Alopecia is the medical term for hair loss, which can present as shedding or thinning of hair, baldness or receding hairline. It can occur gradually over time, or quite suddenly. Sudden hair loss can be distressing for many patients, and has a number of causes, including telogen effluvium (usually transient shedding) and an autoimmune condition called alopecia areata.
Male pattern baldness and female pattern hair loss are two of the most common forms of hair thinning that our dermatologists treat. Though sometimes considered a normal part of the ageing process, it’s different when the hair starts to thin at an early age, or is very extensive. Women suffering from female pattern hair loss may display other signs of hormone imbalance, which can be associated with polycystic ovarian syndrome. Be wary of advertising material promising miracle hair regrowth, and instead, seek advice from clinicians who will offer you evidence-based advice regarding effective treatment options. Our dermatologists at Q Dermatology have worked with the leaders in this specialised field, and can offer tailored advice.
A different form of alopecia, which also tends to occur suddenly and causes a lot of hair to be lost in a short time, is telogen effluvium. Possible triggers include hormonal factors, medical disorders, nutritional deficiencies, sudden changes in diet and lifestyle, and medications.
Getting a full understanding of your history and carefully examining your scalp are the first steps to a dermatologist diagnosing your problem. In some more complex cases a scalp biopsy can shed extra light. Blood tests are often requested to rule out some easily-addressed triggers for hair loss, such as iron deficiency. Remember there are over 40 diagnoses for hair loss, so seek specialist advice at Q Dermatology.