Bald

Bald

Baldness or alopecia is a condition when hair on the scalp or other areas of the body is lost or shed excessively. This condition can happen to anyone, but is more often experienced by men.

Baldness can occur due to various factors , ranging from hereditary factors, stress, certain medical conditions, to the effects of chemotherapy. Baldness can be temporary or permanent. Most cases of baldness can be overcome if detected early and given the right treatment.

Causes of Baldness 

Everyone loses around 50–100 hairs every day. This is common and new hair will grow to replace the lost hair. However, hair loss can be a sign of a medical disorder when there is no new hair growth leading to baldness.

A number of factors that can cause excessive hair loss and potentially lead to baldness include:

1. Hereditary factors 

Hereditary or genetic factors are the most common cause of baldness. This condition can result in androgenic alopecia with a typical pattern of baldness.

This type of baldness is often characterized by thinning hair and receding hairline on the forehead. Baldness due to heredity can start from adolescence and occur gradually with age.

2. Hormonal changes

There are various conditions that cause changes in hormone levels in the body and trigger baldness. Some of these conditions 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 autoimmune diseases that cause 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 disturbances, such as the loss of a loved one or divorce, can also cause hair loss and baldness.

4. Medicines 

Baldness can also occur as a side effect of the use of drugs, such as drugs for cancer ( chemotherapy ), depression, arthritis , gout, hypertension, and heart disease.

5. Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy or radiotherapy which is commonly done to treat cancer can cause baldness, especially when done in the head or neck area. However, radiation-induced baldness is generally temporary and hair can grow back several months after therapy is completed.

6. Styling and hair care

Too often styling hair in a way that is pulled, such as ponytails or braids, can cause baldness. This type of baldness is called traction alopecia .

In addition, excessive hair care, for example coloring hair too often, curling, or straightening hair, can also potentially cause baldness. This is because the habit can make hair brittle and easy to fall out.

Risk factors for baldness

There are a number of conditions that can make someone more at risk of experiencing baldness, namely:

  • Having a history of baldness in the family
  • Advanced age
  • Experiencing stress
  • Suffering from certain medical conditions, such as lupus or diabetes
  • Experiencing significant weight loss or lack of calorie and protein intake
  • Experiencing a deficiency of certain nutrients, such as iron , protein, or zinc

Symptoms of Baldness

Baldness can occur when there is excessive hair loss that lasts every day, without new hair growth. Complaints or symptoms that can initiate baldness are:

  • Hair becomes easily broken and damaged
  • Thinning of hair, especially on the top of the head
  • The receding hairline on the forehead
  • Spots appear on the scalp or skin that is usually overgrown with hair
  • A lot of hair falls out when combing or when applying hands to the hair
  • Scaly spots appear on the scalp that gradually widen

The symptoms above can develop gradually or appear suddenly, depending on the cause of baldness. Baldness can occur in all areas of the skin where hair grows, including eyebrows and beards.

In addition to the symptoms above, hair loss that eventually triggers baldness can also be accompanied by itching or pain in the scalp. In fact, if the cause is a fungal infection , the bald area can experience swelling and pus.

When should you go to the doctor?

Immediately check with a doctor if you experience the symptoms mentioned above. Examinations need to be done, especially when it happens suddenly, the amount of hair that falls out is very large, or there is baldness in other areas, for example eyebrows.

You should also check yourself with a doctor if baldness or hair loss causes you to feel depressed or lack confidence. This is important to take care of your mental health.

Baldness Diagnosis

To diagnose baldness, the doctor will ask the patient's complaints and symptoms, as well as the patient's and family's health history. The doctor will also ask about hair care that the patient usually does.

After that, the doctor will perform a physical examination by looking at the bald skin. To confirm the diagnosis, the doctor will recommend the patient to undergo supporting examinations, such as:

  • Blood test , to find out the medical condition causing the baldness
  • Skin biopsy , which is the taking of a sample of skin that has experienced baldness to be examined in the laboratory
  • Light microscopy, which is the examination of hair loss with a microscope to find out if there is a disorder at the base of the hair

Treatment of Baldness

Baldness treatment aims to suppress hair loss and regrow hair that has fallen out. Baldness treatment methods that can be done include:

Medicines

Here are some medicines that can be given by the doctor to overcome baldness:

  • Minoxidil , to slow down baldness to grow hair, this drug is available in the form of lotion or shampoo
  • Finasteride , to inhibit the formation of hormones in men's skin that cause baldness
  • Spironolactone , to inhibit the formation of hormones that cause baldness in both men and women
  • Corticosteroids , to help treat baldness due to autoimmune diseases, such as alopecia areata
  • Diphencyprone, to stimulate hair growth, especially in baldness due to alopecia areata

Medical procedures

Some medical procedures that can be done to overcome baldness are:

  • Hair transplant operation
    The operation is performed by transferring the scalp with active hair follicles to the bald area. One operation session can generally transfer the skin where there are around 10-60 hair follicles. The results of this operation can be seen after a few months.
  • Laser
    therapy This therapy is done by shooting laser beams into bald areas to stimulate hair growth. Laser therapy can be performed on hereditary baldness, alopecia areata , or as a result of chemotherapy.
  • PRP ( platelet-rich plasma ) The
    PRP procedure is performed 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 will be taken and injected into the bald skin area to stimulate hair growth.

If the baldness is caused by a certain medical condition, the doctor will overcome the disease. For example, in baldness caused by a lack of iron or zinc , the doctor will give a supplement that contains the mineral.

Patients can wear wigs for a while and avoid the habit of pulling or tying hair too tightly. Patients are also advised to be more careful in choosing hair care products.

Complications of Baldness

Although generally harmless, baldness can cause various other health problems, such as:

  • Appearance disorders
  • Self-confidence decreases
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depression
  • Sunburn ( sunburn ) on the bald scalp area

Prevention of Baldness

Baldness due to genetic factors or age cannot be prevented. However, baldness due to other factors can be prevented by doing some of the following:

  • Do not tie or braid hair too tightly
  • Do not shampoo every day, unless the hair is very oily
  • Choose hair care products wisely, including shampoo and hair dye
  • Do not straighten or curl your hair excessively, especially with tools that heat the hair
  • Use a comb with rare teeth and do not comb while the hair is still wet
  • Limit hair from exposure to excessive sunlight, for example by wearing a hat when outdoors when the sun is hot

If you need to undergo chemotherapy, ask your doctor about the need to use a cooling cap to reduce the risk of hair loss.

If you have already experienced baldness, make sure to follow the treatment advice from the doctor, both to regrow hair and to prevent baldness from getting worse.

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