What is Balding & How Can It Be Treated?

Losing some hair every day is normal. But if you find hair thinning out and shedding more and faster than usual, it becomes a matter of concern. This is known as balding.

Most of the people experience hair loss as they grow older, which can be due to genetic or the natural process of aging.

Balding can also be due to a medical condition. On average 50-100 hair falling every day is considered normal.(1) According to the American Hair Loss Association, more than 85 percent of men experience balding by the age of 50 years, from which 25 percent have a genetic reason behind it.(2,3) Also, 50% of females are found suffering from this condition.(4)

What is Balding?

Excessive hair loss from head leads to balding. It is also referred to as androgenetic alopecia or male or female pattern balding. Hair growth cycle has three phases:

Anagen Phase: This is a growing phase of hair and lasts for 2- 4 years. More than 90 percent of the hair on the scalp is in this phase.

Catagen Phase: This is a transition phase and hair shrinks over 2-3 weeks.

Telogen Phase: This is a resting phase and hair sheds off after 3-4 months.

At the end of the telogen phase when the hair shed off, new hair grow. In some, there is more hair loss than hair growth, which leads to balding.

What Causes Balding?

Balding is a condition that can have the following reasons for its occurrence:

  • Genetic
  • Normal aging process
  • Males hormones, known as androgens

Androgenetic alopecia is the major cause of balding, but there can be other reasons that can cause you to lose hair or develop bald spots.

  1. Traction Alopecia: It occurs due to repeated tension and stress on hair follicles. It can occur due to some hairstyles, tight ponytails, braids, cornrows, extensions that pull hair follicles. This type of hair loss is reversible, but, can be permanent if prolonged.
  2. Alopecia Areata: It is an autoimmune condition, where the body’s own cells attack the hair follicles and damage the hair roots. The hair in this condition may or may not regrow on itself.
  3. Anagen Effluvium: It is a condition in which a toxic substance impairs the hair follicle in the anagen phase and cause sudden balding. This type of balding can be reversed. It mostly occurs after chemotherapy, radiation therapy and other drugs.
  4. Telogen Effluvium: This condition cause hair loss due to major stress, trauma, severe weight loss, or surgery.
  5. Tinea Capitis: This is a ringworm infection of the scalp and occurs due to fungal infection of the scalp and hair shaft. This condition leads to a localized scaly patch. It can cause scarring or permanent hair loss, if not treated early.

There are also certain medical conditions that can lead to balding:

Symptoms of Balding

A person going through balding presents the following symptoms:

  • Thinning on the top of the head
  • Receding hairline in men
  • Widening of the hair part in the females

Treatment Option For Balding

There are various medication and treatment options that can be used to treat baldness.

  1. Medication

    • Minoxidil: It is an over the counter topical prescription drug which can be used by both men and women. The effect can take as long as 6 months to show up.
    • Finasteride: This is an oral drug for the treatment of baldness in men. It slows down balding and can even lead to regrowth.
    • Spironolactone: It is prescribed to treat female pattern baldness. It reduces androgen production and blocks the DHT effects.
    • Hormone Therapy: This therapy can help hair loss in women during menopause.
  2. Other Treatment Options

    • Laser Therapy: It is low energy pulses of light to stimulate the hair follicles. It can be used for the treatment of both male and female pattern baldness.
    • Protein-Rich Plasma Injection (PRP): In this therapy, the platelets from own blood are concentrated and injected into the areas of hair loss. It contributes to hair growth.
    • Hair Transplant: Hair from any other part of the body preferably the thigh are removed and reinserted into the bald spots on the scalp.
    • Nutrition: Intake of omega-3, omega-6, and antioxidant-rich diet may increase hair growth.(5)

    If concerned about hair fall consult a dermatologist to check for any condition and get an advice for the treatment.

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