Your Hair Is Falling Out Rapidly And Suddenly
More often than not, male pattern baldness is something that happens gradually. While the rate at which men lose their hair varies from person to person and is usually determined by genetics, rarely does it cause large clumps of hair to fall out.
However, for some guys, male pattern baldness is an obvious problem thats defined by lots and lots of hair shedding.
If youve developed a large bald spot seemingly overnight, or if youve started to notice your hair falling out in large amounts , its usually a sign that youre experiencing significant hair loss.
This could be due to male pattern baldness, or it could be hair shedding caused by an illness or other health issue. In any case, its best to make an appointment with a hair loss doctor to learn about whats causing your hair loss, as well as what you can do to stop it.
What Kind Of Doctor To See For Hair Loss And What To Expect During The Visit
Read on to learn which doctors you can speak with to figure out a plan for your hair loss goals, as well as what to expect during a visit.
If you are experiencing hair loss, thinning, or just changes in your hair, there are doctors for that.
Seeing a doctor to maintain the health of your hair, and keep it fuller for longer is just as important as seeing a doctor for any other bothersome medical condition, and should not be avoided.
Read on to learn which doctors you can speak with to figure out a plan for your hair loss goals, as well as what to expect during a visit.
What Steps Can I Take To Prevent Or Slow Hair Loss
Unfortunately, certain types of hair loss are genetic, and very little can be done to prevent them. Genetic types of hair loss include alopecia areata and female pattern hair loss.
But other types of hair loss can be brought on by stress and a poor diet. Do your best to eat a balanced diet, and find ways to take care of your mental health.
For added benefit, stay up to date with your routine checkups. Anemia, low levels of vitamin D and abnormal thyroid hormones can all affect the health of your hair. Simple bloodwork from your primary care physician can determine if these conditions are contributing to your hair loss.
Black women in particular are prone to a type of hair loss called traction alopecia, which is caused by heat, chemicals and tight styles that pull at the hair root, including some braids, dreadlocks, extensions and weaves.
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Can Women Get Female Pattern Baldness In Their 20s
Women are less likely to develop female pattern baldness before midlife. Like men, women are more likely to start losing hair once they get into their 40s, 50s, and beyond.
High levels of male sex hormones, called androgens, contribute to hair loss in men. Its generally felt that androgens are also at play in female pattern hair loss.
Smoking may also increase your risk for developing female pattern hair loss.
How Do Dermatologists Find Out Whats Causing Hair Loss
To pinpoint the cause of your hair loss, a dermatologist begins by gathering information. Your dermatologist will:
Ask questions. Its important to know how long youve had hair loss and whether it came on quickly.
Look closely at your scalp, nails, any other area with hair loss. This exam provides vital clues about whats happening.
Test the health of your hair. Gently pulling on your hair tells your dermatologist a lot about how your hair is growing and whether its prone to breaking.
If your dermatologist suspects that the cause of your hair loss could be a disease, vitamin deficiency, hormone imbalance, or infection, you may need a blood test or scalp biopsy. These tests can be done in your dermatologists office.
Once your dermatologist has this information, its often possible to tell you whats causing your hair loss.
Sometimes, your dermatologist needs more information. This might be the case if someone has more than one cause. For example, a woman may have had a baby a few months ago, and this may be causing obvious hair shedding. She may also have early hereditary loss, which isnt so obvious.
No one hair loss treatment works for everyone
Once your dermatologist finds the cause, your dermatologist will tell you whether treatment is recommended. Sometimes, your hair will regrow on its own, making treatment unnecessary.
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How Long Does Hair Shedding Last
The good news is the majority of telogen effluvium cases are over in about three to six months, when those additional hairs that were prematurely shifted into telogen have shed. According to Perng, this characteristic recovery happens after an inciting event, such as COVID-19 infection. When that period is over, those hairs will slowly shift back to normal. Telogen effluvium does not cause a person to lose their hair follicles. While hair may not temporarily grow, the hair follicles are still present, and hair will eventually regrow.
Even after the shedding has stopped, patients may notice their hair is not as thick as it once was. Perng says thats because of how slowly the hair grows on average, which is about a centimeter a month. If someone has shoulder length hair, it can take over two years for the new hairs to reach that length again and for a ponytail to feel full again, he says.
In less than 10 percent of cases, patients may experience a condition called chronic telogen effluvium, where excessive hair shedding can persist beyond six months. This can last for a couple months to a couple years, and usually no obvious cause can be found, Perng says. In this situation, we treat the symptoms the best we can with medical therapy.
Lifestyle Changes Can Help
Sometimes certain life events, habits, and circumstances could be behind your hair loss. The goal would be to pinpoint these issues and find a way to resolve them. When this happens, there should be a natural response by the hair follicles. Some of these changes include:
- Review your hairstyles. Tight styles and products can cause traction alopecia or CCCA.
- Look at the products youre using in your hair, such as relaxers. These can cause long-term damage and slow down new growth.
- Stress can cause hair loss over time. Look for ways to reduce stress or remove stressful situations.
- Hair loss can be diet-related. Some diets lack the vitamins and minerals needed for consistent hair growth. Try to add iron and zinc to your diet. Generally, a complete diet with leafy greens, vegetables, and whole grains can improve overall health and support other hair loss treatments.
Your dermatologist can provide much-needed counseling in these areas, along with medication and in-office treatments.
Hair replacement surgery is a viable option to treat hair loss. It is often the last resort for patients with scarring alopecia, where there is severe, permanent damage to the follicles. However, those with pattern baldness can also benefit from surgery.
