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Hair Growth Drugs

Minoxidil is a medicinal ingredient found in most hair growth shampoos. The ingredient is helpful in treating androgenic alopecia in men as well as women.hair loss, hair growth therapy

It is not entirely clear as to how minoxidil works, and its effectiveness in treating hair loss may even be debatable. If used regularly, twice a day, and massaged thoroughly into the scalp, you may recover from hair loss. Minoxidil also encourages new hair growth; however, how much is still a question up till today.

Minoxidil is more effective when you use it during the process of balding or at the start. It is not a drug suitable for people who are already bald.

 

Another drug called Propecia is approved in treating hair loss. However, it is only designed for men. This is because the drug, available in pill form, interrupts the male sex hormone, testosterone from producing DHT. DHT is a byproduct of testosterone which shortens the growth phase of the hair follicles and increases the rest stage.

Propecia can cause side effects like loss of libido due to its effect on testosterone but the effects are usually temporary.

Testosterone therapy is a popular among aging men. However, this may increase hair loss. Some may consider taking Propecia during testosterone therapy but the drug actually prevents the breakdown of testosterone and may alter the effectiveness of testosterone therapy.

Many men may use minoxidil and Propecia to benefit from both drugs and for maximum effect. Both drugs can also be taken with hair replacement surgery. However, it is important to resume treatment on a regular basis. If you cannot take both drugs every day with the required dosage, it is better if you don’t take the drugs at all because hair loss will occur again if you stop treatment.

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Other Causes of Hair Loss

cause of hair lossHair loss due to old age is not something much to worry about. As a person ages, his or her quality of hair and distribution may change significantly. However, this varies amongst individuals and may not be the same case for everybody. There are other factors that can in fact, result in hair loss. Certain medications may lead to the thinning of hair, while some may even cause hair to fall. Health conditions, such as thyroid problems may also contribute to hair loss. If you are experiencing hair loss, it is wise to insult your family doctor as soon as possible to curb the problem before it starts to become a serious cause for concern.

Hair loss due to old age or Balding

Balding is one of the most common causes of hair loss in aging men. Balding patterns usually show up after the age of 40. Balding is typically a result of hereditary factors. For instance, if your father had hair loss problems as an elderly man, you may experience hair loss as well when you reach the same age.

The growth rate of hair decreases with age. This is simply because as you age, your hair follicles gradually lose their ability to allow fast hair growth.

For aging women, menopause is usually the culprit that slows down hair growth and causes hair fall to occur dramatically. However, unlike men, most women do not suffer significant amounts of hair loss, thus making them less noticeable.

Hair loss in elderly individuals may also have a direct relation to a disease or other health conditions. In addition, certain medications used to treat some illnesses can trigger hair loss as well.

Health issues associated with hair loss

As people age, they become more vulnerable to many health conditions. Most of the time, certain health problems may relate directly to hair loss. This is because some medications used to treat illnesses can cause hair loss.

Studies have shown that individuals who are iron deficient (anemia) suffer significant hair loss as well. The lacking of iron may be caused by some health problems or a poor diet. Doctors have found that hair re-growth rates can be increased for those with iron deficiency issues by reversing the problem and taking appropriate supplements and modifying their diets.

Other health issues that may lead to hair loss are such as hypothyroidism (an overactive thyroid gland) and diabetes. In hypothyroidism, the thyroid hormones are not properly regulated causing rapid hair loss due to the slowing of metabolism. Hormonal imbalance due to diabetes can also cause this problem.

Poor Diet

A poor diet can also contribute to hair loss. If your diet lacks in important nutrients, the shafts of your hair can weaken, thereby, causing the hair to break easier and reducing its growth rate. Among the nutrients necessary for proper hair growth are such as Vitamin A, B6, B12, C, biotin, copper, zinc and iron. A diet rich in lean proteins, vegetables and fruits is usually sufficient to maintain the health of your hair and prevent hair loss. For many people, additional supplements may be beneficial as well.

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What is Alopecia?

alopecia wigs canadaAlopecia refers to the loss of hair from your scalp or any hairy regions of the body. Men, women and also children may experience alopecia as it can be a result of certain medications, hereditary factors or underlying medical conditions.

