Sunday, October 24, 2010

Hair loss in men

Each strand of hair is enclosed in the cavity of the skin called a hair-follicle. These hair follicles replace older hair with newer one at different pace during the hair growth cycle. Hair grows approximately about an inch every couple of months, remains constant at that length for a brief period of time and then falls (withers) off after a period of about three to four months. About 90% of hair is in the growing phase at any given time. Although it is normal to lose some strands of hair each day as a part of the normal hair growth cycle, some people experience excessive loss of hair which may become a cause of concern. Anyone can be affected by hair loss during their life time, which may occur due to a variety of reasons.In men who suffer from male-pattern baldness, the hair growth cycle treads a different route. The follicles shrink over a period time, reducing in size, while new hair does not grow. In normal conditions, new hair should grow back. But in men who are balding, the end result is either shorter and much finer hair or no growth of new hair at all.
Causes of Hair Loss
A number of factors could be accelerating hair loss.
  • Poor nutritional status due to consumption of unbalanced meals(deficient in nutrients like protein, iron, zinc, B-complex vitamins,vitamin E, and vitamin A) for prolonged periods of time may affect overall health of the hair. In addition to this, fad diets, crash dieting and eating disorders may also contribute to hair loss. This type of hair loss can be reversed by adequate nutrition.
  • Stress related to an illness or surgery can also cause hair loss but it is usually temporary. Stress-related hair loss is temporary; it reverses once the stress goes away.
  • Certain medications like anticoagulants, anti depressants, medications used in the treatment of high blood pressure, gout and Cardiovascular problems also may be responsible for triggering hair fall. When the medications are discontinued, hair loss can be restored.
  • Hormonal problems, Thyroid disorders, underlying disease (diabetes, lupus); infections of the scalp (fungal, ringworm) may also result in excess hair fall. This type of hair fall can be reversed by treating the underlying cause.
  • Trichotillomania,a mental illness where in a person is habituated to pulling or twisting hair from the scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes or other areas of the body could also contribute to the problem of hair loss.

A detailed examination of scalp is helpful in assessing the severity of the condition. Depending upon the type of hair loss you are suffering from, your doctor will suggest suitable treatment options.

Hair loss due to poor nutrition can be combated by eating a balanced diet and incorporating it in your daily schedule. Hair loss from fungal infections can be treated with medicated shampoos and oral medications as prescribed by your doctor.

Male pattern hair loss, by far the most common among men, cannot be“cured”. However, certain medicines may be able to prevent the remaining hair on the head from falling off. Minoxidil and Finasteride are the two most popular medicines in this regard.

Finasteride is an oral drug while Minoxidil is a topical medicine to be applied on the scalp. These medications work to prevent further hair loss; in some men, these medications may even promote the growth of new hair. However, they are not approved by the FDA for use in hair loss.

To improve the cosmetic appeal of men who have undergone excessive hair loss, other alternatives include hair weaving, hair wigs, hairpieces and hair transplantation. Hair transplantation involves removal of small plugs of hair from areas where it continues to grow and tucking them in the bald portions. Since the results are often permanent, it serves to provide a great amount of relief for bald men.

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