Hair Loss Symptoms
Hair loss, also known as alopecia, is a common condition that can affect individuals of all ages and genders. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), the average individual experiences a daily hair loss ranging from 50 to 100 hairs. This physiological process may intensify with age, leading to a higher natural shedding rate. Furthermore, external factors such as stressful events or certain triggers have the potential to increase hair loss, causing an individual to shed a greater quantity of hair than normal.
The Normal Hair Cycle Consists Of Three Main Phases:
- Anagen (Growth Phase): This is the active phase of hair growth, where cells in the hair follicles rapidly divide, and hair grows continuously. The duration of the anagen phase varies among individuals, but it typically lasts for 2 to 7 years.
- Catagen (Resting Phase): In this short transitional phase, the hair follicle shrinks, and cell division ceases. This phase lasts for about 2 to 3 weeks. Only a small percentage of hair is in the catagen phase at any given time.
- Telogen (Falling Phase): During the telogen phase, the hair follicle is at rest, and no growth occurs. This phase lasts for about 2 to 3 months. Afterward, the hair strand falls out, and a new hair begins to grow, starting the cycle anew.
It's important to note that at any given time, various hair are in different phases of the growth cycle. The average person sheds about 50 to 100 hair daily as part of the natural hair renewal process. Hair loss becomes a concern when the balance between hair loss and growth is disrupted, leading to noticeable thinning or signs of balding.
Common Symptoms of Hair Loss:
Hair loss can be caused in various ways, and the hair fall symptoms can differ based on the underlying condition. Here are some common symptoms associated with hair loss:
- Gradual Thinning: One of the early symptoms of hair loss is a gradual thinning of hair, especially on the top of the head. This is more common in men and is often referred to as male-pattern baldness or androgenetic/androgenic alopecia. This may also be linked to a family history of hair loss.
- Circular or Patchy Bald Spots: Some individuals may experience bald spots or bald patches, which can occur anywhere on the scalp. This type of hair baldness symptoms is known as Alopecia areata.
- Sudden Hair Loss: Certain conditions, such as telogen effluvium, can cause a sudden and noticeable shedding of hair. This might be triggered by a stressful event, any significant change in the body, or certain medical conditions. The individual might start noticing hair loss very suddenly.
- Full-Body Hair Loss: In some cases, hair loss isn't limited to the scalp but can extend to other parts of the body. This is more commonly associated with autoimmune conditions.
- Scaly Patches or Skin Disorders: Conditions like psoriasis or seborrheic dermatitis can affect the scalp, leading to itching, redness, and in some cases, hair loss.
- Loosening of Hair: A condition called telogen effluvium can cause a significant number of hair follicles to enter the resting phase simultaneously, leading to a noticeable increase in hair shedding when washing or combing.
- Patches of Scaling that Spread Over the Scalp: This could be a sign of ringworm, a fungal infection that can lead to hair loss.
- Inherited Hair Loss: Certain types of hair loss, such as male-pattern baldness or female-pattern baldness, have a genetic predisposition and may run in families. This is usually a common cause of hair loss.
- Receding Hairline: In men, a receding hairline, especially around the temples, is often an early sign of male-pattern baldness.
- Decreased Hair Density: Some people may notice a decrease in the overall density of their hair, making it look less full or thinner.
Signs and Symptoms of Hair Loss in Men:
- Receding Hairline: Gradual thinning or recession of the hairline, often starting at the temples and progressing towards the crown.
- Bald Spots: Formation of bald spots, especially at the crown of the head. Hair loss may result in a horseshoe-shaped pattern of remaining hair.
- Thinning at the Crown: Men may notice increased thinning or loss of hair at the top (crown) of the scalp.
- Increased Hair Shedding: Excessive hair shedding during routine activities such as washing, combing, or styling. Finding more hair in the shower or on the pillow than usual.
- Visible Scalp: The scalp may become more visible through the hair due to thinning.
