Understanding Hair Loss
Hair loss is a frustrating and embarrassing experience for many men and women as our hair is a significant part of our identity. Additionally, having thick hair can hold significant cultural value. If your hair starts to fall out, you may feel overwhelmed and unsure of how to manage it. Often considered a male issue, hair loss in women is also common. At Madeliene Elaine in Chevy Chase, MD, Dr. Madeliene Elaine Gainers is a board-certified dermatologist who specializes in hair loss for people of all ages. Don't let your hair prevent you from feeling confident and happy. Dr. Gainers can diagnose the reason for your hair loss and help you on the journey to beautiful hair. We encourage you to read through our treatment options and schedule an appointment to learn more.
What Causes Hair Loss?
The scientific term for hair loss is known as alopecia, and it can happen for a variety of reasons. Causing different patterns of hair loss and ranging in severity, certain types of alopecia include:
- Androgenic Alopecia or "male or female pattern baldness" – caused by genetics and reaction to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) hormone
- Alopecia areata – caused by an autoimmune disorder that attacks the hair follicles
- Telogen effluvium – caused by extreme stress
- Anagen effluvium – caused by irregular hair loss that happens in the growth stage
- Traction alopecia – caused by certain hairstyles or chemicals
- Postpartum hair loss – caused by pregnancy
While these are some of the most common reasons for hair loss, Dr. Gainers can diagnose the issue by reviewing what's happening inside your body, listening to your concerns, discussing your medical history, and assessing the pattern of your hair loss.
Hair Loss Treatments
One of the biggest burdens of reducing hair loss is trying to determine why it occurs. Many patients try home remedies for hair growth, but it often requires professional guidance and treatment. Some patients may prefer to avoid hair regrowth options like Rogaine®. To develop the best treatment plan for you, Dr. Gainers will need to complete diagnostic tests, look at your scalp, and review your medical history. During diagnostic tests, patients may need blood work or a small scalp biopsy so she can understand the underlying condition. These tests allow Dr. Gainers to determine whether you have a hormone imbalance, autoimmune issue, or if your scalp is causing the issue. She will also discuss your medical history and stress level. Though hair loss seems surface level, resolving or treating an internal issue can make a big difference in the appearance of your hair. At first, Dr. Gainers will start with conservative therapies and design a treatment plan based on your diagnosis. If the conservative approach does not work, she can discuss hair transplant treatments.
Hair Loss FAQ
What causes hair loss?
There are a variety of factors that can lead to hair loss, including hormonal changes, medical conditions, aging, poor diet, and stress. However, most people who experience hair loss do so because of heredity. While some causes, such as diet and stress, can be proactively managed, others — like heredity — cannot be avoided without the use of medical hair loss treatments.
Can hair loss be a sign of an underlying medical condition?
While going bald isn't typically a sign of a larger health problem, there are a few exceptions where an underlying medical condition may be the root of the problem. If you notice patchy spots on your scalp, full-body hair loss, or sudden and significant hair loss, it may be a good idea to visit a doctor.
Does hair loss affect women?
Though hair loss is traditionally associated with men, it can occur in women as well. This isn't as uncommon as it might seem, but fortunately, Dr. Gainers is highly experienced in treating hair loss in women in addition to men.
Reduce Hair Loss and Encourage Hair Growth
If you have a receding hairline, thinning hair, or bald spots, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Gainers. She is dedicated to helping you find a solution that can prevent further hair loss or encourage hair growth. Hair loss is extremely challenging for many women and men. Though it can take a while to regrow or stop hair loss, we want you to know we'll be with you every step of the way. We know how challenging it can feel to lose hair. Dr. Gainers is ready to help you feel confident in your appearance. Please call Madeliene Elaine in Chevy Chase, MD to learn more.