Posts for: April, 2016
Hair loss is commonly considered an issue for men but women make up 40% of all hair loss sufferers. The medical term for hair loss is Alopecia, the most common is Androgenic Alopecia. Each hair follicle produces a single hair that normally grows a half inch per month for about 4 to 6 years, it then goes into a resting phase for several months then loses the hair before growing a new one. The number of hair follicles entering the resting phase is equal to the number of follicles starting the growth phase, so the amount of hairs on the head remain the same. With Alopecia, an increasing number of hair follicles never recover from the resting phase. Hormonal changes such as pregnancy, aging, menopause or hypothyroidism can cause abnormal hormone levels which can cause hair loss. The body "considers' hair growth not a very high priority during periods of stress or decreased caloric intake. So during pregnancy, severe illness, stress or decreased caloric intake during dieting, the hair follicles are kept from entering the resting phase, once the patient returns to a normal state, a large amount of the follicles enter the resting phase all at one time resulting in significant amounts of hair falling out all at once. This is called Telogen Effluvium and typically this is a temporary hair loss with most if not all hair growing back. There are many inflammatory skin conditions which cause hair loss. Typically in these conditions the scalp is scaly, red and or tender. There are effective therapies for each type of hair loss. Countless manufacturers have come out with hair growth supplements with claims of great benefits, however most over the counter hair growth products have not been proven to work simply because they don't contain any ingredients which actually make hair grow. The one exception is Minoxidil or Rogaine. This product works in some patients and must be used long term for effectiveness. In my experience this product works poorly and if it does work it must be continued or the newly grown hair will fall out. In my experience Spironolactone has been proven to be one of the most effective treatments available for Angrogenic hair loss. It is a prescription medication that is safe and effective. For women in their non child bearing years, there is another effective medication that can be used. There are effective treatments for inflammatory hair loss also.
Hidradenitis Suppurativa is an imflammatory skin disease that affects gland-bearing skin in the underarms, neck, inner thighs groin, underneath the breasts and buttocks. It is characterised by reoccuring boil like nodules or abscesses with a pus-like discharge that are difficult to heal and may scar. Hidradenitis often starts at puberty and is most active between the ages of 20-40 years, and in women, can resolve at menopause. It is 3 times more common in females than in males. Many patients with hidradenitis suppurativa also suffer from other skin disorders including acne and psoriasis. Spironolactone has been proven to be an effective treatment however response takes six months or longer.