It is normal to shed some hair each day as part of this cycle. However, some people may experience excessive (more than normal) hair loss. Hair loss of this type can affect men, women and children.
"Common baldness" usually means male-pattern baldness, or permanent-pattern baldness. It is also called androgenetic alopecia. Male-pattern baldness is the most common cause of hair loss in men. Men who have this type of hair loss usually have inherited the trait. Men who start losing their hair at an early age tend to develop more extensive baldness. In male-pattern baldness, hair loss typically results in a receding hair line and baldness on the top of the head.
Women may develop female-pattern baldness. In this form of hair loss, the hair can become thin over the entire scalp.
causes excessive hair loss:
A number of things can cause excessive hair loss. For example, about 3 or 4 months after an illness or a major surgery, you may suddenly lose a large amount of hair. This hair loss is related to the stress of the illness and is temporary.
Hormonal problems may cause hair loss. If your thyroid gland is overactive or underactive, your hair may fall out. This hair loss usually can be helped by treatment thyroid disease. Hair loss may occur if male or female hormones, known as androgens and estrogens, are out of balance. Correcting the hormone imbalance may stop your hair loss.
Many women notice hair loss about 3 months after they've had a baby. This loss is also related to hormones. During pregnancy, high levels of certain hormones cause the body to keep hair that would normally fall out. When the hormones return to pre-pregnancy levels, that hair falls out and the normal cycle of growth and loss starts again.
Some medicines can cause hair loss. This type of hair loss improves when you stop taking the medicine. Medicines that can cause hair loss include blood thinners (also called anticoagulants), medicines used for gout, high blood pressure or heart problems, vitamin A (if too much is taken), birth control pills and antidepressants.
Certain infections can cause hair loss. Fungal infections of the scalp can cause hair loss in children. The infection is easily treated with antifungal medicines.
Finally, hair loss may occur as part of an underlying disease, such as lupus or diabetes. Since hair loss may be an early sign of a disease, it is important to find the cause so that it can be treated.
hair loss classified"
There are numerous ways to classify hair loss. One useful way has been to classify hair loss by whether the loss is localized (small area) and patchy or whether it affects large areas or the whole scalp (diffuse). Other medical classifications for hair loss include scarring versus non-scarring hair loss and are beyond the scope of this article.
Patchy hair loss:
Some conditions produce small areas of hair loss, while others affect large areas of the scalp. Common causes of patchy hair loss are
alopecia areata (small circular or coin size patches of scalp baldness that usually grow back within months),
traction alopecia (thinning from tight braids or ponytails),
trichotillomania (the habit of twisting or pulling hair out),
and tinea capitis (fungal infection).
A common condition, alopecia areata usually starts as a single quarter-sized circle of perfectly smooth baldness. Alopecia patches usually regrow in three to six months without treatment. Sometimes, hair grows back in white. In another variant, alopecia can produce two or three bald patches. When these grow back, they may be replaced by others. The most extensive form is called alopecia totalis, in which the entire scalp goes bald. It's important to emphasize that patients who have localized hair loss generally don't go on to lose hair all over the scalp. Alopecia can affect hair on other parts of the body, too -- for example, the beard or eyebrow.
Alopecia areata is generally considered an autoimmune condition, in which the body attacks itself (in this case its own hair follicles). Most alopecia patients, however, do not have systemic problems and need no medical tests. While alopecia areata has frequently been blamed on "stress," in fact, it may be the other way around; that is, having alopecia may cause stress.
Treatments for alopecia areata include injecting small amounts of steroids like triamcinolone into affected patches to stimulate hair growth. Although localized injections may not be practical for large areas, often this is a very effective treatment in helping the hairs return sooner. Other treatments such as oral steroids, immunosuppressives, or ultraviolet light therapy are available for more widespread or severe cases but may be impractical for some because of potential side effects or risks. In most mild cases, patients can easily cover up or comb over the affected areas. In more severe and chronic cases, some patients wear hairpieces; nowadays, some men shave their whole scalp now that this look has become fashionable.
This is a small or localized hair loss area caused by repetitive or persistent pulling or force on hair roots. Tight braids and ponytails can pull hard enough on hairs to make them fall out. If this happens, it's best to choose hairstyles that put less pressure on hair roots. The sooner this is done the better to avoid permanent damage.