- Change in Hair Texture: Hair may become finer and less dense in areas affected by hair loss.
Know more about early stages of male pattern baldness
Hair Loss Symptoms of Women:
- Widening of the Parting: A widening of the hair parting, often with increased visibility of the scalp. This is commonly seen in female pattern hair loss.
- Thinning All Over: Unlike men who often experience localized balding, women may notice diffuse hair thinning all over the scalp. This is the most common hair loss symptoms in females.
- Reduced Volume: Hair may appear less voluminous, and ponytails or braids may feel thinner.
- Excessive Shedding: This type of hair loss include increased hair shedding, particularly noticeable during activities like brushing, washing, or styling.
- Changes in Hairline: Unlike men with a receding hairline, women may experience a more generalized thinning without a distinct pattern.
- Miniaturized Hair: The appearance of finer, shorter hairs on the scalp, known as miniaturization, indicating weaker and less healthy hair.
Hair Diagnostic Tests and Available Treatments
Common diagnostic tests for determining the cause of hair loss and various treatment options, including medications like minoxidil and finasteride.
Diagnostic Tests for Hair Loss:
- Scalp Analysis: Visual inspection of the scalp and hair follicles to identify signs of inflammation, infections, or structural abnormalities. Microscopic examination to assess the health of the hair shaft and follicles.
- Blood Tests: Hormone Levels: Evaluate levels of hormones like testosterone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), thyroid hormones, and estrogen, as imbalances can contribute to hair loss. Iron and Ferritin Levels: Low iron levels can lead to hair thinning and shedding.
- Biopsy: A small tissue sample is taken from the scalp for microscopic examination to determine the underlying cause of hair loss, such as alopecia areata or scarring alopecia.
- Pull Test: A gentle pull on the hair to assess the number of hairs shed, helping to identify excessive hair loss.
- Hair Pulling and Plucking Tests: Assessing the ease with which hair can be pulled or plucked can provide insights into the strength and health of hair.
- Trichogram: Microscopic analysis of plucked hairs to assess the proportion of growing, resting, and shedding hairs.
Available Treatments for Hair Loss:
Minoxidil: Stimulates hair growth by increasing blood flow to the hair follicles. Apply directly to the scalp.
Potential side effects: Skin irritation and dryness, Unwanted facial hair growth, Initial shedding before new hair growth
Topical Corticosteroids: Reduce inflammation on the scalp and promote hair growth.
Potential side effects: Skin thinning, Discoloration, Acne
Finasteride: Blocks the conversion of testosterone to DHT, preventing hair follicle shrinkage. Used for male-pattern baldness.
Potential side effects: Sexual side effects (e.g., decreased libido, erectile dysfunction), Breast tenderness or enlargement
Dutasteride: Similar to finasteride but inhibits more types of DHT. Potential side effects of Oral Medications:
Potential side effects: Similar sexual side effects as finasteride
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy:
Involves injecting a concentration of the patient's own platelets into the scalp to stimulate hair growth.
Potential Side Effects of PRP Therapy: Mild pain or discomfort at the injection site, Minimal risk of infection
Surgical procedure where hair follicles from one part of the body (usually the back of the scalp) are transplanted to the balding areas.
Potential Side Effects of hair transplant:
- Swelling: Expected post-surgery in scalp, forehead, or eyes, usually temporary.
- Bleeding: Minimal during or after the procedure; report persistent bleeding to the surgeon.
- Infection: Rare but possible; crucial to follow post-op care and prescribed
It's important to consult with a homeopathy trichologist or healthcare professional for personalized advice and to discuss the potential benefits and risks of specific diagnostic tests and treatments based on individual circumstances.
Homeopathic Remedies for Hair Loss
Homeopathic remedies offer a holistic approach to address the underlying causes. It's important to note that individual cases may vary, and a personalized consultation is crucial for effective homeopathy hair treatment. Here are some key homeopathic remedies commonly used for treating hair loss symptoms:
- Arnica montana: This remedy is often indicated when hair loss is a result of trauma, injury, or excessive use of hair products. It can help in promoting hair growth and preventing further hair loss.
