Things you need to know about hair loss

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hair loss

A patient with male pattern baldness disorder

If you suspect you are going bald maybe it is the right time for you to know why it is happening so that you can seek medical help. Not all hair loss is an indication that you will go bald.

Sometimes temporary events like stress, medication, and disease may cause hair loss. Hormonal imbalances during pregnancy, after childbirth or during menopause for women and thyroid conditions can cause hair loss. But you may regain the hair once the event has passed.

Dandruff in the scalp hairs, smoking, scalp infections, such as those caused by ringworm, can also cause hair loss. Hair generally grows back when the infection is treated.

Lichen planus, a common skin rash and some types of lupus- an autoimmune disease that causes several symptoms including swelling and sarcoidosis, an inflammatory disease that affects multiple organs, may result in permanent hair loss.

High level of a male sex hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT), in hair follicles is a disorder that believed to shorten the hair’s growth cycle and delay the growth of new hair.
Known as androgenic alopecia or male pattern baldness, this can affect both men and women.

The male pattern baldness accounts for more than 95 percent of hair loss in men, according to health portal WebMD although there is also a female pattern baldness.

Both medical and surgical treatment options are available for those suffering from androgenic alopecia, also known as genetic balding.

Minoxidil is a medication approved by the United States’s Food and Drug Administration, to treat male pattern baldness. It is a solution that stimulates the hair follicles to grow and is applied directly to your scalp.

This solution slows hair loss and you can witness the growth of new hair. However, hair loss usually returns if the medication is stopped. Doctors advise patients to continue using minoxidil.

Adverse events associated with this solution include itching, skin rash, acne, burning, inflammation, and swelling.

It may trigger some serious side effects that include blurred vision, dizziness, and irregular heartbeat although very rarely and by excess use of minoxidil. Finasteride is an oral tablet and somewhat more effective than Minoxidil.

Side effects associated with Finasteride include chills; cold sweats; confusion; dizziness; hives; swelling of the legs, arms and face; tingling; erectile dysfunction; decreased libido; ejaculatory dysfunction and weight gain.

The male pattern baldness can also be addressed through surgical treatment. The method is known as Follicular Unit Transplantation or Strip method.

hair loss

A patient after hair transplants

During a hair transplant, tiny patches of hair are moved from one part of the scalp to the balding area. Hair transplants may need several sessions and finally, the results are effective and permanent.

Before the procedure, local anesthesia is injected to numb the scalp. During the procedure, a small section of a hairy scalp is removed (donor area) and the remaining skin is stitched together.

Then, small groups of hair are carefully separated out from the donor area and inserted into the bald area.Thousands of hairs may be transplanted during one session.

Hair transplants may cause scarring and bleeding, and there is very less risk of infection. The advantages are less surgical time than Follicular unit extraction (FUE) and less chance of follicle damage.

Disadvantages include a linear scar on the scalp, requirement of stitches removal after one week.

Laxmi Kanta Mishra

Dr. Laxmi Kanta Mishra is a senior consultant, Plastic, Cosmetic and Hair restoration Surgery at Apollo Hospitals, Bhubaneswar, Odisha.

He is also the director of Soundarya cosmetic and Laser Surgery Center. He can be reached at 8093050023/9437920023 email–

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