If you have been suffering from hair loss, we know how distressing this condition can be. Severe hair loss can affect the way we look and that can be confidence shattering. This is why people preoccupied on how to stop losing hair. Unfortunately, millions of men and women all over the world suffer from this condition. The reasons for hair loss vary greatly: vitamin deficiency, hormonal issues, menopause, thyroid problems, hemorrhoids issues, hereditary reasons and so on. The fact is: if you have a medical condition due to which you are seeing more hairs in your hairbrush than normal, then you need to fix that first in order to fix hair loss. In some cases medication becomes necessary while in others, changes in diet may suffice to overcome the problem. Before you think on how to stop losing hair, check these issues first. To understand hair loss, let us first study the hair cycle.
The hair growth cycle
The normal cycle of hair growth lasts for two to three years. Our hair grows approximately 1 cm every month and at any given time, nearly 90 percent of our hair is in its growth phase. The remaining 10 percent hair is in the resting phase; this hair falls out and new ones start to grow in their place. It is normal to shed a few 100 hairs daily, as a part of the normal ‘hair cycle’. However, in some men and women, this number increases drastically.
Androgenetic alopecia or male pattern baldness is the typical cause of hair loss in men and it is normally inherited. The pattern of hair loss includes a receding hairline and loss of hair on the top region of the scalp. In women, female pattern baldness causes thinning of hair all over the scalp. So how to stop losing hair? Lets look at the causes first.
Natural Causes of Hair Loss
In majority of the cases, poor nutrition is the main culprit for hair loss, both in men and women. Doctors recommend a complete change of diet as the first step in the treatment. Anemia (Iron deficiency), zinc and biotin deficiency, lack of protein- rich diet are the major reasons why one could lose more hair than normal. Doctors recommend three to four servings of meat along with four to five servings of dairy and beans on a daily basis for a healthier scalp. Variety in diet is also important: instead of getting in a rut, one must ensure incorporating plenty of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, eggs and fish in the diet. In some cases, supplements may also be prescribed. Biotin and saw palmetto supplements are some popular over-the-counter pills which many have found to be effective for treating hair loss. However, doctors’ opinions regarding these supplements are varied.
In many cases, everyday things that we do unknowingly can also be the reason behind hair loss: vigorously towel drying our hair, using a brush through the hair while it is still wet, using tools like curling irons and driers etc are some common reasons behind hair breakage and loss. Additionally, styling creams, gels and mousses can also lead to such damage. Excessive exposure to the sun can render our hair rough, weak and brittle. Simple lifestyle changes can help us avoid hair loss of this type.
Medical Conditions for excessive hair loss
A number of medical conditions can also factor into the equation of hair loss. Illnesses, major surgeries, child birth in women are some typical examples. Overactive and underactive thyroid can be another aspect. Hormonal imbalance, typically out-of-balance androgens and estrogens, can lead to alopecia in men and women. Correcting these imbalances can reverse and prevent further loss of hair.
Women normally start losing hair three to four months after having a baby. This is also a type of hormonal hair loss and occurs due to the fact that the body has secreted several hormones during pregnancy which prevents the hair from falling out. When the body returns to its normal, pre-pregnancy state, the hair fall/hair growth cycle continues and the hair loss starts all over.
Certain types of drugs and medications can also be a cause. These include medications for high blood pressure, gout, blood thinners, birth control pills, cancer drugs and anti-depressants etc. The condition stops once these medications are stopped.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Doctors generally ask several questions related to one’s lifestyle and diet in order to arrive at a diagnosis for hair loss. In some cases, they may perform blood tests, scalp tests and biopsies to ascertain the reason. Depending on the type of hair loss you are suffering from, there are a variety of treatments available. It is essential to correctly diagnose the condition in order to take the preventive steps. Correcting hormonal imbalance, including nutrition rich foods and recognizing and treating underlying infections can prevent further hair loss.
Drugs and treatment for hair loss
There are several drugs available for treating hair loss. Many of these have also approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
- Minoxidil (Rogaine®) is available over the counter for both men and women. It is available in 2 and 5% strengths. Both varieties have minimal side effects and are generally safe and effective in preventing hair loss as well as stimulating the growth of new hair.
- Another medicine available with prescription is finasteride(Propecia). It comes in a pill form and is mainly used for men for treating male pattern baldness. It takes around six months of use to actually show positive results.
- Spironolactone pills and hormone replacement pills (Prempro) have helped women suffering from hair loss due to menopause and other hormonal imbalances. These treatments take a while to show results.
Other than drugs, one can also opt for invasive or surgical procedures such as hair transplant and scalp reduction etc. These procedures are however painful and expensive.
This is how to stop losing hair.
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