Unfortunately, in the modern world, we still experience hair loss. Even with our abundance of technology, many individuals will experience hair loss throughout their lives. This impacts both men and women and can have a wide array of impacts from person to person. For some, hair loss is accepted as part of life. However, for others, they wish to retain their hair as it once was. The best way of doing this is to visit a professional hair loss clinic, here; they can diagnose the causes of your hair loss, as well as provide you with comprehensive solutions as to which procedure will be the best for you.
Diagnosis for Hair Loss
Before making any diagnosis, a doctor will usually provide you with a physical examination; ask about your diet, your hair routine as well as the medical history of your family. They may also ask you to take tests such as:
Blood Tests: These can help to uncover any unseen medical conditions that can result in hair loss.
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Pull Test: Your doctor will pull several hairs from your head to see how many come out. This will help to determine what stage of hair loss you are at.
Scalp Biopsy: During this test, your doctor will scrape samples from the skin or a few hairs that have been plucked from your scalp. They will then be examined under a microscope. This can determine whether or not your hair loss is being caused by an infection.
Light Microscopy: A special instrument will be used to examine hairs trimmed at the base. This helps to discover any potential disorders of the hair shaft.
What Treatment is the Best for Me?
Luckily, due to modern technology, there are a number of effective treatments for certain types of hair loss. As a result, it is possible to slow down hair loss and reverse it altogether. With certain conditions, such as alopecia areata (also known as patchy hair loss) your hair may actually regrow back in less than a year without any treatment being needed. Here are some of the options you should consider when it comes to seeking treatment.
Medication is the best option for hair loss. The medication will help to treat the disease which will, therefore, reduce your hair loss. If the medication itself is the reason for hair loss, it may be advised by a professional that you stop using it for at least a few months. Medications are also available to treat pattern baldness (also known as hereditary). These include:
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Minoxidil: This can be purchased over-the-counter (nonprescription) minoxidil and comes in liquid, foam, and shampoo forms. For the greatest effect, apply the product directly to your scalp once a day for women and twice a day for men. The foam can also be applied to the scalp when the hair is wet.
Products that contain doses of minoxidil are used to help thousands of individuals regrow their hair or at least slow the rate of hair loss. In general, this medication will take around 6 months of treatment to prevent any further hair loss and begin the process of regrowth. After this 6 month period, it will take a further 3-5 months to determine whether or not the treatment is working. Should it have an impact, the medicine can be used indefinitely to maintain your benefits.
There are a few side effects of this medication including unwanted hair growth on the skin, face, and hands as well as potential scalp irritation the first few times it is used.
Finasteride (Propecia): Unlike Minoxidil, this is a prescription drug that has been designed for men. It must be taken once a day and helps to slow down the process of hair loss and may even cause new hair growth. It takes a few months to have any impact and require indefinite consumption or long-lasting impacts. However, it may not have a significant impact on elderly men.
Side effects include a lower sex drive. However, this is reversible upon discontinuation of the medicine. Not permanent damage.
Fortunately, there is no increased risk of high-grade prostate cancer [ Goodman PJ, New England Journal of Medicine. 2019;380 (4):393-394. However, women who are pregnant are also advised to avoid touching crushed or broken tablets.
Hair Transplant Surgery
This is the most common hair loss treatment for permanent hair loss in which the top of the head is affected. Hair transplants make use of what hair you have left to create new roots for hair to grow. Throughout the procedure, a dermatologist will remove hair from a part of the head that currently grows hair and moves this to a bald area. For every patch of hair, your scalp actually has several hairs. In some cases, a larger strip of the skin may also be used for certain areas. The patient is usually sedated for this process to limit any pain experienced.
Possible side effects include bleeding, bruising, swelling, and infection. However, these will usually fade a few days after the initial session. Sometimes, more than one session is required in order to get the impact you are looking for.
A low-level laser device as a treatment can also be used for both men and women who are experiencing hereditary hair loss. New research has shown that it can improve hair density and help hair growth to increase. However, due to the fact that the research is relatively new, more studies are required to determine the long-term impacts.