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Are There Other Causes Of Hair Loss
It is important to first distinguish between female-pattern hair loss and other, less common causes of hair loss. Your physician may want to check laboratory tests or before an examination or tests on your hair. Often, your physician will check hormonal levels and make sure there are no signs of autoimmune disease. Even stress can cause hair loss. Some of these less common causes of hair loss can be reversed with treatment, so it is important to have an evaluation before starting treatment.
How Is Hair Loss In Women Treated What Medicines Or Supplements May Help
Treatment depends on the cause of your hair loss.
- In cases where the loss is due to stress or hormone changes like pregnancy, there might be no treatment needed. The hair loss will stop after a period of time.
- In cases of hair loss being due to hair styling practices, like tight braids or ponytails or certain chemicals, treatment means not doing the things that caused the damage.
- In cases due to nutritional deficiencies, you might be told to take supplements. For instance, you might be told to take a multivitamin and three to five milligrams of biotin daily.
- Minoxidil is approved for treating FPHL. The 2% or 5% solution can be purchased in stores. However, you have to follow directions exactly and use the product indefinitely. Dont use this product if youre pregnant, if you plan to get pregnant, or if youre breastfeeding.
- The HairMax Lasercomb® low light laser is approved by the US FDA to treat FPHL. Another FDA-approved laser product is the Theradome LH80 PRO® helmet and low light laser helmets and caps.
Other medications that have been studied, but not approved, for hair loss in women include:
- Spironolactone and other anti-androgens.
- Other light treatments.
It is important to note that premenopausal women should not take medications for hair loss treatment without using contraception. Many drugs, including minoxidil and finasteride, are not safe for pregnant women or women who want to get pregnant.
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What To Expect At The Trichologist
When you visit a trichologist, you can expect a thorough examination of your hair and scalp.
The trichologist may ask you several questions about your medical history, nutrition, lifestyle, and hair care routine. Your answers can help the trichologist determine how to treat you or whether they should refer you to a different specialist or to a physician.
Occasionally, trichologists will request a blood test from your primary care physician.
Once the trichologist arrives at a diagnosis, they will recommend the next best step. This could include:
- A referral to another professional, specialist, or primary care physician
- Topical creams or lotions
- A mental healthcare professional if your condition seems stress-related
Causes Of Temporary Hair Loss
You can avoid hair loss and promote regrowth when hair loss is temporarily caused by:
Tight hairstyles. Tight ponytails, braids and cornrows can all cause hair loss and damage the follicles, which regulate hair growth. Changing hairstyles can help prevent thinning. But beware: When the follicles sustain too much damage, hair loss can be permanent.
Extreme physical shock/stress. Dramatic changes in the body can cause temporary hair loss. Giving birth, rapid weight loss, surgery and certain illnesses may cause more hair loss than usual, typically in the resting phase. But hair should grow back over time.
Medical therapies and toxic substances. Chemotherapy, certain other drugs and radiation treatments can prompt hair loss, mainly in the growth phase. Hair loss can strike suddenly, anywhere in the body. It is typically temporary .
Nutritional deficiencies. Not getting enough iron, protein or vitamin B12 in your diet can also cause your hair to thin. If this happens to you, talk to your doctor about supplements.
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What Are The Cycles Of Hair Growth
Hair goes through three cycles:
- The anagen phase can last from two years to eight years. This phase generally refers to about 85% to 90% of the hair on your head.
- The catagen phase is the time that hair follicles shrink and takes about two to three weeks.
- The telogen phase takes about two to four months. At the end of this phase, the hair falls out.
Your shorter hairs like eyelashes, arm and leg hair and eyebrows have a short anagen phase about one month. Your scalp hair can last up to six years or even longer.
You Have A Visible Receding Hairline
Male pattern baldness often begins at your hairline, with the hair around your temples starting to thin and your hairline beginning to recede.
Experts assess the severity of hair loss using the Norwood scale a seven-type scale that goes from a full hairline to severe, horseshoe pattern hair loss. In the first few stages, the hair on your scalp might still be thick, but your hairline may show visible signs of recession.
If youve started to notice your hairline becoming thinner, higher and more M-shaped, its best to make an appointment with a doctor that specializes in hair loss.
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What Is A Hair Loss Dermatologist
Hair is technically part of your skin , and while we dont normally think of hair as an element of skin, the two are crucially linked in function and health.
A hair loss dermatologist, then, is just a dermatologist who has specific experience or skill sets related to hair health within their dermal specializations.
Typically, a hair loss dermatologist can help you figure out whats going on with your hair in relation to your skin.
Did your hair fall out following some kind of rash? Are you noticing thinning after switching shampoos? Whats up with all that dandruff? Where did this noticeable hair loss come from?
If these are the types of questions you find yourself asking, consulting a dermatologist that specializes in hair loss could most definitely help provide some insight into what youre dealing with.
Hair Loss: How Does It Affect Women
On seeing a bald man walk past, most of us wouldnt take a second glance. But would this be the case if a bald woman walked past? It is doubtful. Hair loss although distressing is generally more accepted in men, despite women accounting for 40% of all hair loss sufferers in the US. In this Spotlight, we look at the main causes of hair loss in women, the emotional toll it can take and why research is lagging behind in treatment for female hair loss.
A hereditary condition, androgenetic alopecia is believed to be caused by dihydrotestosterone , which derives from the male hormone testosterone.
An enzyme called Type 2 5-alpha reductase present in the oil glands of hair follicles, the skin organs that produce hair helps convert testosterone to DHT. This derivative then binds to and shrinks hair follicles, killing healthy hair.
Because men have higher testosterone levels than women, they are likely to produce higher DHT levels, leading to increased hair loss. As such, men with androgenetic alopecia often experience a receding hairline which can progress to partial or complete baldness, while women tend to experience hair thinning on the top and sides of the scalp.
But androgenetic alopecia is not the only cause of hair loss in women.
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