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Alopecia is a general term meaning the loss of hair. This loss can be caused by many different situations including damage to the hair shafts or follicles and fungal infections.

There are two main types of alopecia:  alopecia areata and androgenetic alopecia.

We are going to focus on androgenetic alopecia, which is an inherited condition where hair on the head thins and falls out. In men, there is complete loss of hair at the hairline and on top of the head – the hairline recedes to form an “M”shape. We call this condition male pattern hair loss. Sixty percent of the people with this condition are men, and their hair loss is permanent.

In women, androgenic alopecia is called female diffuse hair loss. There is a gradual thinning of hair, especially on top of the head.  The hairline does not change. It rarely leads to total baldness in women. Some of the causes are aging, genetics, illness or some medications. It is easily detected by a physician doing an examination and taking a history.

In the case of male pattern hair loss, hair transplant surgery, scalp reduction and strip or flap grants are an option. There are also drug therapies available. In male pattern hair loss Minoxidil (Rogaine) or Finasteride (Propecia) are good options. It is important to note that when and if you stop using the medication, your hair will fall out.

For female diffuse hair loss, Minoxidil (Rogaine) can be used, and it must be used indefinitely to keep the regrown hair. Minoxidil may help hair grow in about 1 in 4 or 5 women.  In most women, it may slow or stop hair loss.

There has been some success with alternative therapies in the case of male pattern hair loss such as beta-sitosterol and saw palmetto.  Both have helped hair growth in men. Saw palmetto may increase the risk of bleeding if you take blood thinners. Massage plus herbs may increase circulation to the scalp.

For more information or treatment options, please contact us today.