Hair loss: The top five causes of treatable hair loss according to an expert

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The NHS says hair loss is not usually anything to be worried about, but occasionally it can be a sign of a medical condition. Doctor Adam Friedmann, consultant dermatologist at Stratum Clinics said: “Hair loss is often treatable after the diagnosis has been established.” He said the treatment will vary depending on the cause.

The expert said a common cause is a nutrient deficiency, so this would be treated with replacements like thyroid or iron.

He added that if it’s genetic then you can’t stop it, “but you slow it down with things like Minoxidil or Finasteride”.

The Cleveland Clinic says: “It is important to note that premenopausal women should not take medications for hair loss treatment without using contraception.

“Many drugs, including minoxidil and finasteride, are not safe for pregnant women or women who want to get pregnant.”

The Mayo Clinic states: “You might want to try various hair care methods to find one that makes you feel better about how your hair looks.

Doctor Friedmann said: “Male pattern baldness is by far the most common cause of hair loss in men. This condition is also referred to as androgenetic alopecia.

“Although scientists are not completely certain what determines who gets male pattern hair loss, we do know there is a genetic component to the condition that can be inherited from either parent’s side of the family.”

Although some causes of hair loss are not treatable, many causes are, according to the expert.

He said the top five causes of treatable hair loss are:

  • Iron deficiency or low ferritin – a measure of the body’s iron stores. Treatable with iron replacement tablets
  • Overactive thyroid – treated in many ways depending on the cause
  • Underactive thyroid – treated with thyroxine replacement therapy
  • Genetic hair loss – this can be treated with hormone suppression tablets (in both men and women)
  • Alopecia Areata – usually patches of hair loss caused by the immune system treated with steroid injections.

The NHS says you should see a GP if:

  • You have sudden hair loss
  • You develop bald patches
  • You’re losing hair in clumps
  • Your head also itches and burns
  • You’re worried about your hair loss.

The health body says it is important to see a GP to get a clear idea about what’s causing your hair loss before thinking about going to a commercial hair clinic.

The Mayo Clinic explains hair loss can affect just your scalp or your entire body, and it can be temporary or permanent.

The organisation explains: “People typically lose 50 to 100 hairs a day. This usually isn’t noticeable because new hair is growing in at the same time. Hair loss occurs when new hair doesn’t replace the hair that has fallen out.”

The Mayo Clinic says there are certain tips which may help you avoid preventable types of hair loss.

The organisation says these include:

  • Be gentle with your hair. Use a detangler and avoid tugging when brushing and combing, especially when your hair is wet. A wide-toothed comb might help prevent pulling out hair. Avoid harsh treatments such as hot rollers, curling irons, hot-oil treatments and permanents. Limit the tension on hair from styles that use rubber bands, barrettes and braids.
  • Ask your doctor about medications and supplements you take that might cause hair loss.
  • Protect your hair from sunlight and other sources of ultraviolet light.
  • Stop smoking. Some studies show an association between smoking and baldness in men.

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