The partial or total loss of hair is called alopecia.
Hair loss usually develops gradually and may be patchy or widespread (diffuse). You lose about 100 hairs on your head every day. The average scalp contains about 100,000 hairs.
Each individual hair survives for an average of 4 years, during which grows about 1.25 cm ( inch) per month. Generally, the hair falls in its fifth year and is replaced within a period of 6 months for a new one. Genetic baldness is caused by the failure of the body to produce new hairs and not by excessive loss of these.
Both men and women the loss of hair thickness and amount tend to occur as they age. Baldness is not usually caused by disease and is related to aging, heredity and testosterone. Hereditary balding or -pattern- affects many more men than women. About 25% of men begin to bald by the age of 30 and approximately two-thirds are either bald or have a balding pattern by age 60.
The Male pattern baldness line involves a receding hairline and thinning around the crown with eventual bald spots. At last, you can have only one ring of hair in a horseshoe shape around the sides. In addition to genes, male pattern baldness seems to require the presence of the male hormone testosterone, so men who do not produce (due to genetic abnormalities or castration) do not develop this pattern of baldness. Some women also develop a pattern of particular hair loss due to genetics, age and male hormones (which tend to increase in women after menopause), but this pattern is different from men. The Female pattern baldness involves a thinning throughout the scalp while the line of frontal hairline generally remains intact. Causes
A physical or emotional stress can cause sudden drop in half to three quarters of the hair throughout the scalp (called telogen effluvium). You will notice hair coming out in handfuls while you shampoo, comb or run your hands through his hair. You may not notice this for weeks to months after the episode of stress. The hair shedding will decrease by 6 to 8 months.
The causes of this type of hair loss are:
High fever or severe infection Delivery Major surgery, serious illness, sudden bleeding Severe emotional stress Crash diets, especially those that do not contain enough protein Many medications, including retinoids, birth control pills, beta blockers, certain antidepressants, NSAIDs (including ibuprofen) and blockers of calcium channel Some women from 30 to 60 may notice hair thinning affects the entire scalp. Hair loss may be heavy at first, and then slow or stop gradually. There is no known cause for this type of hair loss.
Other causes of hair loss, especially if it is an unusual pattern, include:
Alopecia areata: Patches of baldness that occur in the scalp, beard, and possibly, eyebrows. Eyelashes may fall. Autoimmune disorders such as lupus Burns Certain infectious diseases such as syphilis Excessive shampooing and hair Thyroid Disease Nervous habits such as hair pulling continuously or scalp rubbing Radiotherapy Tinea capitis (Ringworm of the scalp) Tumor of the ovary or adrenal glands Home Care
Hair loss due to menopause or childbirth often returns to normal 6 months to 2 years later.
When hair loss is caused by disease (such as fever), radiotherapyBy the use of drugs or other causes, no treatment is required, because the hair will grow back when the illness has ended or the therapy is finished. In the meantime, you can use a wig, hat or other covering until the hair grows back.
Hair extensions, hairpieces, or change of hairstyle may disguise hair loss. Generally, this method is the least expensive and safest approach to hair loss. Hair pieces should not be sutured to the scalp because of the risk of scarring and infection.
Call your healthcare provider
Call your doctor if:
You are losing hair in an atypical pattern. You are losing hair rapidly or at an early age (for example, in the teenage years or between 20 and 30). You have any pain or itching with hair loss. The skin of the scalp under the involved area is red, scaly, or otherwise abnormal. Presents acne, facial hair or menstrual irregularities. You are a woman and have male pattern baldness. You have bald spots on your beard or eyebrows. Has been gaining weight or have muscle weakness, intolerance to cold temperatures, or fatigue. What to expect at the doctor’s office
A medical history and careful physical examination of the hair and scalp are usually enough to diagnose the nature of hair loss.
The doctor will ask detailed questions such as:
Are you losing hair only from your scalp or other parts of the body? Do you have a pattern for hair loss, as a line of receding hairline, thinning hair or bald areas on the crown or hair loss occurs throughout the head? Have you had a recent illness or high fever? Do you dye your hair? How often? How often? How often do you wash your hair with shampoo? What kind of shampoo, hair spray, gel or other product applied to the hair? Have you been under unusual stress lately? Do you have nervous habits that include hair pulling or rubbing your scalp? Do you have other symptoms like itching, flaking, or redness of the scalp? What medications you take, including prescription medicines? Tests that may be (but rarely needed) include:
Microscopic examination of plucked hair Skin biopsy (If there are changes in the skin) It is possible that ringworm the scalp may require the use of an oral drug, such as griseofulvin. Creams and lotions applied to the affected areas may not get into the hair follicles to kill the fungus.
Alopecia areata Female pattern baldness Male pattern baldness Alternative Names
Alopecia, Baldness, Hair loss, telogen effluvium
Hair diseases. In: Habif TP, ed. Clinical Dermatology. 4th ed. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby, 2004: chap 24.
Diseases of the hair. In: Rakel P, ed. Conn -S Current Therapy 2008. 57th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: WB Saunders, 2008: chap 195.