Baldness means the excessive loss of hair or the absence of hair from the scalp. Baldness is often noticeable when it affects the scalp; however, other regions of the body are also susceptible to the condition. Many people leave this condition untreated, without hiding their baldness, while others choose to cover the affected regions with scarves, hats, makeup and different hairstyles—if medical treatment is not sought.

There are two major types of alopecia namely: Alopecia areta and androgenetic alopecia. Alopecia areata take place when the immune system of the body attacks the hair follicles by mistake, causing their hair to fall out. Androgenetic alopecia is a condition that is inherited, which results in the thinning of the hair, causing hair fall. 60% of the men are affected by androgenetic alopecia, which is permanent.

Causes

Normally people lose 50-100 hairs per day, which should not make a noticeable difference as the human scalp can contain up to 100,000 hairs. With age, the hair gets thinner and hair starts to fall more. Other common causes of hair loss include medication, medical conditions and hormonal factors.

Medication

Hair loss is commonly caused by medication used to treat the following conditions:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Depression
  • Arthritis
  • Medical conditions

The following medical conditions may also cause hair loss in many people:

Scalp infections. These may include ringworm, which tampers with the skin and the hair on your scalp causing a drastic hair fall. However, once the condition is treated, the hair will grow back.

Thyroid disorders. The thyroid gland plays a role in regulating the hormone levels of the body. A problem with the normal functioning of the gland may also result in hair fall.

Alopecia areata. This is a disease which occurs as a result of the body’s immune system attacking the hair follicles on the scalp, thus causing hair fall patches.

Other skin conditions. Scarring diseases such as lichen planus and lupus may lead to permanent hair loss in the scarred regions.

Hormonal factors

This is the most frequent cause of hair loss as a result of a hereditary condition termed as male-pattern baldness or female-pattern baldness. People, who are more likely to experience hair loss due to hormonal changes, suffer from permanent hair loss in different patterns. This type of hair fall is common in men and can even commence during puberty.

Sometimes hair loss due to hormonal imbalances can be temporary especially due to stopping the use of birth control pills, childbirth/pregnancy and menopause.

Other causes of hair loss include:

Hair pulling disorder. This is actually a mental disorder which gives rise to an urge to pull one’s hair from any part of the body leading to bald spots.

Physical or emotional shock. This can be a high fever, grief due to death or even drastic weight loss or malnutrition.

Hairstyles. Pulling the hair too tightly to style it can also cause hair loss.

Symptoms

The way hair loss occurs depends on the underlying cause that leads to it. Sometimes hair loss can be gradual or sudden and sometimes it can be ‘patchy’ only affecting small parts of your body or it can also cause a complete hair loss affecting the whole body and the scalp. Hair loss can be temporary in many people, however, it can be permanent as well—it all depends on the causative factor.

Some common signs and symptoms of hair loss include:

Gradual thinning of hair from the top of your head. This can affect both men and women and is often characterized as an M shaped line on the forehead.

Round and/or patchy bald regions or spots. Commonly known as bald spots, this kind of hair loss usually affects the scalp but can also occur on the eyebrows and beards. You may even feel some irritation or itchiness while the hair falls off.

Sudden hair loosening. This can be a result of a physical or emotional shock, allowing your hair to ‘loosen’ from the scalp. You may get handfuls of hair falling off while you wash or comb your hair. Usually all of the hair is not affected and the condition does not result in patching.

Hair loss from the whole body. Chemotherapy or other medical treatments may cause the complete loss of hair from your body. The hair will re-grow after treatment is complete.

When to seek medical help

Sudden hair loss may indicate a red flag for an underlying medical condition that may be hazardous to your health. If you suspect that the hair loss is not caused due to an obvious cause or is your hair falls much more than usual while combing or washing, consult your doctor as medical treatment may be required.

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Causes of hair loss in young children

child alopeciaAlopecia is the form of thinning of hair or entire or patchy hair loss can greatly raise the anxiety in many parents. However, young children can be treated for their hair loss problems in order to regrow their hair normally.

