Baldness

Below you will find more information about Baldness from Medigest. If you believe that you are suffering from any of the symptoms of Baldness it is important that you obtain an accurate diagnosis from a medical professional to ensure that you obtain the correct medication or treatment for your condition. There are medical conditions that carry similar symptoms associated with Baldness and therefore the information provided by Medigest is offered as a guideline only and should never be used in preference to seeking professional medical advice. The information relating to Baldness comes from a third party source and Medigest will not be held liable for any inaccuracies relating to the information shown.

Definition

Baldness refers to extreme hair loss from an individual's scalp, and may be either permanent or temporary. Baldness is known medically as Alopeicia.

Diagnosis

Baldness can be diagnosed based on a physical examination of the patient, along with his/her family history and medical history. Some tests used to confirm diagnosis are: a simple pull test to show how much hair can come out from pulling; analysis of skin scrapings to identify any infections; a punch biopsy to determine scarring; as well as other screening tests to determine any related diseases.

Treatment

While there is currently no known cure for permanent baldness, certain treatments are available to slow the rate of hair loss. Some of the medications used with varying success are: Minoxidil, Finasteride, Corticosteroids, and Anthralin (Dritho-Scalp). In some cases, hair may be surgically transplanted to cover the balding scalp. Alternatively, wigs and hairpieces may be worn to hide the condition.

Symptoms and Signs

Permanent baldness is characterized by permanent hair loss. The most common type of permanent hair loss is male-pattern baldness (or androgenetic alopecia), which occurs in males. Very rarely, it may also affect females (female-pattern baldness or androgenetic alopecia). Permanent baldness may manifest early, often in the second decade of life. Another form of permanent hair loss is called cicatricial alopecia, wherein the hair follicle is inflamed, becomes damaged, and is eventually scarred. The latter is linked to symptoms of mild itching and pain. Temporary hair loss, on the other hand, typically appears as small, round, and smooth patches on the scalp. In some cases, it may cause hair loss in every part of the body (i.e. alopecia totalis); but typically, this condition is limited to the scalp. Before the actual hair loss, the patient may experience soreness and itching in the affected areas. Other forms of temporary hair loss are telogen effluvium, in which hair thinning occurs unexpectedly; and traction alopecia, in which hair loss occurs because of frequent pulling from the scalp.

Causes

The specific cause of baldness depends largely on its type. Pattern Baldness is linked to a number of genetic factors. Scarring or cicatrical alopecia is usually caused by skin conditions which inflame and damage hair follicles. Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease with currently no identified cause, although it is believed to be hereditary. Telogen effluvium is caused by a change in the normal hair cycle. Meanwhile, traction alopecia is caused by extreme hairstyle changes that pull the hair too firmly, scarring and damaging the roots, and eventually leading to hair loss. Other potential causes of hair loss are as follows: low iron diet, poor nutrition, ingestion of certain medications such as birth control pills, diseases such as diabetes or lupus, hormonal changes, exposure to hair treatments, scalp infections, and a hair-pulling disorder known as trichotillomania.

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