What is Hair Loss?
Hair loss is a major problem faced by people nowadays. It can be because of various reasons like the family tendency of losing scalp hair leading to baldness, hormonal changes or certain medications or radiation therapies.
Hair loss can be experienced by anyone regardless of age and sex. In some cases, the hair is lost only from the scalp while in others, the hair from the entire body can be lost. Excessive hair loss from the scalp leads to baldness which is seen mostly in hereditary cases of hair loss.
Symptoms of Hair Loss
Hair loss can be of different types depending on the cause of it. It can come on suddenly or gradually affecting only the scalp or the entire body of the affected individual.
Signs and symptoms of hair loss can be:
- Slow thinning of the scalp hair: it is the most common type seen both in men as well as women. In men, the hair starts to recede from the forehead; while in women, the bald areas are formed in between the scalp hair retaining the hair on the forehead.
- Circular or patchy bald spots: in some people, the bald patches appear as smooth, round, coin-sized areas. This is mostly seen in scalp hair but can also be seen in beards or eyebrows.
- Sudden loosening of hair: a handful of hair may come out in bunches due to loosening while a person combs or washes the hair. This type of hair fall causes hair thinning all over the scalp and not baldness.
- Hair loss on the full body: some medications and types of treatments like chemotherapy for cancer can lead to loss of hair all over the body.
- Scaling diseases that reaches the scalp: in certain diseases like ringworm, there is scaling of the skin which can reach the scalp and lead to falling of hair followed by itching, redness and sometimes oozing.
Causes of Hair Loss
Normally people lose around 60-100 hair in a day. But the baldness or thinning is not noticed as these shed hairs are replaced by new hairs which grow at the same speed. There are certain conditions when the balance between shedding or thinning of hair and new hair growth is disturbed. This happens in cases of:
- Family history
- The hereditary pattern of hair loss includes male and female pattern baldness. In males, there is receding hairline on the forehead while in women there is thinning of hairs. Pattern baldness is more seen in males and can occur at any age, even at puberty.
- Hormonal changes and medical conditions
- Sometimes changes in the levels of certain hormones can lead to hair loss. This is temporary. It occurs in conditions like pregnancy, childbirth or during menopause. Also, thyroid hormone changes can lead to hair loss.
- Patchy hair loss or alopecia area-ta is an autoimmune disease wherein the body’s immune system attacks the hair follicles. This causes bald patches on the scalp or elsewhere on the body leaving smooth, round bald areas.
- Skin infections involving the scalp like ringworm or seborrhoeic dermatitis, lead to scaling of the skin of the scalp and cause hair loss.
- Hair pulling disorders (trichotillomania) lead people to irresistibly pull out the hairs from scalp, eyebrows or other areas of the body leaving bald patches.
- Medications and other treatments
- Chemotherapy or radiation therapy given to cancer patients lead to hair loss from the whole body.
- Other medications that are used for the treatment of arthritis, high BP, depression etc. can cause hair loss.
- Certain hairstyles
- Certain hairstyles that are done by pulling the hairs tightly lead to hair loss.
- Stress or poor nutrition
Diagnosis of Hair Loss
Asking for the family history or medical history of the patient can give an idea of the exact cause of his/her hair loss.
The tests that can be done to find out the cause are:
- Blood tests: to find out the levels of thyroid hormones, changes in which can be a cause of hair loss.
- Hair pull test: some dozens of hairs are held by the doctor and pulled out to see how many come out easily. This helps to know the stage of shedding of hairs.
- Light microscopy: to see for the disorders of the hair shafts.
Homeopathic Medicines stimulate the hair roots to promote health. It helps in treating not only the hair fall but the root cause and systemic derangement’s which results into hair fall.
- Excessive dandruff
- Craving for salt
- exposure to sun
- Hair fall and baldness in spots
- Spots may be small or large
- Prematurely aged
- Baldness or hair fall along with dandruff.
- Dandruff white and scaly
- Dry hair and fall out easily
- Patient exhausted and emaciated.
- Hair fall after delivery
- Graying of hair with hair fall
- Associated urinary and gastric complaints
- Bloated abdomen
- Decreased Appetite
- Hair fall and baldness in young people
- Constipation as concomitant, hard shy stools
- Increased Perspiration on head and large head
- Hair falls out in handfuls
- Intense thirst for cold water
- Cannot tolerate warm water
- Tall thin individual
- Bleeding tendency