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Baldness can happen to anyone, but it is more common in men

Baldness


Baldness
is a condition in which hair on the scalp or other areas of the body is lost or falls out excessively. Baldness is also called alopecia. Baldness can happen to anyone, but it is more common in men.

Baldness or alopecia can be caused by many things, from heredity, exposure to chemicals, to certain diseases. Baldness can be temporary or permanent. Most cases of baldness can be managed if caught early and given the right treatment.


Causes of baldness

Each person loses about 50-100 strands of hair every day, and this is normal. If you lose more hair every day than that, you need to find out what caused it so you can treat it immediately before baldness occurs.

Some of the things that can cause excessive hair loss and potentially lead to baldness are:

1. Heredity

The most common cause of baldness is heredity or genetics. This condition can cause androgenic alopecia with a distinctive pattern of baldness.

This type of baldness is often characterized by thinning hair and receding hairline on the forehead. Hereditary baldness can start in adolescence and occurs gradually as you age.

2. Hormonal changes

Various conditions that cause changes in hormone levels in the body can lead to baldness. Some examples of conditions that can interfere with hormone levels are pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, PCOS, and thyroid disorders. Baldness due to hormonal changes is generally temporary.

3. Certain diseases

A number of medical conditions, such as the autoimmune disease that causes alopecia areata, fungal infections of the scalp (tinea capitis), and a mental disorder called trichotillomania, can cause baldness.

In addition, events that cause stress or psychological problems, such as the death of a loved one or divorce, can also cause hair loss and baldness.

4. Medicines

Baldness can also occur due to the side effects of drugs, such as drugs for cancer (chemotherapy), depression, arthritis, gout, hypertension, or heart disease.

If baldness occurs after you use certain drugs, you should consult a doctor so that you can change or stop the drug. Do not change or stop medications right away without your doctor knowing.

5. Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy or radiotherapy used to treat cancer can cause baldness, especially if therapy is done in the head or neck area. However, baldness due to radiation is generally temporary and hair can grow back months after therapy is over.

6. Styling and hair care

Too often styling your hair in a pulled way, such as a ponytail or braid, can cause baldness. This type of baldness is called traction alopecia.

In addition, excessive hair care, such as dyeing your hair too often, curling it, or straightening it, also has the potential to cause baldness. This is because this habit can make hair brittle and easy to fall out.


Risk Factors for Baldness

  • There are a number of conditions that can make a person more at risk of going bald, namely:
  • Have a family history of baldness
  • Old age
  • Experiencing stress
  • Suffer from certain medical conditions, such as lupus or diabetes
  • Experiencing significant weight loss or lack of calorie and protein intake
  • Experiencing deficiencies of certain nutrients, such as iron, protein, or zinc


Symptoms of Baldness

Hair can grow in almost any part of the body, except on the palms of the hands, feet, or on the eyelids. Hair is formed from a protein called keratin which is present in hair follicles. Hair will experience growth and will fall out on its own. This process takes place repeatedly to form a cycle. There are 3 phases that occur during the hair growth cycle, namely:

  • Anagen, which is the phase when hair grows and lasts up to 8 years
  • Catagen, which is the transitional phase of hair growth that lasts 2–3 weeks
  • Telogen, which is a resting phase that lasts 2–3 months, before the hair falls out and is replaced with new hair

Baldness can occur when there is excessive and daily hair loss, without any new hair growth. Complaints or symptoms that can lead to baldness are:

  • Hair becomes easily broken and damaged
  • There is thinning of hair, especially on the top of the head
  • Retreating hairline at the forehead
  • Pitches appear on the scalp or skin where hair is usually grown
  • A lot of hair falls out when you comb or when you run your hands through your hair
  • Crusts appear on the scalp that gradually expand

The symptoms above can occur gradually or appear suddenly, depending on the cause of baldness. Baldness can occur anywhere on the skin where hair is grown, including the eyebrows and beard.

