So….deep breath…this is my first blog post EVER!!! To say that my stomach is a jumble of excitement and nerves is an understatement! In fact the actual writing has been the easy bit, what has utterly driven me round the bend was navigating my way through the world of widgets, gravatars, URLs and so forth. If that means absolutely nothing to you then you are clearly in the same boat I was a matter of days ago. Everything I read assured me that setting up a blog was child’s play…..eherrm……well all I can say is that may well be true, however if you are a total techie novice like me it is a very different matter. I was literally tearing my hair out at times, which in a rather vague way got me thinking about hair loss and thought that would be a very apt subject for this inaugural post.
Most of us are fairly preoccupied with our barnets. If we aren’t shelling out on products, we are harassing our hairdressers for designer dos or attempting ludicrous styling techniques in the privacy of our own bedrooms….just me then? No I thought not! It is therefore not surprising that each year a fair number of people come to see me with concerns over hair loss.
We lose up to 50-100 strands of hair each day so hair loss to some degree is normal. However various things can occur to cause more excessive amounts to fall out. One of the commonest causes is of hereditary balding. We tend to think of this only being an issue for chaps, but unfortunately the same can be true for women. Whereas men tend to start with a receding hairline and then move on to losing hair around the crown and temples, ladies seem to develop more general thinning of the hair with loss of volume. So have a peek at the generation above you and if they have flowing locks into old age you are probably going to be lucky.
Just under 2% of the population are affected by a condition known as alopecia areata. It tends to cause coin sized bald patches on the scalp, but at its most severe and rare can affect hair all over the body. No one really understands what causes alopecia and this can make treatment difficult. Occasionally steroid creams or tablets can be of benefit, and very rarely for severe cases more powerful drugs are used. Fortunately around 80% of people regain a full head of hair within a year so the most common advice given is to sit tight and wait for things to recover in their own time…..however frustrating that must be.
Often people ask me about blood tests for hair loss and this is generally a good initial plan. There are a multitude of medical conditions that can potentially have a negative effect on hair. One of the commonest is disorders of the thyroid gland as well as some skin and joint diseases. Sometimes low iron levels can result in hair thinning. Happily hair usually grows back normally once the underlying issue is treated.
Various common medicines can also have an effect on hair loss, in particular the oral contraceptive pill, some antidepressants and some epilepsy medication. Switching type of contraceptive can often ameliorate this problem.
Last, and in my experience certainly not least, is the impact emotional stress can have on our hair. The human psyche is not something to be underestimated and can have far reaching effects, not least on our outward appearance. However this too tends to resolve itself once our inner emotions start to heal.
So there you have it, a whistle stop tour of hair related matters and my first blog post completed.