There can be a number of factors and ailments associated with hair loss. Here is some general information on them.
Male and female pattern baldness
Male-pattern baldness is the most common type of hair loss. As well as affecting men, it can sometimes affect women (female-pattern baldness). It can be particularly difficult for both men and women to cope with. Male-pattern baldness follows a pattern of a receding hairline, followed by thinning of the hair on the crown and temples. During female-pattern baldness, hair usually only thins on top of the head. Male- and female-pattern baldness is also called androgenic or androgenetic alopecia. Male-pattern baldness is a condition that runs in families, but it is not clear if this is the case with female-pattern baldness.
Alopecia areata is patches of baldness that may come and go. It can occur at any age, but mostly affects teenagers and young adults. Six out of 10 people affected develop their first bald patch before they are 20 years old. Alopecia areata is thought to be caused by a problem with the immune system (the body’s natural defence against infection and illness). It is also believed that some people’s genes make them more susceptible to alopecia areata, as one in five people with the condition have a family history of the condition. In many cases the hair grows back after about a year.
Scarring alopecia, also known as cicatricial alopecia, is hair loss that can occur as a result of complications from another condition. In this type of alopecia, the hair follicle (the small hole in your skin that an individual hair grows out of) is completely destroyed. This means your hair will not grow back. Conditions that can cause scarring alopecia include lichen planus (an itchy rash affecting many areas of the body) and discoid lupus (a mild form of lupus affecting the skin, causing scaly marks and hair loss).
Anagen effluvium is widespread hair loss that can affect your scalp, face and body. One of the most common causes of this type of hair loss is the cancer treatment chemotherapy. It may be possible to reduce hair loss from chemotherapy by wearing a special cap that keeps the scalp cool. However, scalp cooling is not always effective and not widely available. In most cases, hair loss in anagen effluvium is temporary. Your hair should start to grow back a few months after chemotherapy has stopped.
Telogen effluvium is a common type of alopecia where there is widespread thinning of the hair, rather than specific bald patches. Hair is shed from the scalp, usually as a reaction to stress or medication. This type of hair loss tends to improve without treatment after a few months. Read more about the symptoms of hair loss and the causes of hair loss.
Chemotherapy is used if a cancer has spread or if there is a risk that it will. The main aim of treatment may be:
- to try to cure cancer completely – this is known as curative chemotherapy
- to help make other treatments more effective – for example, chemotherapy can be combined with radiotherapy (where radiation is used to kill cancerous cells), or it can be used before surgery
- to reduce the risk of the cancer returning after surgery or radiotherapy
- to relieve symptoms – a cure may not be possible for advanced cancer, but chemotherapy may be used to relieve the symptoms and slow the spread of the condition. This is known as palliative chemotherapy
Less commonly, chemotherapy is used to treat non-cancerous conditions. For example, low doses have been used to treat lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
Information reference: http://www.nhs.uk/