Hair loss, or alopecia, is a common condition which may be a consequence of natural aging, a side effect of medication, or a manifestation of a health disorder. It can result in total baldness, thinning of the hair, or patchy bald spots and may be confined to the scalp or affect other areas of the body. Hair loss may be temporary or permanent, depending on its cause.
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Some of the causes of hair loss include:
- Male pattern baldness
- Fungal infections of the scalp
- Severe infections or high fevers
- Poor nutrition
- Certain medications
- Traumatic stress
- Trichotillomania, a psychiatric disorder involving compulsive hair-pulling
- Thyroid or pituitary disorders
- Certain skin disorders, such as eczema or psoriasis
- Autoimmune diseases, such as lupus or polycystic ovary syndrome
- Chemotherapy or radiation therapy
- Alopecia areata, an autoimmune disorder
- Telogen effluvium, in which too many hair follicles remain in a resting state
Treatment for Hair Loss
Treatment for hair loss is usually based on the cause of the condition. When hair loss results from a fungal infection, it may be treated with anti-fungal medication. Hair loss that results from cancer treatment is usually temporary. For other types of hair loss, one of the following treatments may be considered:
- Hair transplant surgery, hair plugs, scalp reduction
- Over-the-counter medications, such as Rogaine or Nizoral
- External laser comb
- Hair-stimulating treatments
For some patients, wigs or hairpieces may be useful in creating an attractive appearance and reducing self-consciousness about hair loss.