What is Alopecia? And How do I cure it?
Alopecia simply means ‘loss of hair’ or baldness. More importantly, you may wish to know what causes hair loss and how it can be cured. If you’re doing research to find the right answers to these important questions, it can be frustrating and confusing, especially when it’s happening to you.
Have you recently been diagnosed with Alopecia? Maybe you’ve come to the conclusion that you have Alopecia after researching hair loss on the Internet. One thing is for sure. You’re not alone. Over 50% of men and women have some form of hair loss. Alopecia does not discriminate. It affects every race, gender and age.
6 Main Causes of Alopecia
Although the causes of alopecia are wide and varied, there are generally 6 reasons why people find themselves with this condition.
- Hair loss can be a side effect from many types of medication.
- Hair loss can be caused by an illness or disease.
- Hair loss can be caused by hormonal changes.
- Hair loss can be caused by poor diet or stress.
- Hair loss can be caused by scarring, hair pulling including tight braids, extensions and dreadlocks.
- Hair loss can be caused by genetics.
Hair Loss Cause #1: Medication
Hair loss caused by medications will either happen almost immediately or take 60 to 120 days to occur. This all depends on the type of medication and the hair growth cycle it affects.
Hair loss that happens almost immediately is caused at the cellular level by medications known to destroy growing hairs during the anagen cycle, such as chemotherapy. This type of hair loss is typically severe, leaving the patient nearly or completely bald.
Delayed hair loss that becomes evident after several months is caused by medications that force hairs into an early telogen or resting phase where the hair will fall out prematurely. Some of these medications may include blood pressure medicines, antidepressants, anti-inflammatory drugs and more.
If you believe your medication is causing hair loss, we recommend that you check with your doctor or pharmacist. Hair loss caused by medication is quite often temporary and can be reversed if the medication is changed or discontinued.
Hair Loss Cause #2: Illness or Disease
There are many different diseases that cause hair loss such as thyroid disease or inflammatory skin conditions. There are also diseases that specifically target hair follicles. One is called Alopecia Areata which is an auto immune disease that causes patchy balding areas throughout the scalp. Another disease, Alopecia Totalis, attacks and kills all hair follicles on the body even eyelashes and eyebrows.
Many medical conditions can sometimes be treated and regulated, which improves hair growth.
Hair Loss Cause #3: Hormonal Changes
A common reason for hair loss in women is dramatic hormonal shifts that occur either during or after pregnancy or menopause. As estrogen levels fluctuate, women can experience sudden bouts of diffuse hair loss.
This type of hair loss is often temporary and can be corrected with hormone replacement therapy, vitamin supplements, Enhanced Hair Growth Therapy or laser therapy.
Hair Loss Cause #4: Poor Diet or Stress
Because hair growth is a non-critical process, it is one of the first things to be compromised when the body is vitamin deficient due to a poor diet. Hair will also be negatively affected when the body is under stress from an injury or circumstance. Either way, crucial vitamins and minerals will be diverted to more critical areas and the health of hair will be neglected.
While correcting stress levels or healing an injury can be more challenging, a vitamin deficiency is an easy problem to correct. By simply taking the recommended hair supplements, you may see dramatic improvement in your hair. Some of the hair vitamins and supplements to be looking for include Vitamin D3, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B5, B6, B12, Biotin, Zinc, Copper, L-Cysteine and L-Methionine, Beta Sitosterol, Nettle leaf extract, bamboo leaf extract, Lycopene and MSM.
Another supplement that is known to improve your hair is called Saw Palmetto. Saw Palmetto blocks dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which causes pattern baldness. Saw Palmetto is found in many over the counter hair supplements.
Hair Loss Cause #5: Scarring or Hair Pulling
Injuries or burns to the scalp can cause temporary or permanent hair loss. Scarring prevents follicles from receiving nutrients through the life-giving blood supply that normally exists just beneath the surface of the skin. In some cases, scar patients can benefit from a surgical hair transplant but there are no guarantees.
Traction alopecia is another form of hair loss where hair follicles are damaged by tight braids, pony tails or dreadlocks. When the hair is constantly pulled too tight, the hair follicles are damaged and eventually die. In some cases, hair will grow back if damaging hair styles are discontinued.
There is also a psychological disorder called Trichotillomania which is an uncontrollable desire to pull out your own hair. This results in patchy bald spots. Psychotherapy is recommended for those suffering from Trichotillomania and in some cases hair will grow back if the disorder is regulated.
Hair Loss Cause #6: Genetics
The most common cause of hair loss in both men and women is called Androgenetic Alopecia. For men it’s better known as male pattern baldness and for women it’s referred to as female pattern hair loss. The reason it’s called pattern baldness is because there is a consistent pattern of hair loss. This type of alopecia only occurs in the temples, the top of the head and the crown. Hair follicles on the sides of the head are DHT resistant and won’t fall out. As mentioned earlier, DHT is a hormone that causes pattern baldness but only for those who are susceptible due to genetic weaknesses.
The good news is, those with pattern baldness typically make perfect candidates for surgical hair restoration. Because the pattern of hair is so consistent, the donor area, which can be found in the back of the head, is a reliable source of hair that can be harvested. It is DHT resistant and when it’s relocated to the balding areas it grows for a lifetime.
At PAI Medical Group, we offer several modalities to improve your hair growth. Laser Therapy, Enhanced Hair Growth Therapy , hair supplements and 3 types of surgical hair restoration are sure to meet the needs of most patients with hair loss. If you have any questions about your hair loss, please call call 800.496.7225.