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If you don’t get enough protein in your diet, your body may ration protein by shutting down hair according to the American Academy of Dermatology. This can happen about two to three months after a drop in protein intake, they say.
Finasteride (Propecia): This medication is FDA approved for use in only men with androgenic hair loss. Finasteride is in a class of medications called 5-alpha reductase inhibitors. It is thought to help reduce hair loss by blocking the action of natural hormones in scalp hair follicles. Propecia is a lower-dose version of a commercially available drug called Proscar that helps shrink enlarged prostates in middle-aged and older men. Women of child-bearing potential should avoid finasteride. Propecia 1 mg tablets are available by prescription and taken once daily. Propecia may grow and thicken hair to some extent for some people, but its main use is to keep (maintain) hair that’s still there. Studies have shown that this medication works well in some types of hair loss and must be used for about six to 12 months before full effects are determined. This medication does not work in days to weeks, and its onset of visible improvement tends to be gradual. It may be best for men who still have enough hair to retain but also can help some regrow hair. Possible but very unlikely side effects include impotence or a decreased sex drive (libido). Studies have shown that these side effects were possibly slightly more common than seen in the general population and are reversible when the drug is stopped. The cost is about $70-$100/month, which is generally not reimbursed by most health insurers.
The symptoms: Lupus often causes extreme fatigue, headaches, oral ulcers, and painful, swollen joints. Many people develop a butterfly-shaped rash across the bridge of the nose and become more sensitive to the sun. Other symptoms include fever; swelling in the feet and hands and around the eyes; chest pain; and anemia. Many people also experience hair loss, which may be mild and occur while shampooing or brushing your hair—or it may be more severe, coming out in patches and accompanied by a rash on the scalp, says Arthur Weinstein, MD, director of the division of rheumatology at the Washington Hospital Center. Because these symptoms occur in many other conditions, lupus is often called the great imitator.
Genetic hair loss is the only hair loss in which the follicle gradually gets smaller and finer and producers smaller and finer hair until it stops altogether and then you get the thinning, says Lyons.
When hair loss is the result of telogen effluvium or medication side effects, the hair loss usually is all over the head, while in tinea infections and alopecia areata, the hair loss occurs in small patches. Also, tinea infections can cause additional symptoms, such as scaling of the scalp or areas of broken hairs that look like black dots. In traumatic alopecia, the area of hair loss depends on the method of hair injury and follows the pattern inflicted by hot rollers, braiding or chemical treatments. In male-pattern baldness, the hairline usually begins to recede at the temples first, followed by thinning at the top of the head. Gradually, the crown area becomes totally bald, leaving a fringe of hair around the back and sides of the head.
The body uses vitamin A to help with vision and hair growth, however, high levels of vitamin A can have a converse effect and contribute to hair loss. Avoid taking excessive vitamin supplements that could cause a spike in your vitamin A. Certain medications can also be responsible for elevated vitamin A levels, particularly retinoids commonly used to treat acne and psoriasis. While you are taking retinoids there is not much you can do about hair loss, says Dr. Shapiro. However, once you stop medication or excessive supplements, your hair should resume its normal growth.
Kravich tells patients dealing with hair loss to include nuts and seeds, eggs, and fish in their diets. All are important sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which help lower inflammation and create a healthier scalp.
The follicles on the sides of the scalp are more genetically resistant to DHT, which is why male pattern baldness often results in a “crown” of hair. But its downsides are serious. “With women, finasteride is not an option,” says Dr. Wolfeld. “It’s not FDA-approved for women to take, so we don’t prescribe it.” In fact, due to the drug’s effect on hormone levels, pregnant women are advised to not even touch broken or crushed tablets.
What you can do: See a rheumatologist if your hair loss is accompanied by joint pain, fatigue, and other symptoms of lupus, which is treated with oral medications such as prednisone. If you also have a rash on the scalp, you need to see a dermatologist, who is likely to prescribe a topical cream.
Hair loss has multiple potential causes, including diet, mineral deficiency, medications, severe stress or illness, pollution, and your genetics. Up to one third of the population suffer from hair loss, and of that third, thousands are women. There are no guarantees that you can prevent hair loss that is genetically programmed, or hair loss caused by factors not within your control; however, you can do the best by your hair to give it the greatest chance of staying in top condition and not leaving your head sooner than it needs to.
Female-pattern hair loss, which usually has a strong genetic component that can be inherited from either the mother or father. Also referred to as androgenetic alopecia, this type of hair loss can start as early as the late teens — and the earlier it starts, the more severe the hair loss tends to be.
I guess everyone knows what to eat and what not to eat, but there are so many temptations that you can easily get carried away. Eating simple home cooked meals is a great way to nourish your hair and skin from the inside out.
One other vitamin to pay attention to: vitamin D. Though studies are not conclusive, some research suggests that low levels of vitamin D and iron can cause thinning hair in women. Ask your doctor to test your vitamin D and iron levels, and discuss whether or not you should take a vitamin supplement.
Studies in the past have found medical evidence to link stress with hair loss. De-stress yourself; one of the ways of doing it is by practicing meditation. Alternative therapies such as meditation and yoga not only reduce stress but restores hormonal balance.
The majority of women with androgenic alopecia have diffuse thinning on all areas of the scalp. Men on the other hand, rarely have diffuse thinning but instead have more distinct patterns of baldness. Some women may have a combination of two pattern types. Androgenic alopecia in women is due to the action of androgens, male hormones that are typically present in only small amounts. Androgenic alopecia can be caused by a variety of factors tied to the actions of hormones, including, ovarian cysts, the taking of high androgen index birth control pills, pregnancy, and menopause. Just like in men the hormone DHT appears to be at least partially to blame for the miniaturization of hair follicles in women suffering with female pattern baldness. Heredity plays a major factor in the disease.
Illness: Significant hair loss can occur after an illness. A major surgery, high fever, severe infection, or even the flu can cause hair loss. Your dermatologist may call this type of hair loss telogen (tee-lə-jen) effluvium (ih-flu-vee-uhm).
Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a derivative of the male hormone testosterone, is the enemy of hair follicles on your head. Simply put, under certain conditions DHT wants those follicles dead. This simple action is at the root of many kinds of hair loss, so we’ll address it first.
Most of us, when we think of hair loss, think about aging men. Nearly all men eventually get that receding M-shaped hairline and thinning hair on the top of the head, also known as male pattern baldness. It’s called androgenetic alopecia, and it’s caused by a by-product of testosterone called DHT.
The cash itself wasn’t a crime; Gurlitt had reportedly visited Switzerland to sell a picture to a gallery in Bern. But the strangeness of the situation led to further investigation of Gurlitt’s finances, and a search warrant for his Munich apartment that in February 2012 uncovered one of the most extraordinary stashes of art since the end of World War II. Inside a small flat in a boxy white building, hidden in filing cabinets and suitcases, investigators found more than 1,500 works by artists including Picasso, Matisse, Monet, Liebermann, Chagall, Durer, and Delacroix. The German authorities were investigating Gurlitt for tax evasion; what they found instead was an amassment of art that was immediately, incontrovertibly suspicious.