This refers to the habit of someone voluntarily pulling at their own hairs or twisting them, sometimes without realizing it. The scalp and eyelashes are often affected. Unlike alopecia areata patches, which are perfectly smooth, hair patches in trichotillomania show broken-off hairs. Treatment is often entirely behavioral: You have to notice that you're doing it and then consciously stop. Severe or resistant cases may require stress counseling with a therapist or psychologist or medical treatment with a psychiatrist. Several antidepressant or anxiety medications have been shown to potentially help with this condition.
Tinea is the medical word for fungal infection, and capitis means head. Tinea capitis is fungal infection of the scalp that for the most part affects school-age children. Tinea capitis is more common in black African or African-American scalps. This condition is rare in healthy adults. Bald spots usually show broken-off hairs. Oral antifungals are needed to penetrate the hair roots and cure the infection after which hair grows back. It is contagious from sharing hats or combs and brushes.
generalized (diffuse) hair loss:
This is an overall hair thinning without specific bald spots or patterns. While this type of hair loss may not be noticeable to others, often the individual will feel their hair is not as thick or full as it previously was. Common conditions in this category are
telogen effluvium (rapid shedding after childbirth, fever, or sudden weight loss);
androgenetic or androgenic hair loss ("male-pattern baldness," "female-pattern baldness").
Under normal conditions, scalp hairs live for about three years (the anagen, or growing, phase); they then enter the telogen, or resting, phase. During the three-month telogen period, the hair root shrivels up into a small white "club," then the hair falls out. It is therefore normal to lose about 100 hairs every day, more of them on days when shampooing loosens the hairs that are ready to fall out. The hairs are then replaced by the body.
Sometimes people worried about losing their hair start noticing hairs on their pillow or in the sink, not realizing that they've always been there. A close look at these will usually reveal the white club at the end, showing that these hairs were already dead. Normally, about 10% of scalp hairs are in the telogen phase.
There are several circumstances that produce a "shock to the system" that alters the hair growth rhythm. As a result, as much as 30%-40% of the hairs can cycle into telogen. Three months later, hairs come out in a massive shedding (effluvium), especially near the front of the scalp. These include
sudden weight loss (crash dieting),
and severe stress or loss (death in family, announcing change in sexual preference "coming out of the closet," divorce, etc.).
None of these has to be life-threatening, nor does hair loss always follow them. (It can happen after one pregnancy but not the next.) But when the hair falls out, it's all over the place -- covering the pillow, clogging the drain, and so forth. Paradoxically, the more dramatic the hair loss, the better the prognosis, because when the body gets back into normal rhythm, most if not all of that hair comes back. No special treatment is needed. Normal shampooing can continue, because this only loosens hairs that were going to come out anyway.
androgenetic or androgenic alopecia ("male-pattern baldness," "female-pattern baldness"):
This type of alopecia is often attributed to genetic predisposition and family history. Traditionally, this was originally described only in men, but we now know it is seen in both men and women. The hair loss in men is often faster, earlier onset, and more extensive.
Doctors refer to common baldness as "androgenetic alopecia" or "androgenic alopecia," which implies that a combination of hormones and heredity (genetics) is needed to develop the condition. The exact cause of this pattern is unknown. (The male hormones involved are present in both men and women.)
Even men who never "go bald" thin out somewhat over the years. Unlike those with reversible telogen shedding, those with common male-pattern hair loss don't notice much hair coming out; they just see that it's not there anymore. Adolescent boys notice some receding near the temples as their hairlines change from the straight-across boys' pattern to the more "M-shaped" pattern of adult men. This normal development does not mean they are losing hair.
Some "myths" about male-pattern baldness
You inherit baldness through your mother's male relatives. Actually, baldness can come from either side of the family or both. Looking at your family can give you at best an educated guess about how you'll turn out. Studies are ongoing in this field, and current research has been inconclusive about the inheritance patterns.
Longer hair puts a strain on roots. It doesn't. And hats don't choke off the circulation to the scalp to cause hair loss either.
Shampooing does not accelerate balding.
"Poor circulation" does not cause hair loss, and massaging doesn't stop it.
Lycopodium is distilled from the spores of club moss, also called staghorn moss, a trailing evergreen plant native to Europe and North America. Homeopaths take personality traits as well as symptoms into account when prescribing remedies. According to Beneforce, Lycopodium works best on people with low self-esteem who tend to hide behind overconfidence. Holistic Online notes that homeopaths may recommend Lycopodium in particular for premature balding and for hair loss after childbirth. According to drhomeo.com, Lycopodium may help with male pattern baldness. Sleeplessness and headaches are another indication for Lycopodium.