How Will A Healthcare Provider Diagnose Hair Loss In Women What Tests Are Done
The tests performed to diagnose hair loss in women can be simple or complicated:
- Gently pulling on your hair to see how many hairs come out.
- Blood tests. These check for vitamin and mineral levels and hormone levels .
- Scalp examination under a microscope and trichoscopy.
- Scalp biopsy to remove and examine a very small piece of scalp skin.
Who Does It Affect
TTM is especially common in children and adolescents. In young children and infants, its usually a short-lived concern and goes away on its own. The more serious form most commonly starts between ages 10 and 13.
In children, it happens equally between men and women. In adults, women outnumber men with this condition by as much as 9 to 1.
What Can I Do About Traction Alopecia
To protect your hair from traction alopecia and prevent further damage:
- Ask your stylist to create looser braids or dreadlocks.
- If you have braids, remove them after three months.
- If you wear a weave or hair extensions, remove them after eight weeks.
- If you have relaxed or dyed hair, make sure these treatments are applied by a professional. If you still notice breakage or hair shedding, avoid chemical treatments completely.
- Minimize heat styling, including hair dryers, flat irons and curling irons. These wear out the hair and can lead to major hair loss.
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The Most Common Causes Of Hair Loss
Everything you should know about thinning hair.
Hair loss can be very difficult, particularly if experienced at a young age. It is among the most common issues faced by dermatologists. If you have hair loss, don’t worry, you are not alone. You’re just one among the millions of people who have this issue. According to an estimate, more than one-third of UK population is facing some type of hair loss.
The news for you is that it is treatable in most cases. Only you should know what the cause of hair loss is. Let’s look at the causes of hair loss.
Skin Conditions Of The Scalp
An unhealthy scalp can cause inflammation that makes it difficult for hair to grow. Skin conditions that lead to hair loss include seborrheic dermatitis , psoriasis, and fungal infections such as ringworm.
The symptoms: Seborrheic dermatitis causes the scalp to shed its skin, so you’ll notice greasy, yellowish scales on your shoulders or in your hair. It may be the result of yeast called Malassezia, hormonal changes, or excess oil in the skin. Psoriasis, an autoimmune condition that causes excessive skin cell turnover, produces a very thick white scale on the scalp that can bleed if pulled off. With ringworm, a fungus you contract by touching an infected person or animal, you’ll notice red patches on your scalp, which may be diffuse, Jakubowicz says.
The tests: A physical exam of the scalp will help determine which condition you have. A fungal culture and possibly a biopsy of the scalp may pinpoint ringworm.
What you can do: Each condition usually requires a prescription: a medicated shampoo for seborrheic dermatitis, medications or light therapy for psoriasis, and oral antifungals for ringworm.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks hair follicles. It affects about 4.7 million people in the United States and occurs equally in men and women. The cause is unknown, but it may be triggered by stress or illness.
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Treatment For Other Causes Of Hair Loss
If a disease, medicine, or stress is the cause of hair loss, then treating the disease, changing medicines, or managing stress may stop the hair loss. And your hair is likely to grow back. For example, if an underactive thyroid is causing the problem, taking thyroid medicine may help. And most hair lost during chemotherapy will grow back after the treatment ends.
If alopecia areata is the cause of hair loss, medicines such as corticosteroids can be used to treat it. But because hair often grows back within a year, you may decide not to have treatment. Understanding the come-and-go nature of hair loss with this condition can help you make the best treatment decision. Children and teens may need counseling to help them adjust to the hair loss.
What About The Opposite Problem: Does Weight Loss Cause Hair Loss
Weight loss may be more related to hair loss. Losing weight gradually likely will not cause hair loss, but more sudden weight loss may indeed cause hair loss. For example, people that do crash diets and intense workouts may notice thinning hair because they are not getting enough nutrients to support hair growth, and their bodies are under stress.
Also, people who undergo weight loss surgery like gastric bypass or gastric sleeve may have hair loss. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, people have to severely restrict their food intake before and after weight loss surgery. This restriction can lead to nutritional deficiencies. Secondly, the surgery itself is a form of physical stress that can cause a condition called telogen effluvium, which is a temporary form of hair loss.
Finally, your doctor should always address unintended weight loss, as it may mean that something is not quite right in your body. For example, you may have a nutritional deficiency, an overactive thyroid, or you may have something more concerning that should be evaluated by a medical professional.
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Effective Hair Loss Treatments
Hair loss caused by stress or hormonal changes, like pregnancy or menopause, may not require any treatment. Instead, the loss will likely stop on its own after the body adjusts.