In addition to the above symptoms, hair loss that eventually triggers baldness can also be accompanied by itching or pain on the scalp. In fact, if the cause is a yeast infection, the bald area can become swollen and discharge pus.


When to see a doctor

Immediately check with your doctor if you experience the symptoms mentioned above, especially if they occur suddenly, a lot of hair loss, or baldness in other areas, such as eyebrows.

You should also see a doctor if baldness or hair loss makes you feel depressed or inferior. This is important to do to maintain your mental health.


Diagnosis of Baldness

To diagnose baldness, the doctor will ask about the complaints and symptoms experienced by the patient, as well as the patient's and family's medical history. The doctor will also ask about the patient's usual hair care.

After that, the doctor will perform a physical examination by looking at the bald skin. Generally, this step is sufficient to diagnose baldness. However, to find out the cause of baldness, the doctor will perform the following supporting examinations:

  • Blood tests, to find out medical conditions that cause balding
  • Skin biopsy, which is taking samples of bald skin for examination in the laboratory
  • Light microspocy, which is an examination of hair loss with a microscope to see if there are any disturbances at the base of the hair


Baldness Treatment

Baldness treatment aims to suppress hair loss and regrow hair loss. This can be done by:

Drugs

Here are some drugs that doctors can give to treat baldness:

  • Minoxidil, to slow baldness to hair growth, is available as a lotion or shampoo
  • Finasteride, to inhibit the formation of hormones in male skin that cause baldness
  • Spironolactone, to inhibit the formation of hormones that cause baldness in men and women
  • Corticosteroids, to help treat baldness due to autoimmune diseases, such as alopecia areata
  • Diphencyprone, to promote hair growth, especially in baldness due to alopecia areata


Medical procedures

Some medical procedures that can be done to treat balding are:

  • Hair transplant surgery
    The surgery is performed by moving the scalp with active hair follicles to the bald area. One surgery session generally removes about 10–60 hair follicles. The results of the surgery can be seen after a few months.

  • Laser therapy
    This therapy is done by firing a laser beam into the bald area to stimulate hair growth. Laser therapy can be performed on baldness due to heredity, alopecia areata, or due to chemotherapy.

  • PRP (platelet-rich plasma)
    This procedure is done by taking a small amount of the patient's blood and then processing it so that the plasma is separated from the blood cells. The plasma is extracted and injected into the bald areas of the skin to stimulate hair growth.

If baldness is caused by certain diseases or medical conditions, treatment will be taken to treat the disease. For example, if baldness is caused by a deficiency of iron or zinc, the doctor will give supplements that contain these minerals.

In addition, bald sufferers can wear wigs for a while and are advised to avoid pulling or tying their hair too tightly, and to be more careful in choosing hair care products.


Complications of baldness

Although generally harmless, balding can cause a variety of complications, including:

  • Disruption of appearance
  • Decreased self-confidence
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depression
  • Sunburn (sunburn) on the bald area of ​​the scalp


Prevention of Baldness

Baldness due to genetic factors or age cannot be prevented. However, you can still reduce the risk of baldness by protecting your hair from damage. Some steps that can be taken are:

  • Let your hair grow naturally according to its original color and texture.
  • Avoid tying or braiding your hair too tightly.
  • Avoid shampooing every day, unless your hair is very oily.
  • Choose hair care products wisely, including shampoo and hair dye.
  • Avoid over-straightening or curling your hair, especially with tools that apply heat to your hair. If you want to use it, make sure your hair is dry and use the lowest level of heat.
  • Use a wide-toothed comb and avoid combing while the hair is still wet.
  • Protect your hair from excessive sun exposure, for example by wearing a hat when doing outdoor activities when the sun is hot.

If you need chemotherapy, try asking your doctor about using a cooling cap to reduce the risk of hair loss. If you already have baldness, be sure to follow your doctor's advice for treatment, both to regrow hair and to prevent it from getting worse.

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