I stumbled upon this recent study with the title Hair Follicle Characteristics As Early Marker of Type 2 Diabetes. Now that’s a warning bell, if I’ve ever heard one, to get focused on lowering daily sugar consumption and eliminating those blood sugar swings. You know those highs you get when you eat high carb, high sugar and then come crashing down? Yes, those.
A good daily multivitamin containing zinc, vitamin B, folate, iron, and calcium is a reasonable choice, although there is no good evidence that vitamins have any meaningful benefit in alopecia. Newer studies suggest that vitamin D may be somewhat helpful and worth considering. Specific vitamin and mineral deficiencies like iron or vitamin B12 may be diagnosed by blood tests and treated.
Losing your hair can be distressing, but if it is caused by thyroid disease it is most likely reversible. In the meantime, try to stave off further hair loss by treating your hair gently. Avoid brushing it excessively, using harsh coloring products, and hairstyles that pull on the hair (such as a tight bun). If you feel self-conscious about having thin hair or bald patches, consider wearing a scarf or wig while your hair grows back.
Here's what you might be wondering about: unwanted sexual side effects. Remember that finasteride works by blocking DHT, and DHT is a male sex hormone and is also a form of testosterone – this sex hormone just happens to also be linked to hair loss, unfortunately! In clinical tests, approximately 2% of the people who take finasteride reported unwanted sexual side effects like decreased libido, difficulty getting or maintaining an erection, and trouble ejaculating. Of that 2%, half of them reported that the side effect went away after taking the medication for three months, and everyone reported that the side effects went away as soon as they discontinued the medication. Still, that leaves less than 1% of guys taking finasteride with a chance of developing persistent sexual side effects.
Low ferritin (the stored form of iron) is one of the most common causes of hair loss in women. Given low ferritin is also a common problem for hypothyroid people, it is important to have iron testing including ferritin especially if you are experiencing hair loss. It is not enough to be told by your doctor that your iron levels are ‘normal’. Ferritin levels are not always tested. Get a copy of your lab results and be sure ferritin has been specifically tested. Even if ferritin is within the ‘normal’ range that doesn’t make it ‘optimal’.
Finasteride (Propecia) is used in male-pattern hair loss in a pill form, taken 1 milligram per day. It is not indicated for women and is not recommended in pregnant women. Treatment is effective starting within 6 weeks of treatment. Finasteride causes an increase in hair retention, the weight of hair, and some increase in regrowth. Side effects in about 2% of males, include decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction, and ejaculatory dysfunction. Treatment should be continued as long as positive results occur. Once treatment is stopped, hair loss resumes.
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Initially used to treat high blood pressure, minoxidil was the first medication approved by the FDA to treat male pattern baldness. By applying Rogaine (or a generic version) directly to the scalp twice a day, a man in the early stages of hair loss can often stimulate growth. The American Hair Loss Association points out that results of treatment with minoxidil are limited, but it still endorses using it in combination with other treatments or as an alternative if finasteride doesn't work.
Male pattern baldness is the most common type of hair loss, affecting 6.5 million men in the UK, according to the NHS Choices website. For some men the process can start as early as their 20s and by the age of 60 most men have some degree of hair loss, although in some cases this can just be a part of the ageing process as opposed to a hereditary condition. Male pattern baldness is not a disease or illness and it doesn't affect your health. However, if you have hair loss that doesn't follow this pattern, for example your hair is falling out in clumps and leaving patches, then you should talk to your GP.
The other main hair-loss treatment that was recommended by all four dermatologists I interviewed is finasteride, often called by its brand name Propecia. This FDA-approved medication is only available with a prescription, but these days, it’s found as a generic and ordered online after a virtual consultation, through start-ups like Hims, Keeps, and Lemonaid.
Some hair loss can also result from the psychological condition trichotillomania. “People with this condition compulsively pull out their hair when they are stressed or even when they are concentrating, e.g. studying hard,” says Burg. “Sometimes the individual doesn’t know they are pulling their hair out, doing the activity absent-mindedly, and only notice once the bald patches appear.” Over time the hair follicles can become so damaged that they die and leave permanent bald patches. Find out why you shouldn’t pull out gray hairs either.
For those concerned that the existing treatments lack a certain sci-fi quality, behold the Laser Comb. The Laser Comb recently became only the third hair loss treatment to receive FDA approval. And it is the first that doesn’t use drugs or surgery. By stimulating follicles with a low-level laser, the hand-held device was shown in test trials to increase hair volume in a majority of patients.
Hormonal changes and medical conditions. A variety of conditions can cause permanent or temporary hair loss, including hormonal changes due to pregnancy, childbirth, menopause and thyroid problems. Medical conditions include alopecia areata (al-o-PEE-she-uh ar-e-A-tuh), which causes patchy hair loss, scalp infections such as ringworm and a hair-pulling disorder called trichotillomania (trik-o-til-o-MAY-nee-uh).
These medicines slow thinning of the hair and increase coverage of the scalp by growing new hair. They also thicken the shafts of your existing hair so that it grows in thicker. If you stop using the medicine, any hair that has grown in will gradually be lost. Within 6 to 12 months after you stop using the medicine, your scalp will most likely look the same as it did before treatment.
Androgenic alopecia. In this condition, hair loss begins at the crown of the head, the top and center, forming the popular horseshoe shape. Because hair thinning seems to follow a particular path, the condition is also commonly referred to as pattern baldness. It is more common among males than females, and is generally thought to be due to genetics/heredity and the natural aging process (about 40% of men start to have noticeable hair loss in their 30s and lose about 65% of hair by the time they reach 60.).
Combing your hair can be a nightmare when you are dealing with hair loss. This can be made easier by using the right comb. Use a wooden wide-tooth comb to untangle your hair; you can use your regular brush after this. This will reduce breakage and hair loss from pulling. It is also crucial to remember not to comb your hair while it is wet. Your hair is at its most vulnerable when wet, which increases the chances of breakage. You should also clean your combs and brushes every week. You can do this while you’re in the shower or while shampooing each week. Cleaning your combs is a necessary precaution to take for hair fall control.
There is no hard and fast answer. With Regaine Extra Strength results may be seen after 8 weeks. Clinical studies have shown that for Regaine Regular Strength or Regaine Gel for men regrowth can occur as early as 16 weeks. But remember that everyone is different so you need to be patient. Studies suggest that Regaine should be tried for 6-12 months before deciding whether to continue.