Alopecia is the medical term for hair loss. There are many types of hair loss with different symptoms and causes. In Hindi, it is also known as ‘Ganjapan’. It may be diffused or localized to one or several areas on the scalp. This may be associated with many other disorders. It may be scarring or non-scarring.
Adult male pattern baldness is most commonly seen. It is also known as androgenic alopecia. It is caused due to genetics and is associated with male sex hormones testosterone.
Main causes of Alopecia or Hair loss
A type of alopecia which is a temporary type known as telogen effluvium is also seen in various cases like severe illness after childbirth and stress. Telogen Effluvium is the second most common form of hair loss. In this condition, there is a thinning of hair due to lesser growth but more fall. This can be caused due to surgery, trauma, stress, high fever, weight loss, changes in hormones, etc.
Post febrile alopecia commonly seen after fever occurs when a fever exceeds 39 C, particularly with recurrent episodes.
Hair loss is also seen in various diseases such as typhoid, influenza, malaria, etc.
Dietary factors such as iron deficiency and hypoproteinaemia may play a role but are rarely the sole cause of diffuse alopecia.
Malnutrition with a protein deficiency also causes alopecia.
Fungal infections of the scalp may cause patchy hair loss.
A mental disorder, Trichotillomania, in which a person pulls his or her own hair may cause loss of hair.
Complete hair loss is a common result of cancer chemotherapy, due to the toxicity of the drugs used.
Systemic diseases often affect hair growth either selectively or by altering the skin of the scalp. One example is thyroid disorders. Hyperthyroidism (too much thyroid hormone) causes hair to become thin and fine. Hypothyroidism (too little thyroid hormone) thickens both hair and skin.
Certain medicines like cytotoxic agents, anticoagulants, immunosuppressants, and some anti-thyroid drugs may cause diffuse hair loss.
Another type of hair loss is Alopecia areata, which is defined as a type of hair loss caused by the attack of the immune system on hair follicles. Damage to hair follicles causes loss of hair from that area. It could be scalp or skin. In most cases, hair is lost in patches.
Causes of alopecia areata can be many such as genetic causes, associated with down’s syndrome.
Along with these types, there is another type known as scarring alopecia which can be due to various causes like trauma, burns, bacterial infections, pyogenic infection, (any pus-forming ) infection syphilis ( commonly known as updates which is a sexual disease).
Various other causes of hair loss are Psoriasis, Lupus erythematosus, Herpes (zoster and simplex), etc.
Common myths regarding baldness
Myth: Cutting and shaving affect the future growth and texture of hair.
Fact: Research has shown that neither of these activities affects the growth or the texture of hair.
Myth: To have healthy hair, you need to eat a lot of protein.
Fact: Hair is mostly made up of protein. To have healthy hair requires the same balance of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals as the rest of the body. Eating enough of a wide variety of foods is the key to a healthy body, including healthy-looking hair.
Myth: Baldness is a genetic trait inherited through the mother’s side of the family.
Fact: It is true that susceptibility to hair loss is genetically determined. However, baldness can be inherited from either the maternal or paternal side of the family. It is genetic in nature.
Myth: Hair loss can begin at any age
Fact: Male type of baldness is seen soon after puberty. It usually begins in the mid-twenties. The female type of baldness can be seen after childbirth (temporary) or after menopause.
Treatment of Hair Loss
Here is given a list of few medicines that are used for the treatment of alopecia.
Fluoricum acidum 30
This medicine is especially useful for chronic disease with syphilitic conditions it is the best-suited medicine for hair loss.
Kali carb 30
It is given in cases of extreme dryness of hair and falling of hairs. It further prevents the thinning of hairs and automatically produces hair growth.
It can be given in premature balding, in women who have hair fall after childbirth. It also prevents greying of hair.
It is used for strengthening hair and treating hair dryness.