Nutrient deficiencies also dont often require medical treatment beyond supplements, unless the deficiency is caused by an underlying health condition. And any medical conditions that lead to hair loss should be treated directly to address the full condition, not just its symptoms.
That said, there are a number of possible medications and treatments for hair loss caused by female-pattern baldness and other alopecias. You may need to use one or a combination of treatments for months or years to see the full results.
What Are The Symptoms Of Trichotillomania
According to the American Psychiatric Associations Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition , the diagnosis of TTM requires a person to meet five criteria:
Some people with TTM pull their hair deliberately, such as when they feel a hair is out of place or looks different from others around it. Other people pull their hair automatically without thinking about it.
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Emotional Stress And Your Hair
When you’re dealing with a life-altering event, like a divorce or break-up, bankruptcy or other financial problems, the loss of a home, or the death of a loved one, significant emotional stress can also disrupt the normal cycle of hair growth. Significant emotional stressors can cause temporary hair loss, but once stress is brought under control, normal hair growth is usually restored.
How Is Hair Loss Diagnosed
Because so many things can cause hair loss, its best to schedule an appointment with a medical professional if you notice any changes in your hair.
Theyll likely use a combination of your health history and a physical exam to help narrow down the causes.
If they suspect an autoimmune or skin condition, they might take a biopsy of the skin on your scalp. This involves carefully removing a small section of skin for laboratory testing. Its important to keep in mind that hair growth is a complex process.
They may also order blood tests to check for any nutrient deficiencies or signs of an underlying condition.
Theres a range of treatment options for hair loss, but the best option for you will depend on whats causing your hair loss.
Medications will likely be the first course of treatment.
Over-the-counter medications generally consist of topical creams, gels, solutions, or foams that you apply directly to the scalp. The most common products contain an ingredient called minoxidil.
Prescription medications, like finasteride , may help, especially for male pattern baldness. You take this medication daily to slow hair loss, though some experience new hair growth when taking finasteride.
Your clinician might prescribe anti-inflammatory medications, like corticosteroids, if hair loss seems related to an autoimmune condition.
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What Does Inherited Hair Loss Look Like
Inherited hair loss is the most common cause of hair loss. It is inherited from either or both the mother and the father.
- In men, hair loss occurs on the scalp above the forehead and on the top of the head. Bald spots are noticeable.
- In women, hair loss occurs as thinning of the hair all over the scalp, but mostly on the top of the head. Women tend to keep their front hairline and do not generally develop bald spots.
What Medications And Treatments Are Used
Medication alone often isnt enough to treat TTM. Healthcare providers may use combinations of medications, therapy techniques or both.
Medications that may treat, either on their own or in combinations, TTM include:
- Antidepressants. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and tricyclic antidepressants can sometimes help with reducing the impulse to pull hair.
- Antipsychotics. These medications help balance your brain chemistry. While the name sounds like they have only one use, they actually treat many conditions, including dementia, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
- Anticonvulsants. These medications typically help treat seizures and other disorders that affect muscle movements, but they also can help with TTM.
- Nutraceuticals. These are nutrition products, such as amino acid supplements, that can help treat medical conditions.
Therapy methods that may help treat TTM include:
- Habit reversal therapy. This method involves helping you become more aware of your behaviors and activity patterns. By helping you become more aware, this therapy teaches you to break habits like hair pulling. This method has the best odds of success out of any treatment option for TTM.
- Group therapy and peer support. People with TTM may benefit from specific types of group therapy or support.
Other treatments related to TTM
Complications/side effects of the treatment
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Reasons For Sudden Hair Loss And How You Can Get Help
Everyone experiences hair shedding, and it happens to each of us every day. Most people lose 50 to 100 hairs per day as part of this natural cycle, more on days you wash your hair. But what if you check your pillow, shower drain, or comb and it looks like youâre suddenly losing much more than that?
The best thing you can do is talk to your doctor or dermatologist. Theyâll get to the bottom of why youâre losing hair, and theyâll make sure you get the right treatment in case a medical condition is to blame.
Here are just some of the reasons you could have sudden hair loss.
How To Treat Hair Loss
If you are struggling with hair loss, you will first want to rule out whatever may be causing it. For example, it may be high-stress levels or a poorly managed thyroid condition. If you cant rule anything out, it may be related to your genes, as many people struggle with androgenic alopecia, also known as male or female pattern hair loss. Also, many autoimmune disorders cause hair loss, so if you cant pinpoint what may be behind your hair loss, you should visit your doctor.
