Hair loss, or alopecia, is a troubling affliction for men and women of all ages, including children. It may present as thinning of the scalp hair, or as patches that are completely bald. Shedding may occur suddenly or slowly over time. Hair loss may accompany changes to the underlying skin of the scalp, but in many cases it does not.
What causes hair loss?
Expert evaluation is necessarily to identify and treat the underlying cause, which may be any of the following:
- Pattern thinning/baldness, which is genetic in origin
- Underlying abnormalities of the blood or thyroid
- Medication induced hair loss
- Autoimmune disease
- Inflammatory/scarring skin conditions that damage the hair follicles
- Stress-induced shedding related to physical illness or mental/emotional distress
- Hair manipulation or styling methods
Treatment Options for hair loss
In addition to a thorough history and examination, it may be useful to perform a scalp biopsy, examine the hair under a microscope, or order blood tests to pinpoint the cause of alopecia. After a diagnosis is made, treatment options include topical or oral medications, corticosteroid injections, immunotherapy, and light therapy.