Treating Hair Loss
By stephanie mcintyre
Many people who suffer with hair loss can be helped. This is especially true for those not experiencing male or female pattern baldness: for whom hair loss is symptomatic of some other problem. If your hair is shedding excessively after brushing and combing, or it's getting progressively thinner, a visit to a physician or dermatologist may be in order for you.
Hair loss is not a minor or trivial matter for most people. We assign a great deal of importance to our hair, and its loss is, for many of us, a direct threat to our self-esteem and happiness. So when we find ourselves losing hair, it's worthwhile to get at the root problem, and find some way to remedy it.
A qualified dermatologist can make a full assessment of our hair loss dilemma by asking pertinent questions about lifestyle and habits. This will include questions about general health, diet, hair care habits, family hair history, and any medications or supplements taken. The evaluation will also involve a close examination of the scalp and hair. Blood or other physical tests may be required, as well. The examination will be as extensive as need be to accurately determine the cause, and any subsequent treatment that may be needed.
Hair follicles produce or grow hair during the follicle's growth phase. Only about 90 percent of the hair on the scalp is growing at any one time. After this growth phase, the follicle will enter its rest phase and stop growing for about 2 or 3 months. After this period, the hair in that follicle is shed, a new hair replaces it, and the growth phase re-starts for about 2 to 6 years.
There are many causes for hair loss other than hereditary pattern baldness, and a thorough evaluation is the best way to find out. Causes such as disease, hair care habits, cosmetics, hormonal imbalances and diet can best be determined this way.
Here are some of the causes and treatments of hair loss:
Ringworm is a contagious fungal infection (which has nothing to do with worms) that can affect various parts of the body including the scalp, nails, and feet. The name comes from the red ring that forms on the skin of an infected person. Ringworm of the scalp starts as small scaly patches that spread and result in hair loss. It's transmitted by direct contact with an infected person, or by contact with something an infected person has touched. It can be cured with anti-fungal medications.
Traction alopecia and trichotillomania are two forms of hair pulling that can result in hair loss. Hairstyles that are overly tight can lead to traction alopecia and the loss of hair, particularly along the sides of the head. Tight braids or ponytails are often the culprits. Trichotillomania occurs when a person habitually twists or pulls the hair. Obviously the answer to either of these problems is to cease the activity causing it. Don't make hairstyles too tight and don't twist or pull the hair. In the case of trichotillomania, it may be necessary to seek help from a mental health professional if the habit can't be stopped without doing so.
Illness and surgery can also cause hair loss. Occasionally, about one to three months after major surgery, a person may shed hair for a while. This condition will usually correct itself. Some illnesses like severe flu's and infections can cause thinning when the illness causes hair to enter the rest phase. This also usually corrects itself. Those with chronic illnesses, however, may have to treat the illness itself before the hair loss can be corrected.
Another form of hair loss that usually reverses itself is the loss that results from cancer treatment: specifically from chemotherapy. Chemotherapy attacks rapidly growing cells and this can include hair cells. Fortunately it's usually temporary, and within 6 months to a year after treatment is over, the hair grows back.
Some medications and supplements may cause temporary hair loss. Blood pressure medicine, anti-depressants, and excess amounts of Vitamin A are examples of those that may lead to the loss of hair. For these conditions, it may be necessary to consult with a physician to address the root cause of the problem.
These are just some of the conditions that can lead to excessive hair loss. Others, such as iron deficiency, thyroid disease, childbirth and diet can, be determined and addresses by qualified medical professionals. If you are experiencing an inordinate amount of hair loss, a thorough evaluation may be what is called for.
About the Author
stephanie mcintyre and wendell bryant are internet developers. Their sites are http://hairlosscentralhome.com
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