a man examines his side part for hair loss

Hair Loss Information

Dealing with hair loss can be embarrassing and difficult to ask about. But the more you know about something that’s troubling you, the more prepared you can be to do battle. Get informed about everything from what causes balding to potential treatments for your situation. 

Hair Loss Causes

Androgenetic Alopecia, or balding, is the most common cause of hair loss in both men and women and is caused by too much androgen in the body. In some men, a specific enzyme turns testosterone into androgen-heavy dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which then shrivels the hair follicles. Some women simply produce too much or are overly sensitive to a normal amount. 

However, there are other causes to hair loss as well. Being overly stressed can contribute, as can general unhealthiness. Additionally, a lack of iron and protein may contribute too. Certain medications and treatments can also contribute to hair loss, chemotherapy being a prime example. Likewise, disorders and illnesses, such as thyroid problems or lupus, can indirectly cause baldness. Other diseases, like alopecia areata, directly attack the hair follicles through the auto-immune system, destroying large patches of hair. 

Hair Loss Treatments

In the case of androgenetic alopecia, which is genetic, there are very few options for recovering lost hair. “Treatment” in the traditional sense is largely ineffective, although medication that targets the excessive androgen may be sufficient for some. Others may opt for more nontraditional options like hair plugs, although some would argue that a wig or accepting baldness may be a better option. 

In other cases, simply taking control of the situation may fix the problem. Dealing with chronic or acute stress may reverse or at least halt the issue, as can ceasing medications, curing illnesses, starting supplements, or instituting a change in diet. In the case of alopecia areata, hair growth usually starts again after about a year. Most of these options will work for prevention as well.

There are also a variety of other options for treatment. Minoxidil (Rogaine) is a topical treatment. Although it has been successful for less than a quarter of users in experiments, for those it did work for it either caused hair loss to reverse, halt, or both. In any case, your best option is to speak with a doctor, specifically a dermatologist. They can run blood tests to make sure there are no deficiencies or illnesses contributing to the problem, and help you decide the best course of treatment to take.

Last Updated: January 11, 2017