While there's no way to prevent most types of hair loss, the goal of treatment is to slow or stop the loss of hair and then grow new hair.
Medications are available that encourage regrowth of hair. These medications, such as topical minoxidil* and oral finasteride, are not appropriate for everyone with hair loss. Hair growth medications work to varying degrees in different people, and only trigger complete regrowth in a minority of individuals. They work best for people who have smaller amounts of hair loss. Hair loss returns if you stop taking the medication. Finasteride is not appropriate for women who may become pregnant, as it can cause severe birth defects. Spironolactone, although not approved by Health Canada for this purpose, is a medication that may help women who are losing hair due to excess testosterone. Biotin is a vitamin that makes hair and nails stronger and is often used as an adjuvant therapy.
Corticosteroids are another type of medication that may be used for some types of hair loss. Less severe cases of alopecia areata are sometimes treated with corticosteroids injected into the affected area. Systemic (pill-form) corticosteroids have long-term side effects and are reserved for more severe cases.
Another treatment for unresponsive alopecia areata is to deliberately provoke an allergic reaction (contact dermatitis) with a chemical applied to the scalp. A rash develops, and hair often grows back in the same spot a few months later. It can be uncomfortable, though.
Some people with hair loss have slightly low iron or zinc levels and may benefit from iron and zinc supplements.
If there is a systemic disease leading to hair loss, then treating the underlying disease may aid in hair growth.
For severe alopecia of any type, medication may improve the condition, but not cure it. The remaining options are to undergo surgery or wear a wig or hairpiece. The other option is to learn to live with the condition and not pursue medical options.
Surgery usually means a hair transplant. Small plugs of scalp, each with two or three hairs attached, are taken from areas of thick hair, and planted in the affected part of the scalp. Fewer hairs per square inch are needed for people with wavy or curly hair, or people whose hair and skin colours match.
Unfortunately, further hair loss can ruin any transplant, and leave you without enough donor hairs. The least successful candidates for transplant are men in their 20s who are balding fast. Such men, especially those whose fathers were or are bald by the age of 55 years, should know that a very expensive transplant won't last forever.
Although wigs may not sound like the best option, they often are. Good quality modern hairpieces can be undetectable (though expensive). Many grip by vacuum and won't fall off - even during contact sports.
*All medications have both common (generic) and brand names. The brand name is what a specific manufacturer calls the product (e.g., Tylenol®). The common name is the medical name for the medication (e.g., acetaminophen). A medication may have many brand names, but only one common name. This article lists medications by their common names. For information on a given medication, check our Drug Information database. For more information on brand names, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2017. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/condition/getcondition/Alopecia