Hair Loss Drugs For Growing back the Lost Hair
Hair loss can often be distressing and have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life. There are different types of hair loss. Scarring alopecia, non-scarring alopecia, androgenetic alopecia (male pattern baldness), alopecia areata, are among a few types of alopecia. They can be diagnosed clinically and treated with the help of a dermatologist or trichologist. In some people, once the cause is identified and treated, the hair may regrow.
More than 80 million Americans have hereditary hair loss, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). Alopecia can affect not only your scalp but also your entire body. Baldness is more commonly seen in men than in women. Losing are 50 to 100 hairs a day is usually considered normal. Typically, new hair replaces the lost hair, but it is not necessary that it always happens that way. One may develop hair loss gradually over years. In some, it can happen abruptly.
Hair loss medications indicated for men include oral drugs like finasteride (Propecia) and topical drugs like minoxidil (Rogaine). One can prevent hair loss by including strategies like good hair hygiene, regular cleansing, and a healthy diet. In some people, doctors may advise medical screening for hair loss, which may include blood tests, iron level, vitamin B level, thyroid function tests, and a scalp biopsy.
Fast Facts about Hair Loss
- Genetic predisposing or hereditary influence plays a pivotal role in causing hair loss, which, in men, is medically called androgenetic alopecia.
- Worldwide, more than 50% of men have male pattern baldness by the age of 45 or 50. Nearly 40% of women will have female pattern baldness when they cross their menopausal age.
- Certain medications can cause hair loss, such as drugs advised for cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and depression.
- In some people, thyroid imbalance and iron deficiency anemia cause hair loss, which is reversible once thyroid function and iron levels come back to normal.
- Although incurable, hair loss can be treated with oral and topical medications and mildly invasive therapies like hair transplant surgery.
Causes and Risk Factors of Hair Loss
It could be particularly challenging to find the exact cause of hair loss because there are many types of alopecia. In most people, hair loss may be simply due to genetic predisposition and aging. Progressive physiologic thinning of hair usually starts when you are in your 30s and 40s.
If one has a family history of alopecia, they are more vulnerable to suffer from hair loss. In most cases, sex hormones can cause genetic hair loss. Hormonal imbalances can cause temporary hair loss, especially during pregnancy, childbirth, using birth control pills, and menopause.
Medical conditions that are responsible for causing hair loss are:
- Alopecia areata
- Thyroid disease
- Scalp infections
- Lichen planus
Hair loss can be caused by physical or psychological issues, such as an emotional shock after the death of loved ones, prolonged stress, depression, and anxiety. A diet that lacks in iron, protein, and other essential nutrients can also lead to progressive thinning of hair.
Diagnosis of Hair Loss
People with persistent hair loss may have an underlying medical issue. Doctors or dermatologists can help determine the cause of hair loss by taking a detailed medical history. They also conduct a physical examination to understand the type of hair loss. In some people, dietary changes can help reverse hair loss.
If a dermatologist suspects your hair loss is due to an autoimmune or skin disease, you need to undergo a biopsy of the skin on the scalp, which involves removing a small section of skin for the scalp and sending it to laboratory testing. Remember, hair growth is one of the complex biological processes. It may take some time to identify the exact cause of hair loss.
Treatment of Hair Loss
Fortunately, there are FDA-approved medications to treat hair loss. You may come across a wide range of products that claim to reverse hair loss and promote hair regrowth. However, one should know that there is no clinical evidence to support those claims. To prevent or slow down hair loss, there are effective medications, such as finasteride (Propecia) and Minoxidil (Rogaine), which are to be used under the supervision of a doctor.
For men with hair loss, oral or topical medications will likely be the first line of treatment. Over-the-counter (OTC) drug minoxidil is available in a topical solution that one can apply directly to the affected area of the scalp. Sold under the brand name Rogaine, minoxidil has been found effective in hair regrowth. However, it works until you use it. Your hair may start losing once you stop using the drug.
Oral prescription medications, such as finasteride, may also treat hair loss in men. Please note that this drug is not for women with hair loss. Doctors advise finasteride for male pattern baldness. Men can take this medication daily for at least a year to notice an improvement. Some men may experience new hair while taking finasteride. Sold under the brand name Propecia, finasteride could lead to low sex drive and impaired erectile function.
Some doctors recommend corticosteroids such as prednisone to patients with alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease that targets its own hair follicles. Prednisone reduces inflammation and suppresses the immune system. However, one may experience a few side effects from using steroids, such as glaucoma, swelling in the lower legs, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar.
In some people, topical or oral medications do not work to stop hair loss so doctors may advise them to undergo some surgical procedures, such as hair transplants or scalp reduction. Hair transplant surgery involves transferring small plugs of skin, with a few hairs, to the bald parts of the scalp. It works exceptionally well for those who have androgenic alopecia. Scalp reduction is another procedure in which a part of the scalp that lacks hair is removed. The part is then closed with a piece of the scalp that has hair.
Prevention of Hair Loss
If you have hair loss, you still can do things to prevent further hair loss. Stop wearing tight hairstyles that put excessive pressure on your hair. Pressure could damage your hair follicles. Do not pull, twist, or rub your hair constantly. More importantly, eat a healthy, balanced diet that contains all the essential micronutrients and macronutrients.
If you notice hair loss, you can use gentle baby shampoo to cleanse your hair. Make sure you wash your hair on every alternate day. Stay away from using styling products such as blow dryers, heated combs, coloring products, hair straighteners, bleaching agents, etc.