The following are the causes of hair loss in children. Your child’s doctor will diagnose the condition and carry out the necessary treatments required for hair growth:

  • Alopecia areata

In this condition, the body’s own immune system targets the hair follicles resulting in patches of hair loss or bald spots on the head. The patches will be oval and smooth without any tiny hairs. Statistics show that 1 in 1000 children suffer from this condition.

There is no known cure for the condition; however, treatment procedures can be performed in order to control it. Most of the children will regrow their hair in one year, however, 5% of the children may not respond to treatment resulting in the loss of hair from the entire scalp (alopecia totalis) or even the whole body (alopecia universalis)

Treatment may involve the application of topical creams or aggressive corticosteroid ointments on the bald regions. Teenagers may be given steroid injections with the minoxidil.

  • Tinea capitis

Tinea capitis or ringworm refers to a fungal infection usually present in children. The condition may take place in different ways, but is commonly recognized as round/oval scaly bald patches on the head. The hairs on the affected region can be broken off and make the skin appear as if it has black dots on it.

Your child’s doctor may use a culture test to diagnose the condition. Your child may have to take oral fungal treatments with the use of antifungal shampoo in order to control the growth of the fungus and eliminate it from the scalp.

Ringworm is a contagious infection, therefore, it is important that your child does not share his personal belongings and make sure that nobody touches the items that were in contact with his head such as hats, scarves, hair brushes, combs and even pillow cases.

  • Trichotillomania

Also known as hair pulling disorder, trichotillomania refers to hair loss caused by constant pulling, rubbing, plucking or twisting of the hair. The affected regions are patchy and the hair will be broken in varying lengths. Usually the child’s dominant hand side of the head is affected the most.

The condition is often caused due to emotional factors that may cause stress or grief, for example, through the loss of a close family member such as a grandparent, divorce between parents and a new sibling. If you suspect your child has hair pulling disorder, it is important to note that this is a cause of stress and should not be treated by scolding or reprimanding the child. Instead seek counseling to relieve your child’s stress.

  • Telogen effluvium

A severe or sudden stress for example, a surgery, a high fever, a severe injury, certain medication or even the death of a close family member or friend can interrupt the normal growth of hair. This happens because the hair growth cycle takes a resting phase known as the Telogen phase. In about 6-16 weeks, hair begins to fall off dramatically resulting in patchy or complete baldness.

There is no treatment or medication to treat Telogen effluvium, however, in most people, hair grows back normally once the period of stress is over.

  • Nutritional deficiency

This is a less common situation, but hair loss can happen as a result of nutrient deficiency as well, for example:

  1. Vitamin H, a B complex vitamin also known as biotin helps in converting carbohydrates to glucose for energy. Biotin deficiency may also lead to hair loss
  2. Iron deficiency or anemia also causes hair loss in many children and adults as well
  3. Zinc is a mineral required for cell metabolism and normal growth of cells—deficiency may interrupt normal hair growth

Sometimes, too much vitamin A in the body may also lead to hair loss. However, in most cases, children having a nutritional diet will not suffer from any form of nutritional deficiencies or malnutrition that may result in hair loss. Consult your child’s pediatrician before you give your child any nutrient supplements.

  • Hormonal disorders

Sometimes endocrine problems or hormonal disorders such as hypothyroidism can cause hair loss in children. Hypothyroidism is a condition that occurs as a result of an underactive thyroid gland which produces insufficient thyroid hormones for metabolism.

Your child’s doctor will perform a blood test to check or thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and T4 levels to determine the productivity of the thyroid gland.

Treatment involves certain medication that replace the hormones that are in inadequate supply, depending on your child’s health in general and medical history, his/her tolerance to certain medication and therapies, the severity of the condition etc.

Losing hair can be especially troubling for grown ups, let alone a child.  There are many wigs now available for children in human and synthetic hair that  can help rebuild a child’s self esteem who is dealing with alopecia. A new wig or custom designed hairpiece can really make your kid feel like a kid again and start enjoying life despite their medical circumstance. It’s wonderful to see the transformation in a child with new hair made to look just like their very own!

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