Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Hair Loss –Not Just A Genetic Predisposition

What’s a king without a crown?  In certain mythologies, If a king or queen was stripped of their crown, then the true symbol for authority is lost. The crown of man or woman is their hair, and hair loss is one reality that millions of men and women out there are dealing with today. Balding is sometimes a natural aging process that is carried out by our bodies as we grow older, and the body uses it’s resources to feed major organs and body functions more and more, leaving less energy for  production of hair. The rate of hair loss, however, differs for each individual. Some people still have a decent amount of hair in their old age, some people start losing it in early adulthood.
But nonetheless, hair loss is really a thing to be dealt with. Not just from a cosmetic or looks viewpoint, but as a symptom of other issues at work in the body. Sometimes it can be stopped, or at least slowed down, but only if the symptoms are addressed and dealt with. There are several major causes of hair loss. Here are some of them:
Hormonal problems (The Big One)
For men, Androgenic Alopecia, or Male Pattern Baldness is known to be genetic. It’s also hormonal. Excess testosterone can become rancid and turn into dihydrotestosterone, a waxy substance that envelope the hair follicles and cuts them off from nutrition. This condition was once recently thought to be a fait accompli, but not so much anymore. When the genetic factors are present, parents should take their male children to a holistic practitioner at puberty. Excess facial acne is also a sign of impending hair loss.
Many people lose hair due to problems that are related to hormonal imbalance. For example, when there is an imbalance of female or male hormones (estrogen and androgen) as well as thyroid, and adrenal hormones, there is a strong possibility that hair loss will occur. I see this very frequently in my practice and ask if my client has had their hormones checked. Most often, not yet, is the answer.  Fortunately, there are treatments out there that can fix problems with regards to hormonal imbalance. My opinion would be to consult a nutritionist, or a doctor who understands natural hormone therapy. There are many practitioners who can lead you in the proper direction for hormone balance.
Also, there are many newer and excellent products to use topically on the hair and scalp to slow down hair loss and possibly stimulate the hair follicles to produce hair again. Do some research!
 Another example is hair loss that is connected with pregnancy. Mothers can attest to the fact that hair loss is quite intense a few months after delivery. This is because there high levels of hormones during pregnancy which cause hair to fall. The good news is that after this stage is through, the normal hair-growth-cycle resumes.
Some people experience high levels of “shedding” in different seasons. As we age, though, the regrowth from those shedding episodes slows. So, if you are seeing excess hair in the drain or in your combs or brushes, take note. More than 50 hairs per day is excessive.
Major surgeries or illnesses
The body experiences stress during major surgeries (body trauma) and this makes hair fall out. Stress is one of the key suspects for hair loss. Stress (Hormones again!) weakens the foundations of one’s hair follicles and this causes hair to fall out. This is also true when one has been sick with a major illness. Hair loss due to these reasons may be only temporary and once healed the hair may grow back.
Hair loss due to medication
There are medicines out there that maybe helpful in treating certain kinds of illnesses but are detrimental to one’s hair. Some medicines have side effects such as hair loss. Medicines which are used to treat cancer (those used in chemotherapy), those that are anti-coagulants and those which suppress depression can lead to hair loss. Some weight loss medications and birth control pills can also lead to hair loss, and even certain fat soluble vitamins, such as vitamin A, if too much is taken.
Some basic prevention:
1. Eat right, and include organic foods as much as possible. Clean protein sources. No tortured meat. An imbalanced diet adds up to the threat of hair loss. Once again, consult a nutritionist and have some testing done. Consult the Environmental Working group for more research.
2. Maintain good hygiene. This is self-explanatory.
3. Consult your doctor when taking medicine. Make sure one drug doesn’t undo another drug’s potency.
4. Be cautious and aware of product use on the hair and scalp. Organic and clean is best. Consult a professional when using hair coloring or other chemicals.
5. Avoid hairdos such as braids and cornrows. They stretch the scalp and may lead to bald spots.

There is no generic treatment for hair loss because each situation is different from another, but being proactive, you will find some answers and get some help and advice.

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