Hair Loss

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Question

What causes hair loss and are there any treatments?

Answer

Hair loss or baldness is usually a hereditary condition caused by an excess of hormones called androgens. Baldness affects about 40 million men and 20 million women in the United States. Family history accounts for 95% of all cases. Some medications or medical conditions can also cause hair loss. Until recently, there have been no effective treatments for hair loss. However, medicines and surgery to slow hair loss and replace lost hair are now available.

Over-the-counter remedies

The over-the-counter drug Rogaine® (minoxidil) has been shown to lessen hair loss and, in some cases, even regrow hair in both men and women with hereditary hair loss. Before taking these products, please check with your doctor.

Prescription medications

One of the most popular prescription treatments for hair loss is Propecia® (finasteride) that has helped many men with hair loss.

Surgical treatments

There are also two main types of surgery for hair loss - transplantation and scalp reduction. A hair transplant involves taking hair from densely covered sites on the sides or back of the head and moving it to bald areas of the scalp. A scalp reduction is the surgical removal of sections of a bald scalp. Elastic devices are then placed under the skin to stretch the hair-bearing scalp regions over the areas where the scalp has been removed.

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