In most cases, baldness is a natural process. In men, it is often a family “illness”. Hair loss usually occurs so that the front line of hair is lifted with the hair thinning on the scalp. In some males, these two areas overlap over time, and the thinning can then extend to the entire scalp.
In many women, hair begins to gradually but slightly thinning in early adulthood; this is a natural process and should not be considered abnormal. Sometimes the hair starts to thinning about three months after giving birth; it’s a fairly common case, and the hair grows again in the coming months.
In rare cases, baldness is the result of some sort of disorder. Hair loss can occur after severe and sudden illness. Many hairs stop growing during the illness and after three months they fall off, but then they start to grow again. Some severe or long-lasting illnesses, such as thyroid disorders, also cause diffuse hair loss. In most such cases, effective treatment of the underlying disease will restore the hair to normal condition. Some diseases affecting the scalp, e.g. lichen planus, can destroy follicles (hair bubbles) and, if they do not begin to be treated, cause permanent baldness of diseased places.
Some medicines – especially cytostatics that slow down cell growth and are applied especially against the cancer – can cause hair loss. Hair usually re-grows after cessation of therapy. Some fungal infections of the scalp are accompanied by the development of bald spots with skin peeling and hair breaking. There is a disease that can cause hair loss; in most cases the hair falls off from several places, but in some people it can cause complete baldness. The disease is called alopecia areata. It is characterized by the sudden appearance of round bald spots; the naked skull looks normal and there are several thin, white hairs and / or hairs that look like ”exclamation mark” which are narrower at the root rather than at the top. The cause of the disease is unknown.
Natural hair loss affects everyone, though some people are exposed to this process more than others. Each year, one in every 400 people goes to the doctor because of unusual or severe baldness. The number of men and women affected with baldness is about the same.
What to do?
Most people accept baldness as part of the aging process. Some are subjected to hair transplantation which is not always successful, and health insurance is not paying it.
Hair loss caused by fungal infections can be treated with anti-fungal tablets. In places where hair has fallen due to alopecia, the area usually re-grows hair after a few months. Your doctor will advise you to wait for a natural hair restoration or try to speed it up with a corticosteroid injectiona into the scalp.