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Alopecia
Introduction and CausesSymptoms and Effects
PreventionTreatment and Self-help

Introduction and Causes
Symptoms and Effects
Prevention
Treatment and Self-help
 

What is hair loss?

On average, about 100 hairs are lost from the head every day. The hair falls out naturally and is replaced by a new hair. Hair loss, baldness or alopecia results when hair loss occurs at an abnormally high rate, while hair replacement occurs at an abnormally slow rate, or while normal hairs are replaced by thinner and shorter ones.

What causes it?

Possible causes of hair loss include:

  • A family history of baldness (especially male-pattern baldness)
  • Certain diseases, e.g. diabetes mellitus, thyroid disorders
  • Scalp infection or skin damage
  • Some medications, e.g. anti-cancer drugs, hypotensive drugs, anti-depressants
  • Radiotherapy
  • Poor nutrition, e.g. inadequate protein or iron
  • Stress
Do You Know...

Smoking can cause impotence and premature baldness in men.



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Health Alert

Non-pathological hair loss is a normal physiological phenomenon. It is important to seek dermatologist's opinion or medical advice to identify any underlying causes before starting any treatment.

 

What are the early signs and symptoms?

If you have male-pattern baldness, you may experience hair loss as early as your teen years. It is typically characterized by hair loss that begins at the temples and the crown, resulting in partial or complete baldness.

With alopecia areata, you will notice small and round patchy hair loss on the scalp.


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How can I prevent it?

Currently there is no way to prevent male pattern baldness (which seems to involve hormonal and genetic factors) from occurring.

What should I do if I have suspicious signs and symptoms?

If you notice that your hair fails to grow out normally, continual hair loss is suspected, or the skin under the involved area is abnormal, you should consult a doctor.

 

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What is the treatment?

The doctor may examine hair sample under microscope, or carry out other investigations like blood tests and tissue sampling to find out the type and cause of the baldness.

Treatment for baldness is available and may include medications to help promote hair growth, surgery (e.g. hair transplantation), or cosmetic treatment to hide hair loss, alone or in combination. Drug treatment can promote hair growth or delay hair loss, but the period of treatment may be prolonged and results vary among patients. The doctor will recommend the optimal treatment depending on the cause, along with the extent to which it affects the patient's life, and the presence of any other medical conditions.

How can I help myself?

It should be noted that non-pathological hair loss is a normal physiological phenomenon. It is important to seek dermatologist's opinion or medical advice to identify any underlying causes before starting any treatment.

Do not use drugs without a doctor's prescription as wrong use of these drugs may lead to serious side effects, such as irritation of the scalp, loss of sex drive or impotence.

If you have any suspicions, you should seek medical advice.

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Last revision date: 2018-01-17