Most people experience hair loss at some point in their lifetime. The term “alopecia” is actually a general term describing balding, breaking hair or thinning hair. When you suffer these types of hair problems, a doctor can determine the cause, type, whether the loss is permanent and what solutions exist to help you maintain healthy hair.
Types of Alopecia
Types of alopecia include:
- Alopecia areata
- Androgenic alopecia
- Telogen effluvium
- Anagen effluvium
- Tinea capitis
- Alopecia mucinosa and neoplastica
- Traumatic hair loss
Alopecia areata occurs anywhere on the body, such as your scalp. This is an immune system disorder, in which your immune system attacks hair follicles. You first notice the signs of your condition when you experience patches of hair loss. But the good news is that many people with the disorder recover in less than a year. It can return or worsen, however.
Male or female pattern baldness, also called androgenic hair loss, is a genetic condition affecting the scalp. Over time, your hair follicles shrink and produce less hair growth. Most people notice early signs of their condition between the ages of 20 and 40. Men suffer this hair loss more often than women.
Thinning hair caused by heavier shedding than usual is telogen effluvium. This type of hair thinning is actually a side effect of other conditions, such as:
- Physical stress
- Mental stress
- Poor nutrition
- Hormonal imbalances
People who undergo cancer treatment, such as through radiation or chemotherapy, often experience anagen effluvium. Poisoning can also cause this condition.
Tinea capitis is hair loss caused by viral, bacterial or fungal infection. Similarly, cancer sometimes leads to hair thinning or balding, called alopecia mucinosa or neoplastica.
Certain injuries or accidents can also cause you to lose hair. Injury caused by chemicals, scarring, scalp tension or follicle strain often causes hair to fall out or stop growing. Chemical treatments and extensions, such as clip-in and sewn-in hair extensions, often lead to balding patches. This condition, traumatic hair loss, also happens when someone suffers a behavioral hair-pulling disorder called trichotillomania.
Will I notice other symptoms with my hair loss?
Some people notice no symptoms until the scalp shows through their styled hair. Other people experience a range of symptoms related to thinning hair or balding, such as:
- Scalp itching, tingling or burning
- Easily breaking hair
- Notching or pitting in fingernails or toenails
- Scaling or flaking where hair falls out
- Redness and swelling on the scalp
Diagnosing Your Alopecia
When you experience signs of hair loss, contact an experienced hair restoration surgeon. To diagnose your condition and gain an understanding of options available to remedy your problem, your physician may conduct several tests. These tests include:
- Pull test
- Punch biopsy of your scalp
- Trichogram hair loss measurement
- Blood tests
Restoring Your Lost Hair
Firstly, your physician will provide you with an initial consultation and evaluate your hair loss to understand its causes. Then, your doctor may recommend treatment. Certainly there are times when no treatment is necessary for healthy hair to regrow. However, occasionally you may need to change medications or enact other lifestyle changes to prevent continued loss.
Some common treatments for hair loss include:
- Hair growing agents or medications
- Steroids to reduce inflammation and hair follicle damage
- Hormone treatment for hormonal imbalances
- Immunologic agents for immune disorder-related loss
- Antibiotics or antifungals for infection
- Strip hair transplant
- Follicular unit extraction
- Multiple follicular unit
Should I worry about thinning or lost hair?
Sometimes lost hair grows back on its own. But when it does not, modern medical science and technology provide you with options for restoring your full head of hair. While most people feel concerned at signs of alopecia, you do not need to worry. Dr. Arthur Zacco and his caring team of professionals at AZ Hair Restoration will help you access the right treatment.
The first step to finding out what will help restore your more youthful appearance and fuller mane of hair is talking to AZ Hair Restoration in Raleigh, North Carolina. Schedule your in-person visit or Skype consultation by calling (919) 615-0577 in Raleigh.