Falling Hair: Is this bad?

Dear Doc,

Bakit po nalalagas ang buhok ko? Makakalbo ba ako?

Thank you,

A.B.

http://www.haircaregrowthaids.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/hair_loss.jpg

Dear A.B.

There are several types and causes of falling hair. Not all are dangerous and not all will cause baldness.

It is important to understand that the hair is constantly growing at a rate of 1 cm per month. Some parts of our body hair ( including scalp, armpit, pubic and chest hair) are in the sleeping phase called telogen and some are in the growing phase called anagen.

Usually only less than 15% of body hair should be in the sleeping phase at one time. This means that it is normal to lose about 100 strands of hair per day because this can be replaced by growing hair and will not cause scarring or baldness. You can tell if a strand of hair is in the sleeping phase by noting a small bulb at the root area.

Any physiologic stress on the body can cause hair loss. Here is a list of possible causes:

1. fever ( if you will notice, a sick person in a hospital bed will have several strands of hair on the pillow)

2. major illness, injury or surgery

3. change in diet (crash diets, low protein intake, or severe starvation)

4. pregnancy and delivery

5. taking a new medication

6. immunization

7. hormonal therapy (including intake of contraceptive pills)

8. hypothyroidism

9. iron deficiency anemia

Hair loss due to the reasons stated above will resolve spontaneously in 6 months and once the deficiencies or the stressor goes away.

A simple test you can do at home to check if your hair loss is temporary is the “gentle hair pull test”.

Pull on a bunch of your hair gently and you should be able to pull out not more than 4 strands at a time.

The second way is to do a weekly count.

This is done by assigning once a week that you will not shampoo all day. The next day take a shower and collect and count the number of hair that falls on its own or is pulled out gently as you comb your hair. This will often be 100-150 strands. As the weeks go by, especially after giving birth, the number of strands will decrease. This is a sign that you are improving.

If you are experiencing hair loss, it is best is to consult a doctor for a scalp biopsy. There are other serious causes of hair loss that require medication such as psoriasis or allergic contact dermatitis.

Don’t worry. Baldness is rare in women. There are several medications and methods like implantation that can help solve the problem.

And if all else fails, there’s always the wig.

 

 

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