Next, dont hesitate to start using a topical hair regrowth solution that contains 5% Nanoxidil. This proprietary formula is similar to the older, well-known minoxidil but is far more effective at targeting your hair follicles, opening ion channels, and prolonging the anagen phase of the hair growth cycle.
Along with Nanoxidil, you will also want to make sure you use the right shampooing products on your hair. If you suffer from dandruff, make sure to use a product that treats dandruff, as it can lead to inflammation, irritation, and eventual hair thinning.
If hair loss is new to you, talk with one of our product advisors about where to start on your path to regrowing your hair.
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Prevention And Treatment Of Hair Loss:
Prevention is generally considered as one of the best ways to deal with a health condition. In some cases of hair loss, it may be possible to slow down or prevent it. Though this will solely depend on the underlying cause of the hair loss.
Some of the best methods for the prevention of hair loss include:
- Using a comb or hair brush with spaced out bristles
- Consuming a well-balanced diet
- Avoiding the use of hair treatments and lavish hairstyles
- Avoid the pulling and twisting of hair
It is important to know that all types of hair loss cannot be prevented and thus men combat hair loss with specific treatments.
Some methods that can be used to treat hair loss are the following:
Can Losing Weight Help With Hair Loss
It can be a huge help to people struggling with hair loss, but its not always effective. You might also have to go through various other treatments before you see the expected results if you want long-term success.
If losing weight is something youre interested in, keep reading for some helpful suggestions on how to do it and maintain a healthy diet while reaching your goal weight.
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What Are The Common Causes Of Hair Loss In Women
What causes hair loss?
- Hair style: Your style of hair can cause hair loss when your hair is arranged in ways that pull on your roots, like tight ponytails, braids, or corn rows. This type of hair loss is called traction alopecia. If hair follicles are damaged, the loss can be permanent.
- Vitamin deficiency.
- Over processed scalp hair .
What causes anagen effluvium hair loss?
- Toxic substances, including chemotherapy, radiation therapy and some medications. These cause sudden hair loss that can occur anywhere on your body. It happens to hair in the growth stage. Sometimes, this type of hair loss can be permanent if your hair follicles are damaged.
What causes telogen effluvium hair loss?
- Extreme physical stress or shock to your body: This causes temporary hair loss. This category includes events like losing a lot of weight, surgery, anemia, illness and having a baby.
- Extreme emotional stress: mental illness, the death of a loved one, etc.
- An abnormal thyroid.
- Medications and supplements: blood pressure medicines, gout medicines and high doses of Vitamin A.
- Hormone changes caused by pregnancy, menopause or birth control pills.
What causes FPHL ?
- Genes: Your familys genes can cause thinning of hair along the top of your head.
- Aging: Hormone changes as you age can cause balding.
- Menopause: This type of hair loss often gets worse when estrogen is lost during menopause.
There are also some conditions that affect hair loss:
Different Kinds Of Stress Can Cause Hair Loss
If youve been under emotional or physical stress, it may lead to hair loss. Things like a death in the family, major surgery, or a serious illness may cause the body to shut down certain processes like hair production.
Theres around a three-month delay between when a stressful event happens and when you might see hair loss, so you may not pinpoint the trigger right away.
However, if you are experiencing thinner hair, consider different events or situations in your life that may have caused you considerable stress. Hair loss due to stress is generally temporary. Hair may begin growing again after the event has passed and the follicle starts producing again.
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How Do I Take Care Of Myself
If you have TTM, its important to see a healthcare provider with specialized training and experience in treating this condition. They can best guide you on what you can do to minimize the impact of this condition on your life.
In general, healthcare providers recommend the following:
- Be honest about what youre experiencing. TTM is a medical condition that affects your mind and behaviors. Much like you would see a healthcare provider for a broken bone or an ear infection, you should also see a healthcare provider for mental health conditions like TTM. They can help treat your condition and help you deal with any negative emotions youre facing in connection with it.
- See your healthcare provider as recommended. This is especially important for therapy sessions and other mental health visits.
- Take medications as prescribed, if prescribed. Medications can often help decrease how strongly or often you feel the urge to pull your hair.
When should I go to ER?
People with TTM who swallow their hair have a higher risk of blockages in their digestive tract. These blockages often cause severe or even life-threatening complications. The following symptoms are likely with a blockage and mean you should call your healthcare provider or go to the hospital:
- Changes in the color of your stool to dark green or black.
- Belly pain or discomfort.
A note from Cleveland Clinic