Broken strands of hair in a patient's hand. Patient wants to undergo hair loss treatment.

Treatment for Hair Loss

Hair loss is increasingly becoming a concern in men and women alike. It is safe to say that 33% of our patients come with a hair loss problem. The problem bigger than the hair loss problem is the reason why one loses hair. In most cases, patients start on a hair loss treatment without determining the underlying cause.

Now, why does one lose hair?

The reasons can be broadly classified into two categories:

  1. Disorder of the hair shaft wherein an alteration in the hair shaft properties triggers the hair loss. This alteration is nothing but the change in the strength of the hair making the it more fragile (easy to break-off) or mere inability to grow long hair.
  2. All other forms of hair loss which again can be divided into two types: Scarring or non-scarring alopecia.
    1. Scarring or cicatricial alopecia – This is normally seen after a injury on the scalp wherein a scar is formed on the normal skin. This type of hair loss is more or less permanent. It is highly recommended you meet your trichologist at the earliest.2. Non-scarring or non-cicatricial alopecia – The skin on the scalp is normal and hair loss is not permanent. We are going to talk about the non-scarring hair loss type at length.

Types of non-scarring or non-cicatricial alopecia and their treatment:

  1. Androgenetic alopecia popularly known as common balding or hereditary balding. This is a pattern of hair loss seen both in males as well as females. It is a hormone (androgen) dependent hair loss. In men, it is seen by way of a receding hairline. In women, it is seen at the top of the scalp. Treatment includes topical minoxidil, multivitamins, and tablets for regulating hormonal imbalances. New techniques such as Mesotherapy, LASER, and Hair Transplant have also shown good results.
  2. Telogen Effluvium is shedding of normal hair due to pathological or physiological changes. The most common causes are post pregnancy, after a high fever, chronic illness, major surgical procedures, hypothyroidism, drastic change in diet (starvation or binge eating) and certain medicines. Normally hair loss begins 2-3 months after the above mentioned events. It is seen as an overall thinning of hair. Even a gentle hair pull may elicit substantial amount of hair. Treatment includes diagnosing the real cause, multivitamins and iron supplements.
  3. Alopecia Areata is seen as a circular patchy hair loss. Besides the scalp, hair loss may also be seen over the eyebrows, axillary hair and chest. It is seen to be associated with bronchial asthma, atopy, thyroid abnormality and diabetes. Treatment includes topical or intralesional cortico steroids, topical minoxidil. In severe cases, oral steroids can also be given.
  4. Trichotillomania is a psychiatric disorder wherein there is self-induced plucking or breaking of hair. In this, patients have a recurring and unstoppable urge to pull out hair from their scalp, eyebrows or other areas of their body. It is often associated with severe psychological stress or manic depressive stage. Treatment includes treatment of the underlying psychiatric cause and behavioural modification.

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