Tuesday, October 25, 2011

M.P.B. and F.P.B.: Causes and Possible Treatments for Alopecia by Chris Lontok

Baldness, or alopecia, is the condition of partial or complete loss of hair, primarily affecting the scalp. Baldness may spread over the entire head, or it may occur only in spots. Known causes of baldness include hereditary factors, aging, and diseases affecting the entire body, scalp disorders, ionizing radiation, and reaction to drugs.

In hereditary baldness, the hair follicles and oil glands in the scalp deteriorate and the hair gradually becomes thinner until only a few strands of fine, downy hair remain. The most common form of inherited baldness is male pattern baldness (M.P.B.) which spreads evenly, usually beginning with a partial loss of hair on the upper temples and on the crown of the head. This condition appears most frequently in men over 30 years old, although in some cases it may occur prematurely, even as early as the mid-teens. This form of heredity alopecia may be due in part to the hormonal changes that accompany the aging process.

Women become bald less often than men, but they carry the genes that determine pattern baldness and pass them on to their children. When inherited female pattern baldness (F.P.B.) does occur, it normally affects menopausal women—that is, women around the ages of 45 to 50 years old, suggesting a link to hormonal changes.

Several diseases, particularly those characterized by prolonged high fevers, may cause alopecia. Typhoid fever or scarlet fever can cause sudden loss of hair from the head or entire body. Gradual loss of hair may be caused by malnutrition, disorders of the endocrine system, drug poisoning, and other diseases. Alopecia universalis causes a permanent and total loss of hair over the entire body including the eyebrows and eyelashes. The cause of alopecia universalis is unfortunately still unknown.

Fungal infections like ringworm, severe bacterial infections, tuberculosis ulcers, and burns may also result in hair loss in the affected areas. Early treatment of some infections, particularly seborrheic dermatitis—chronic inflammation of the skin that also causes dandruff—may succeed in preventing hair loss from the scalp.

Individuals who have been exposed to significant doses of ionizing radiation, as from the explosion of nuclear weapons, tend to suffer from temporary baldness as well. Exposure to ionizing radiation from X-ray machines and other devices used to treat cancer may also cause temporary baldness. In addition, chemotherapy for cancer, which tends to destroy all rapidly dividing cells, may cause temporary total baldness because of its effect on hair follicles, which contain some of the most active cells in the body.

Certain hairstyles and hair treatments from the salon can also lead to hair loss. Cornrows and pigtails on can lead to hair loss if it's done too often on the hair. The pull on your hair can cause a type of hair loss called traction alopecia. Hot oil hair treatments or chemicals used in perms may cause inflammation (swelling) of the hair follicle, which can also result in scarring and hair loss.

Fortunately, people no longer have to endure the hassles that come along with M.P.B. or F.P.B. Various hair loss treatments are already available to help you cope with problems with baldness. Medication, hair topical treatments, and hair restoration are only a few of the alternatives for hair loss treatments. A popular hair topical treatment is the use of a cream containing the drug minoxidil (brand name Rogaine), that needs to be used daily on the scalp for better results. Hair restoration with hair therapy and hair replacement is also a popular choice for baldness. Hair transplant and the use of hair replacement is an inexpensive way of covering the balding area while you're undergoing hair therapy.