Ask Dr. Peters: ‘Why am I losing my hair?’

Dr. Justus PetersBy Justus Peters, M.D.

Literally, that is a great question. That is the question that doctors love to investigate and come up with the answers. Hair loss isn’t difficult to find the answer to because the reasons for it remain a handful.

Human heads can have close to 100,000 hairs on the scalp, and normal loss is around 30 to 60 hairs daily.  Not enough to notice thinning, but over the years it can lead to a “baldness” pattern.

The top three reasons for hair loss are:

1.  Hormone imbalances

2.  Medical conditions

3.  Medications

Therefore, the key to treating hair loss is finding out the cause.

1. Hormone imbalances from menopause, pregnancy and hereditary factors can cause both male and female pattern hair loss.

2. Medical conditions such as thyroid problems, autoimmune issues like lupus or alopecia areata (when your immune system decides to attack your own hair follicles), scalp infections with fungus such as ringworm and scarring can cause hair loss.

3. Medications that treat cancer are well known for causing hair loss. Other meds for arthritis, depression, heart disease and high blood pressure can also cause hair loss.

The greatness of medicine observed that some side effects of medication can cause hair regrowth.  The side effect of one blood pressure medicine called Minoxidil was noted to increase blood flow to the hair follicle. The topical form is called Rogaine.

Another medication is called Finasteride, which treats enlarged prostate. This drug has been known to slow hair loss progression and even improve new hair growth. It is also used for cancer prevention of prostate in men and can be used for postmenopausal women.

Surgical hair transplants work well. Of course, wigs and hairpieces are alternatives for those who don’t respond to treatment.

Don’t despair when losing your hair, call your local doctor today for an appointment. Be safe and keep exercising.

Dr. Justus Turner Peters, a family physician at Glen Rose Medical Center’s Pecan Plantation clinic, received his medical school training at Creighton University School of Medicine in Nebraska and completed his family medicine residency at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth. Board-certified in family medicine, Dr. Peters’ practice encompasses the care of infants and children as well as adults of all ages. He also conducts ongoing research in the areas of childhood obesity and lower extremity injuries. He serves as the Somervell County Local Health Authority.


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