Hair loss isn’t something most people plan for, but for millions of Americans, it’s an inevitable reality. Thankfully, there are some things you can do to treat hair loss – and they don’t have to involve painful or invasive surgical procedures.
The Reality of Hair Loss
Hair loss is more pervasive than ever. And while it may not have the same dangerous side effects as other age-related health issues, it is a source of embarrassment and shame for many.
According to The Hair Society, 35 million men and 21 million women suffer from hair loss at any given time. For men, hair loss can start in your early-20s. However, it becomes most pronounced by the age of 35, when 40 percent of men experience some degree of thinning or balding. By the age of 80, the majority of men have significantly less hair than they did in their younger years.
Women don’t tend to experience hair loss to the same degree as men, but it’s still a very real issue. In fact, 80 percent of women will experience some thinning by the age of 60.
Hair loss can be brought on by any number of factors, including:
- Telogen effluvium. This form of hair loss occurs in the months following major stress. It frequently occurs in women after childbirth and/or following a serious infection or major surgery.
- Drug side effects. Certain drugs can cause hair loss, including warfarin, lithium, amphetamines, beta-blockers, and heparin. As most know, chemotherapy is another treatment that causes sudden hair loss.
- Medical illness. Some medical illnesses can cause hair loss, including lupus, thyroid disorder, syphilis, and nutritional imbalances.
- MPB or FPB. Most commonly, hair loss is traced back to hereditary pattern baldness, such as male pattern baldness (MPB) or female pattern baldness (FPB). These issues become more pronounced with age.
While it’s normal to lose somewhere between 50 to 100 hairs a day, anything in excess of this can cause hair loss. And whether it’s the result of a medical condition or genes, there are plenty of options to treat hair loss. Surgery, however, should be a last resort.
Why Surgery Should be Avoided
If you search for hair loss treatment options, you’ll inevitably run across a number of hair transplantation procedures. And while they promise amazing results, it’s important to understand some of the risks and possible complications that could stem from going under the knife.
Common side effects of surgical transplantation procedures include edema, sterile folliculitis, itchiness, numbness, hemorrhage, scarring, hiccups, and cysts. And, contrary to what many of these doctors will tell you, transplants are not a cure for baldness. They take time to produce results, and ongoing treatment sessions may be required. (This can be very pricey!)
As if these factors weren’t enough, consider the fact that hair transplants do nothing to address the underlying cause of hair loss. They simply mask the real issue. So while it’s possible that you’ll get some visible results, they’ll eventually go away.
Non-Surgical Options for Treating Hair Loss
Stay away from “miracle cures” and opt for non-surgical treatment options that actually treat the underlying issue. Here are a few suggestions:
- Improved diet. The simplest answer is to improve your diet. (This may not magically produce hair growth, but if nothing else, it’ll have a positive impact on your overall health. Here’s a look at some of the best foods for hair growth.
- Laser therapy. Low-level laser therapy, also known as LLLT, is a safe, in-home treatment option that uses a convenient laser cap to stimulate dormant hair follicles and encourage growth. This is one of the most proven hair loss treatment options on the market.
- Medication. There are only two FDA-approved hair loss medications on the market. They are Minoxidil (Rogaine) and Finasteride (Propecia). People typically use one of these medications at a time, though it’s sometimes possible to combine them for accelerated results.
Sometimes a holistic approach is the correct approach. In other words, you might get the best results by improving your diet, using a laser cap, and using medication. Speak with your doctor to develop a plan that’s tailored to your needs.
Make a Healthy Decision
Hair loss isn’t something most people are okay embracing. But before you pursue surgical transplantation, make sure you understand the risks and potential side effects. Consider if one of the non-surgical options outlined in this article could provide a superior outcome.