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Hair loss

Female pattern hair loss with thinning on the top

Female pattern hair loss with thinning on the top

What is Male and Female Pattern Hair Loss?

Excessive hair loss is defined as daily hair loss of more than 100 strands of hair and the most common hair loss disorder in adult men and women is male and female pattern hair loss respectively. They are gradually progressive and follow a recognizable diffuse pattern. In male, there is usually receding hairline with baldness on the top of the scalp. In female, the hair becomes thin and fine over the crown and with reduction of hair volume.

 

What is Telogen Effluvium (Stress Induced Hair Loss)?

In Telogen Effluvium, there is acute shedding of telogen (resting) hairs typically occurring three months after a stressful trigger. Physical or mental stress like child birth, high fever, severe illness, depression or divorce can trigger this type of hair loss. Patients typically complain of excess shedding of hairs during washing, on brushes, and even on pillows and clothes.

Patchy balding in a 7 year old boy

Patchy balding in a 7 year old boy with alopecia areata

What is Alopecia Areata (balding patches)?

In this disorder, your own immune system, while protecting your body against foreign germs such as viruses and bacteria, mistakenly attacks your own hair follicles and leads to patchy hair loss on the scalp. This can sometimes occur even on eye brow, beard and other areas with hair.

Other causes of Hair Loss

Medical problems like scalp infections, thyroid disorders, and iron deficiency can cause hair loss. Some medications are also known to trigger hair loss.

Treatment Options Available

  • Topical treatment involves applying medication to the balding patch to arrest the hair loss. In some patients, significant regrowth and increase in hair thickness can happen, but it takes patience, discipline and commitment to see result in 1-2 years’ time.
  • Oral treatment e.g. finasteride, anti-androgen is easier for one to follow and has better result than topical treatment.
  • Injection treatment is often the first line treatment for Alopecia Areata.
  • Hair transplant is a commonly accepted surgical solution to hair loss. It involves taking one’s own hair from the back of the scalp that is thought to be permanently hair bearing and transplant these hair grafts to the balding area. The procedure does not stop the underlying problem of ongoing hair loss and hence patient still needs to be on concurrent topical and oral medication.

 

Other Scalp Problems

Dandruff

Dandruff is the shedding of dead skin cells from the scalp at an excessive rate and it can be itchy at times. It could be due to fungal organisms, infrequent shampooing of hair or inadequate rinsing. Treatment include scales softener and medicated prescriptive hair lotion or shampoo.

Head Lice

Head lice are small, grayish wingless insects that are roughly the size of a sesame seed when fully grown. They feed off blood obtained by biting the scalp. Symptoms vary from none to itchy scalp if one has developed sensitivity to their saliva. Dr Wong will start treatment when he identifies the  live lice on the head.

In essence, there are many different possibility for your hair loss or scalp problem and making a accurate diagnosis is important. Please consult Dr Wong for a proper clinical evaluation and discuss about the most appropriate treatment option for your problem.

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