Is it normal to lose hair?
Most of us take our locks for granted until suddenly they begin to fall due to various reasons and drastic hair thinning or bald patches occur.
It is normal to lose about 50 to 100 hair strands a day, however, losing more than that can spell trouble. It is then that you require medical intervention and get yourself diagnosed.
What kind of a doctor should I consult for my hair fall problems?
Because different conditions such as thyroiditis, hypopituitarism, congenital adrenal hyperplasia and polycystic ovarian syndrome can cause hair loss, you may need to see a doctor who is a dermatologist or an endocrinologist for treatment. A dermatologist can treat hair loss, which is hereditary, and an endocrinologist can diagnose and treat hair loss symptoms associated with various endocrine disorders.
A trichologist too can effectively treat your hair loss symptoms. A trichologist is a doctor who specializes in the study of hair and can treat baldness, hair breakage, itchy/flaking scalp and different forms of alopecia.
How are the causes of hair fall diagnosed?
Since hair loss can be caused by a number of factors, the first step should be to consult your family physician or a general practitioner. The doctor will perform a general physical exam for you and ask you a number of questions to glean your and your family’s medical history. The physician will ask you:
- How noticeably is your hair thinning? How many hair strands do you lose per day?
- Since how long do you have excessive hair loss?
- Does your family have a history of hair loss?
- Tell me about your diet.
- What are your hairstyling habits? Do you use heat often to style your hair?
- Have you suffered from any recent illnesses, especially skin rashes or allergies?
- Do you have any health problems such as thyroid problems, arthritis etc?
- Do you suffer from stress or depression?
- Are you taking any medicines for thyroid problems, arthritis, depression or any heart-related issues?
Based on your responses and overall general health, the doctor may then advise you to undergo the following tests:
- Blood Test: to determine if you suffer from any health problems such as thyroid.
- Pull Test: in which the doctor will pull your hair to see how many hairs come out on an average.
- Scalp Biopsy: in which the doctor will scrape some skin and a few hairs from your scalp to check if you suffer from any kind of scalp infection.
- Light Microscopy: which will help diagnose any disorders of the hair shaft you may suffer from.
Hair loss can occur due to a poor diet, stress, vitamin deficiency, thyroid problems, pregnancy, treatments like chemotherapy, or due to ageing. These conditions are not very serious and can be addressed easily by taking medicines, or stopping certain medicines, and changing your lifestyle. Very often the hair grows back.
If your hair loss is due to genetic reasons or medical conditions, your hair may not grow back naturally. This can be distressing for you as hair loss can affect your overall appearance. Under such circumstances, based on your general physical health and the pattern and severity of hair loss, and your doctor’s suggestions, you may consider a couple of medical procedures, which can help alleviate your condition.
Hair Fall Treatment Procedures
The hair fall treatment procedures include:
1. A B, Auray J. Assessing the Hair Colourings' Impact on Quality of Life [Internet]. 2018 [cited 21 February 2018]. Available from: https://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/assessing-the-hair-colourings-impact-on-quality-of-life-jctt-1000103.php?aid=66127
2. Understanding Hair Loss due to Air Pollution and the Approach to Management [Internet]. 2018 [cited 21 February 2018]. Available from: https://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/understanding-hair-loss-due-to-air-pollution-and-the-approach-to-management-2167-0951-1000133.php?aid=47705
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