You wake up and find a few more strands of hair than you expected on your pillowcase or an awful lot of hair seems to be collecting in the drain of your shower. Since most people shed as many as 100 strands of hair each day, it can be difficult to tell if your hair loss is just normal shedding or something to be genuinely concerned about.
Although hair loss takes many forms, typically male pattern baldness occurs in a distinct pattern. If you’re worried that you’re losing your hair, examining how it’s falling out can help you determine the cause of hair loss and the best way to proceed.
The Pattern of Loss
Many men who experience hair loss are dealing with male pattern baldness. If there are any benefits to male pattern baldness, one of them would be that the hair loss occurs in a pattern, so it’s easy to see whether it’s your problem or not. One of the earliest warning signs that you’re dealing with male pattern baldness is having your hair recede backwards from the hairline.
Typically, the hair at the front of the hairlines on the left and right sides will recede first, creating a shape like the letter “M.” As hair loss continues, the hair on on the top of the scalp will fall out, so that the hairlines takes on the shape of the letter “U.”
Another distinguishing feature of male pattern baldness is that the hair that falls out doesn’t grow back. If hair does grow back, it might have fallen out due to normal shedding or because of another condition.
Other Signs of Hair Loss
Male pattern baldness might be common, but it’s not the only cause of hair loss in men. If large amounts of hair suddenly fall out, the cause might be telogen effluvium, or shock loss. Men who have had a recent health issue, gone on a drastic diet or had another shock to their system might experience telogen effluvium. It might make more sense to think of the condition as one of excessive shedding all at once, rather than full hair loss, since in the majority of cases, the hair does begin to grow again.
Another warning sign of a different type of hair loss might be if the hair falls out in clumps, leaving bald patches on the scalp. Alopecia areata, an autoimmune condition, is usually behind hair loss that leaves round patches behind. The immune system is attacking certain hair follicles, causing the hair to fall out.
Hair loss that occurs due to excessive pressure or force on the hair and follicles can also lead to the development of bald patches. It’s possible that wearing a tight ponytail or braid can enough pressure on the follicles to cause the hair to shed, for example. Or, a person might have a condition that causes him to tug at areas of hair, leading to patches of baldness.
What to Do
For some people, even a mild amount of hair loss might be enough to start thinking of ways to stop the loss or reverse it. Understanding the different warning signs of different types of hair loss can help you understand what to do about it.
In the case of male pattern baldness, for example, a hair transplant is the only treatment that offers a permanent fix. But, the surgery doesn’t put an end to hair loss, so a person will continue to go lose certain hairs as time goes on. For that reason, hair restoration surgery is usually recommended for people who have a noticeable amount of hair loss. Performing the surgery too early can mean that you need to have an additional procedure performed a few years down the road, when you hair loss has progressed further.
Medications might help men with some types of hair loss, as well. For example, people with alopecia areata might benefit from medicines that suppress the immune system and keep it from attacking the hair follicles. There are also medicines designed for people battling hair loss, such as Minoxidil and Propecia. While medication can help with hair regrowth or can slow down hair loss, they aren’t necessarily meant to be a permanent fix to the problem and can have some unpleasant side effects.
Knowing what to look for when it comes to hair loss can help you figure out the best way to proceed. Speaking with a hair restoration specialist, such as Dr. Kyle Choe in Virginia Beach, can also help you get a grasp on the cause of your hair loss and the best way to cope with it. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Choe, call (757) 389-5850 today.