By the time hair loss is visible to the naked eye, at least 50% of the hairs have been lost. Hair loss is important as it can cause severe psychological stress in the sufferer.
Who gets hair loss?
50% of men will experience visible hair loss by the age of 50. A smaller percentage of men will experience significant balding by the age of 30 About 30% of women will also experience hair loss and thinning of hair with age occurs in both sexes.
Male Pattern or Androgenic
Male pattern baldness presents as a receding hairline, thinning and a posterior bald patch. It is caused by the effect of genetics and testosterone on the hair growth units in the scalp.
Testosterone is converted to DHT ( Dihydrotestosterone) by an enzyme called 5- alpha-reductase. Hairs on the top of the scalp are very sensitive to DHT and tend to bald much earlier than hairs at the back of the head or beard.
Female hair loss
Females can also lose hair due to hormonal imbalances, Polycystic ovarian syndrome or other conditions causing excess of male hormones can cause hair loss in females.
Hair loss can occur in women with Estrogen dominance at any age however perimenopause is a time of increased risk and hormone balancing can help with this and other symptoms of Estrogen dominance such as heavy periods and worsening sleep.
Menopause can cause thinning hair due to lack of Estrogen and a relative excess of androgens. Women are more prone than men to thyroid disorders and iron deficiency.
Generalised hair loss
Hair loss may also occur due to thyroid disorders, extreme illness, stress, vitamin deficiencies, medications or skin conditions and this can be partial or total hair loss. These causes predominate in female hair loss.
Our doctors will investigate for the above conditions if indicated and vitamins or thyroid replacement therapy commenced.
Treatments for Hair Loss
Which treatment should I use and when?
The best suited treatment for any patient depends on a range of factors including age, stage of hair loss, other medical issues , cost and preferences regarding medication. This will be discussed at your assessment appointment.
Young men with early onset hair loss (20s and early 30s) should be started on Finasteride, Minoxidil and Laser light as soon as possible to arrest further hair loss Early treatment is essential to preserve maximum hair follicles and give other therapies a much greater chance at success.
What is the duration of treatments and how long until they work?
Any patient taking Finasteride or Minoxidil should be prepared to wait at least 6 months before expecting a visible result. The growth phases of the hair follicle are naturally long and it can take some time to see a change.
Laser/Light Therapy with portable helmet
Low -Level Light therapy is a technique whereby visible cold laser light stimulates the hair follicles in the scalp. The procedure involves wearing the laser light helmet for 30-60 minutes several times a week.Studies have proven an increase in terminal hair density after and with the effects are comparable to medication.
Laser light machines are available from Optimal Family Health