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Doctors' Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" - Hair Loss
Hair Loss and Zomig/Birth control [posted
Answer: Well, Birth Control pills are notorious for causing hair loss. As to Zomig, it hasn't been available long enough for me to assess hair loss. The PDR does list this as a potential problem, however.
Hair loss due to possible toxicity or
perm chemicals [posted 1/11/99]
Answer: Yes, but you will need to see a dermatologist and possibly get a biopsy to determine if this is the cause.
Thinning hair in female [posted
Answer: Listed, but not a common problem. I'd look for other causes.
Alopecia / Hair Loss [posted
Answer: Patchy alopecia has nothing to do with familial hair loss. Topical steroids will be ok, if not used excessively or for long periods. I moved into a new house approximately 9 months ago. The water at this house has been horrible. We have seen brownish-yellowish water as well as a sulfer and chlorine smell severe enough to burn your nose when the water is turned on. The water company has been under fire for several years now due the above problems as well as several others. I began noticing that my skin was excessivly dry and peeling and that my hair color was actually lightening as if bleached. After several months, the quality of my hair was deteriorating. It began to get thinner and brittle as well as dry and full of split ends. It got to a point where it was so thin at the ends, there was nothing to make a braid with. I have always had long, thick, full, and healthy hair. I went to several comsetologists and they suggested cutting the ends and it would grow back on its own. But I have since cut my hair and I am watching handfuls of hair come out when I run my fingers through it. I am 21 years old, in good heath, I take no medications, I eat plenty of meats and proteins, and the only real change has been the water (& the stress of watching my hair fall out). It is not leaving "bald patches" but it is getting so thin all around that if I pull it back in a ponytail, you can see my scalp. There is no history of this in my family and I am at a dead end. What can I do to regain my hair? Why is it thinning?? I don't know what to do anymore. I have even begun using a Shampoo and Conditioner called "Nioxin" that is "designed to prevent excessive daily hair loss" I also have taken to showering at my mother's house (different water comany as well as a water softner) I have seen an improvement in my skin condition, but my hair is not getting better. Oddly, enough, on days I shower, I see a lot less fall out then on days I do not shower. Any suggestions or advise would be more than helpful. Thank you for your time.
Answer: Check your thyroid levels to ensure that you do not have hypothyroidism. Hair loss due to water problems would be very rare.
Prostate Medication for Treating Hair
Loss [posted 8/5/98]
Answer: This drug was initially called Proscar. It was mildly successful in aiding patients with benign prostatic hypertrophy. Supposedly, it helps hair growth, but I never had any patients comment on this effect. In any case, it won't do any harm and is compatible with Cardura.
Losing Facial Hair - Discoid Alopecia
Answer: This represents discoid alopecia. This is usually due to an inflammatory response and should be looked into by an Internist or Dermatologist at the earliest opportunity. This usually represents a systemic medical problem.
Male Pattern Baldness
Answer: This is inherited on the X chromosome and passed to male children only. Consequently, it is "given" to the male children by the mother. Looking at male forebears will give you a statistical likelihood. For example, if the mother's father is bald, 50% of the X genes will pass baldness and 50% of the male offspring will be bald. If the maternal grandmother's father was bald the risk rises to about 75%. And for each male in the maternal tree that is bald the risk rises. There may be chromosome marking available, but I am not aware of it. One can do chromosome marking within the family and predict whether the X in the child comes from the maternal father or mother.
Answer: I agree with your initial assessment that neither should cause the problem. However, some women will metabolize estrogen to testosterone (responsible for the baldness). I'd guess the estrogen is the culprit. Rogaine is very effective in women for this type of baldness.
Answer: The only current drug is Rogaine. It is available over the counter as a topical lotion. This works about 40% to decrease the loss and about 20-30% to increase hair in male pattern baldness. It works about 80% in women with thin hair. There is a drug to be released in the next 6 months for hair loss, but I am not currently familiar with its mechanism of action.
Answer: Rogaine, now available over the counter, is the only documented drug treatment for minimizing hair loss. It works about 40% of the time and particularly works if the balding starts on the top of the cranium (so called monk's head). It takes 3 to 5 months for any effect to be seen. I recommend that you take a photo of your hair before and after 3 to 5 months of daily use to see if there is any change. Stopping the Rogaine will result in continued loss, so it is a life long treatment if it works.
Answer: Hair loss is a common complaint of many patients, both men and women. There are many factors which contribute to the distribution, texture, thickness, as well as longevity of an individual's hair. Genetics (family pattern) plays a large role, but general health, physical and emotional stress, diet, and gender are all involved to a variable extent in the individual patient's hair loss symptom.
Pondimin is the trade name for fenfluramine hydrochloride, and the Physician's Desk Reference (PDR) does not list hair loss, or alopecia, as a known side effect. Fastin is a trade name for phentermine hydrochloride, and the PDR does not list hair loss, or alopecia, as a known side effect. On occasion, other symptoms can provide insight into the cause of hair changes, such as itching, rash, recent illness, change in shampoo or conditioner, etc. The rate of thinning or loss, as well as the pattern, and other findings on examination can sometime provide clues as to the cause, as well. See your doctor about your hair loss. He or she can help in determining if there is a treatable cause for your hair loss, discuss with you the available therapeutic options, and refer you to where help is available.
Hair Loss and Depakote
Answer: Depakote(valproic acid) is a drug used mainly to treat seizures. Major side effects include occasional severe liver toxicity(even death), problems with platelets and white blood cells, skin rash, transient hair loss, pancreatitis, and endocrine problems. It is a very effective drug, but needs to be watched very closety. The hair loss seen with this drug will normally vanish after the drug is discontinued after about 6-8 weeks.
Answer: There are many reasons that one loses hair. The most common is male pattern balding which always runs in families. This is transmitted through the mother's side, so check your mother's male ancestors and your maternal uncles if they have balding you probably will also. This is inherited roughly according to the number of men bald, that is 50% bald you have a 50% chance-100% bald you have 100% chance. There are other medical reasons to lose hair and if you have patches of baldness(spots)-especially not on top of your hair you need to see a physician. However, this is probably male pattern balding. This can respond to Rogaine if used topically; but, it needs to start now before you lose further hair. Rogaine works best at preventing further loss although it does occasionally restore some hair in men.
Hair Loss & Cancer
Answer: If baldness runs in the family, this is probably male pattern baldness. If there are no bald males it needs to be looked into. There are many medical conditions that cause hair loss-too numerous to name her. Rogaine (available over the counter) if used every day will slow male pattern balding in about 35% of patients and eliminate it in about 10%.
Surfing & Smoking
Answer: No association that I'm aware of.
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