Alopecia is the medical term meaning “hair loss”. There are many different types of alopecia and it can affect both men and women of all ages. Some types of alopecia are reversible and are known as non-scarring alopecia. Other types of alopecia lead to permanent non-reversible hair loss and are called scarring alopecia.
Different types of hair loss include: alopecia areata, telogen effluvium, male or female pattern hair loss (also known as androgenetic hair loss), cicatricial alopecia, frontal fibrosing alopecia and traction alopecia. A complete medical evaluation may be needed to correctly diagnose which type of alopecia a patient has. A skin biopsy may be necessary and blood work may be performed to help determine the type of hair loss. Sometimes a cause can be identified but often times we do not know what triggers a person to lose their hair. In some instances stress, illness, childbirth or weight loss can be the culprit of hair thinning.
Depending on the type of hair loss, multiple treatment options are available. Over the counter treatments such as minoxidil (Rogaine) can be helpful for certain types of hair loss. Other times, prescription pills such as finasteride or spironolactone may be necessary. There are some in office procedures that can help regrow hair. Cortisone injections can be done by a health care provider to help stimulate hair growth. Platelet rich plasma (PRP) injection is a new, cutting edge procedure utilizing the patient’s own blood to help regrow hair. This is a safe, effective procedure with little to no downtime.
Many patients with hair loss suffer from anxiety and depression as a result of their hair condition. Prompt medical evaluation is important to stop or slow hair loss.