men, women and children — can experience hair loss.
Baldness typically refers to excessive hair loss from your scalp. Hereditary hair loss with age is the most common cause of baldness. Some people prefer to let their baldness run its course untreated and unhidden. Others may cover it up with hairstyles, makeup, hats or scarves. And still others choose one of the treatments available to prevent further hair loss and to restore growth.
Before pursuing hair loss treatment, talk with your doctor about the cause of the hair loss and the best treatment options. [/bt_spoiler] [bt_spoiler title="Symptoms" icon="list"] Hair loss can appear in many different ways, depending on what's causing it. It can come on suddenly or gradually and affect just your scalp or your whole body. Some types of hair loss are temporary, and others are permanent.
Signs and symptoms of hair loss may include:
-- Gradual thinning on top of head. This is the most common type of hair loss, affecting both men and women as they age. In men, hair often begins to recede from the forehead in a line that resembles the letter M. Women typically retain the hairline on the forehead but have a broadening of the part in their hair.
-- Circular or patchy bald spots. Some people experience smooth, coin-sized bald spots. This type of hair loss usually affects just the scalp, but it sometimes also occurs in beards or eyebrows. In some cases, your skin may become itchy or painful before the hair falls out.
-- Sudden loosening of hair. A physical or emotional shock can cause hair to loosen. 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 and not bald patches.
-- Full-body hair loss. 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.
[/bt_spoiler] [bt_spoiler title=" Causes " icon="list"] Most people normally shed 50 to 100 hairs a day. This usually doesn't cause noticeable thinning of scalp hair because new hair is growing in at the same time. Hair loss occurs when this cycle of hair growth and shedding is disrupted or when the hair follicle is destroyed and replaced with scar tissue.
The exact cause of hair loss may not be fully understood, but it's usually related to one or more of the following factors:
-- Family history (heredity)
-- Hormonal changes
-- Medical conditions
-- Medications [/bt_spoiler] [bt_spoiler title=" Risk Factors" icon="list"] A number of factors can increase your risk of hair loss, including:
-- Family history
-- Poor nutrition
-- Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes and lupus
[/bt_spoiler] [bt_spoiler title=" Preparing for your appointment" icon="list"] You're likely to first bring your concerns to the attention of your family doctor. He or she may refer you to a doctor who specializes in the treatment of skin problems (dermatologist).
What you can do
-- List key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
-- Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements that you're taking.
-- List questions to ask your doctor.
Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. For hair loss, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
-- What is likely causing my symptoms or condition?
-- Are there other possible causes for my symptoms or condition?
-- What kinds of tests do I need?
-- Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?
-- What is the best course of action?
-- Will my hair grow back? How long will it take?
-- Are there any restrictions that I need to follow?
-- Should I see a specialist? What will that cost, and will my insurance cover seeing a specialist?
-- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing me?
-- Do you have any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me?
-- What websites do you recommend?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:
-- When did you first begin experiencing hair loss?
-- Has your hair loss been continuous or occasional?
-- Have you noticed poor hair growth? hair breakage? hair shedding?
-- Has your hair loss been patchy or overall?
-- Have you had a similar problem in the past?
-- Has anyone in your immediate family experienced hair loss?
-- What medications or supplements do you take regularly?
-- What, if anything, seems to improve your hair loss?
-- What, if anything, appears to worsen your hair loss?
[/bt_spoiler] [bt_spoiler title="Tests and Dignosis" icon="list"] Before making a diagnosis, your doctor will likely give you a physical exam and ask about your medical history and family history. He or she may also perform tests, such as the following:
Blood test. This may help uncover medical conditions related to hair loss, such as thyroid disease.
Pull test. Your doctor gently pulls several dozen hairs to see how many come out. This helps determine the stage of the shedding process.
Scalp biopsy. Your doctor scrapes samples from the skin or from a few hairs plucked from the scalp to examine the hair roots. This can help determine whether an infection is causing hair loss.
Light microscopy. Your doctor uses a special instrument to examine hairs trimmed at their bases. Microscopy helps uncover possible disorders of the hair shaft.
[/bt_spoiler] [bt_spoiler title="Prevention" icon="list"] These tips may help you avoid preventable types of hair loss:
-- Eat a nutritionally balanced diet.
-- Avoid tight hairstyles, such as braids, buns or ponytails.
-- Avoid compulsively twisting, rubbing or pulling your hair.
-- Treat your hair gently when washing and brushing. A wide-toothed comb may help prevent pulling out hair.
-- Avoid harsh treatments such as hot rollers, curling irons, hot oil treatments and permanents. [/bt_spoiler] [/bt_accordion]
Anyone can be confident with a full head of hair. But a confident bald man - there's your diamond in the rough.