- Silicea: Individuals experiencing slow hair growth or brittle hair may benefit from Silicea. It is also useful when there is a tendency for hair to fall out in small bunches.
- Thuja occidentalis: Hair loss due to dandruff, dry scalp, or fungal infections may respond well to Thuja. It is particularly helpful when hair loss is accompanied by skin issues on the scalp.
- Phosphorus: This remedy is often prescribed when hair loss is associated with anemia or general weakness. It can also be beneficial for individuals with a history of chemical exposure or excessive hair dye usage.
- Lycopodium: When hair loss is linked to hormonal imbalances, particularly in cases of androgenetic alopecia, Lycopodium may be recommended. It can also help with premature graying.
The homeopathic consultation process for individuals seeking treatment for hair loss involves a thorough examination of symptoms, medical history, and lifestyle factors. During the consultation:
- Symptoms: Discussing the specific characteristics of hair loss, such as pattern, texture, and associated symptoms like itching or burning, is crucial for selecting the appropriate remedy.
- Medical history: Understanding the individual's medical history helps identify any underlying health issues or medications that may contribute to hair loss.
- Lifestyle: Factors like diet, stress levels, sleep patterns, and exposure to environmental toxins play a significant role in hair health. Addressing these aspects can enhance the effectiveness of homeopathic treatment.
Tailored remedies are then prescribed based on the individual's unique symptom profile. Homeopathy aims to treat the person as a whole, considering physical, mental, and emotional aspects. It's important to follow the prescribed dosage and inform the trichologist of any changes in symptoms during follow-up consultations for adjustments to the treatment plan.
Remember, homeopathic remedies are highly individualized, and consulting with a qualified homeopathic trichologist is essential for personalized and effective treatment.
B.H.M.S (Maharashtra University of Health Sciences)
FCHD (Fellowship in Homeopathic Dermatologist - Mumbai)
What is the most effective method of preventing hair loss?
The most preferred and advised method to stop hair fall is homeopathic treatment. After thoroughly examining the patient's medical history and taking into account the patient's lifestyle, sensitivities, and degree of hair loss, homeopathy treatment focuses on the underlying cause of the hair issue. Our hair doctors also advise homeopathy and other internationally recognized aesthetic hair treatments during the consultation for better outcomes.
What are the three main hair issues?
Numerous genetic or immunological illnesses and other conditions can all be linked to hair loss. Androgenetic alopecia (male or female pattern hair loss), alopecia areata (pathy hair loss), and scarring alopecia (an inflammation-related condition that scars skin by destroying hair follicles) are the three main hair conditions.
Which vitamin is best for preventing hair loss?
For healthy, longer hair, nutrients including biotin, niacin (vitamin B3), vitamin c, zinc, and iron are crucial. Consuming a healthy, vitamin and mineral-rich diet is essential for hair growth and can stop hair loss in both men and women.
How many hair strands grow each day?
According to The American Academy of Dermatology, hair usually grows 6 inches each year and half an inch per month on average. Your age, hair type, level of baldness, general health, and other factors will all play a role in this.
What is the common age for baldness in men?
By the age of 35, almost two-thirds of men will start experiencing male pattern hair loss, according to the American Hair Loss Association. Additionally, by the age of 50, 85% of the world's population will experience hair loss.
What are the Early Signs Of Hair Loss?
Addressing early signs of hair loss involves adopting a proactive approach. Firstly, consult a dermatologist or a trichologist for a professional assessment. Incorporate a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals essential for hair health. Avoid harsh chemical treatments and limit heat styling to prevent further damage. Use mild, sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners. Explore topical treatments under professional guidance. Manage stress through relaxation techniques. Regular scalp massages may stimulate blood flow. If the issue persists, consider advanced hair treatments. Early intervention enhances the chances of successful hair preservation and regrowth.