Hairfall or Hair loss?
Synonyms: Alopecia, Baldness.
Normal Growth cycle of Hair follicles consists of following phases:
- Long growing phase (Anagen)
- Short transitional phase (Catagen)
- Short resting phase (Telogen)
- Falling out of hair (Exogen) and
- A new hair starts growing in the follicle beginning the cycle again.
Normal Hair fall: People have between 100,000 and 150,000 hair strands on their head. Hair reach the end of their resting phase & fall out. The number of hair strands normally lost in a day varies, but on an average it is about 40-100 hair. In order to maintain the normal volume, hair must be replaced at the same rate at which it is lost. When more than 100 hair fall out per day, clinical hair loss (Telogen effluvium) may occur.
A disruption of the growing phase causes abnormal loss of hairs (Anagen effluvium).
The first & foremost signs of hair falling or thinning that people will often notice are more hairs than usual left in the hairbrush after brushing or in the basin after shampooing or on your pillow.
Types of hair loss:-
Pattern baldness: Inherited or Genetic baldness. It is also known as Androgenetic alopecia (failure of production of new hair, not due to excessive hair loss). This type of baldness is generally permanent.
Pattern baldness or androgenetic alopecia is more common in men than in women. About 25% of men begin to bald by the time they approach age 30, and about two third are either bald or have balding pattern by the age 60.
Male pattern baldness involves receding hair line and thinning around the crown with eventual bald spots. Ultimately only a horseshoe ring of hair remain around the sides. In addition to the genes, male pattern baldness seems to require the presence of male hormone, testosterone. Males who don’t produce testosterone (because of genetic abnormalities or castration) do not develop this pattern baldness.
Female pattern baldness is similar to its male counterpart, although it is rarely complete. This pattern of baldness in some women is due to genetics, age and male hormones that tend to increase in women after menopause. It involves thinning of hair throughout the scalp while the frontal hairline remains intact.
In addition to the common male and female pattern, the following are other types of hair loss (some of which are temporary).
Alopecia Areata: An autoimmune disorder, where the immune system attacks the hair follicles causing hair loss on the scalp and other parts of body in patches like beard, moustache, eyebrows, eyelashes etc. However, the hair follicles are active so there is potential of hair regrowth, if the underlying problem has resolved. In some cases, though, the disease can advance to total loss of hair from scalp (Alopecia Totalis) or complete loss of hair from body (Alopecia Universalis).
Tinea Capitis: Hair loss due to the fungal infection which is easily treatable with Homoeopathy
Hormonal Hair loss: This type of hair loss is due to the increase or decrease of thyroid hormones which stops once the underlying disease is treated.
Imbalance of Oestrogen (Female hormone) or Androgen (Male hormone) can be the cause of hair loss. Once this imbalance is corrected, hair loss might stop. Some women experience hair loss after parturition which is due to the hormonal changes.
Telogen Effluvium is temporary hair loss, which can occur after chronic or serious illnesses, major surgery, emotional or physical stress.
Hair loss due to chemotherapy which targets rapidly dividing cells, so affects the actively growing hair cells. After the treatment finished, hairs may regrow. This type of hair loss also occur with radiation therapy but is localized to the area of treatment.
Anagen Effluvium: Hair loss due to chemotherapy targets rapidly dividing cells, affecting the actively growing hair cells. After the treatment, hair may regrow. This type of hair loss also occurs with radiation therapy but is localized to the area of treatment. Homoeopathy has good scope in such cases of hair falling.
Cicatrical/ Scarring alopecia: Hair loss occurs when inflammation damages the hair follicles and replaces it with scar tissue. The inflammation that destroys the follicle is under the skin surface so affected areas of the scalp may show little signs of inflammation. Cause of inflammation is not known. If the inflammation destroys the stem cells and sebaceous glands, then hair loss is permanent.
Diseases such as diabetes, lupus, kidney failure can cause hair loss.
Trichotillomania is a psychological condition where the individual has strong urge to pull out their own hair.
Causes of Hair loss:
Hormones, such as abnormal levels of androgens (male hormone normally produced by both males and females)
Genes, from both male and female parents, may influence a person’s predisposition to male or female pattern baldness.
Stress, illness and childbirth can cause temporary hair loss. Fungal infection such as Ringworm can also cause hair loss.
Drugs, including chemotherapy drugs used in cancer treatment, anticoagulants or blood thinners, beta adrenergic blockers used to control blood pressure, birth control pills, antidepressants, certain medicines used to treat gout can cause temporary hair loss.
Burns, injuries and X-rays can cause temporary hair loss. In such cases normal hair growth usually returns once the injury heals unless a scar is produced, after which hair will never regrow.
Autoimmune diseases may cause alopecia areata. In alopecia areata, the immune system affects hair follicles with no known reasons. In most people with alopecia areata, the hair grows back although it may be temporarily fine and possibly of lighter colour before normal colour and thickness return.
Cosmetic procedures such as shampooing too often, perming, bleaching and dyeing hair can contribute to overall hair thinning and responsible for weak and brittle hair. Tight braiding, using rollers or hot curlers and running hair picks through tight curls can also damage and break hair. However, these procedures don’t cause baldness. In most instances, hair grow back normally if the source of problem is removed. Severe damage to the hair or scalp sometimes causes permanent bald patches.
Medical conditions like thyroid disorders, diabetes, iron deficiency, eating disorders and anaemia, skin diseases like psoriasis, lupus etc. can cause hair loss. Most times, when underlying condition is treated, hair will return unless there is scarring as in some forms of lupus, lichen planus or follicular disorders.
Diet: A low protein diet or severely calorie restricted diet can also cause temporary hair loss.
When to seek medical care?
Most often hair loss occurs without other signs of illnesses. You may see your doctor if you are losing increased amount of hair (more than 100 a day) to evaluate if there is any medical reason lurking behind it and to find out ways to treat it.
If the following symptoms occur at the same time with hair loss, you may suffer from some serious medical condition and you should see a doctor immediately.
- Poor appetite
- Weight loss
- Trouble breathing
- Skin problems
There are a lot of beneficial Homoeopathic remedies for Hair falling and the associated complaints like dandruff, premature greying etc. The medicines may vary individual to individual according to the symptom similarity.
We, at Orbit clinics, provide world class effective Homoeopathic treatment for Hair falling and other associated complaints like dandruff, itching, premature greying, balding of scalp etc. The holistic treatment is necessary to correct or remove the root cause responsible for causing such hair problems. We have successfully treated thousands of cases at Orbit Clinics since 2008. Few indicated remedies with indications are as follows:
- Phosphorus: itching of scalp, dandruff, falling out of hair in large bunches
- Selenium: hair fall out from scalp, brows, beard and genitals. Scalp feels tense
- Natrum muriaticum: hair falls out when touched, in nursing women; face oily, shiny, as if greased
- Sepia: hair fallout, roots of hair sensitive. Hair fall in nursing women. Pimples on forehead near hair.
- Other effective remedies like Arnica montana, Flouric acid, Pix liquida, Weisbeden, Phosphoric acid, Thyroidinum, Pilocarpus, Kali sulph etc may also help.
Advice: Do not take any medicine without consulting your doctor
Dr Shweta Singh
Senior Consultant, Orbit Clinics
With inputs from Dr Deepak Sharma