Hair loss is a condition that has different kinds in itself. Diffuse hair loss (diffuse thinning) is one of them. This kind of loss, which affects men and women, usually disappears when the underlying cause is resolved and the hair that has been lost regrows. However, in some cases, additional treatments may be required.
What are the common causes of diffuse hair loss? How is it diagnosed? Does it have a definitive solution? You can find the answers to all your questions in our article.
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What is Diffuse Hair Loss?
Diffuse hair loss, also known as chronic telogen effluvium, is a condition that causes thinning of the hair. Although there is no loss of follicles, the hair seems thinner and therefore sparser.
There are different reasons for this problem. To determine the exact underlying reason, the patient’s medical history should be examined in detail. In some cases, it may be appropriate to carry out treatments to prevent the loss of hair that has become thinner due to the underlying cause.
Reasons for Diffuse Hair Loss
Diffuse hair loss is a condition in which hair is reduced and falls. It would not be wrong to say that it is mainly caused by chronic telogen effluvium. In other words, the follicles enter the telogen (resting) phase and stop producing hair strands. This results in both thinning and loss. There may be many different reasons underlying this problem. The most common of these are as follows:
· Telogen Effluvium
Telogen effluvium is the most common reason for diffuse hair loss. So much so that, sometimes the two conditions are called by the same name. It occurs because the hair entirely enters the telogen phase, which is the resting phase in the hair growth cycle. This is usually temporary and when the condition improves, the hair that has been lost regrows.
· Anagen Effluvium
It is the loss that occurs as a result of the use of chemotherapy medications or drugs with similar effects. When the use of the medication ends, the hair starts to regrow.
· Alopecia Areata Incognita
It is a type of hair loss that occurs suddenly and leads to widespread hair loss. It usually develops in just a few weeks and is incorrectly diagnosed as male pattern baldness.
· Diffuse Alopecia Areata
It shows great similarities with alopecia areata incognita. However, it is a situation that develops over a longer period. It also causes thinning that will affect the entire scalp.
· Male Pattern Baldness
This is a problem that causes loss in the crown area and regression of the front hairline. Such loss is based on some hereditary factors. Besides, hair loss due to male pattern baldness is permanent.
What are the Symptoms?
Diffuse hair loss causes even loss and thinning of the hair on the entire scalp. Normal telogen effluvium usually goes away in a short time, while diffuse hair loss lasts longer than 6 months.
Diffuse hair loss is more common in women. However, it is known to occur in men as well. There are different symptoms of this condition and the most common ones are as follows:
- Hair loss in piles
- Thinning in the middle part of the scalp, loss in the frontal areas, and widening of the hair separation
- Significant loss of volume in the hair and hence a sparser appearance.
- The scalp becoming easier to see compared to past
Other than these, similar situations can also be considered symptoms of the problem.
What are the Treatment Methods?
There are different methods used for treatment. However, the appropriate methods depend entirely on the condition of the person and the underlying cause of the disorder. Today the most commonly used treatment methods are:
Minoxidil is one of the commonly used treatments for this condition. Using 2% and 5% Minoxidil facilitates and accelerates hair regrowth. Regular use may be necessary to maintain the results achieved. It should only be used with a doctor’s recommendation!
It is a prescription drug and is used if the DHT hormone is the basis of the loss. This drug was developed to suppress the level of the hormone DHT, which is the cause of male pattern baldness.
· Diet and Supplements
Biotin, amino acids, proteins, and zinc supplements are recommended for diffuse hair loss treatment. Besides, having foods rich in B vitamins and omega-3s in your diet can also contribute to strengthening hair and gaining resistance against loss.
· Scalp Cooling
If chemotherapy and radiotherapy underly the loss, the method of cooling the scalp may be preferred. This treatment method can contribute to the reduction of loss.
· Steroid and other Medications
Anti-androgens such as Spironolactone and Finasteride are used off-label in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia. Medicated shampoos may be recommended by the doctor when there are problems such as scalp infection and dandruff. In some cases, different topical solutions may also be offered.
How is Diffuse Hair Loss Diagnosed?
When you notice the signs and symptoms, you should see a specialist doctor immediately for diagnosis. Different tests and methods can be used to diagnose diffuse hair loss and to identify the underlying causes. These are generally as follows:
First, a detailed physical examination is performed. The degree and the way the hair falls are determined. Besides, the scalp is checked for redness, scaling, scarring, and inflammation. Then the diameter, length, and strength of the hair strands are controlled. If necessary, the scalp can be examined more deeply by using a trichoscope. Again, if necessary, USG (ultrasound) can be performed for the detection of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
· Blood Tests
Different blood tests may be asked by your doctor for a diagnosis. These are as follows:
- Full blood count
- Thyroid function tests
- Serum zinc level tests
- Liver and kidney function tests
- Hormonal evaluation (Hormone binding globulin, free androgen index, and prolactin levels are checked for those suspected of having hyperandrogenism)
- Antinuclear antibodies (ANA) test (to determine autoimmune status)
· Hair Pulling Test
Bundles of 40-50 hair strands are gently pulled by the doctor. This process is applied to different parts of the scalp. If 5 or more hairs come out from each section, we can talk about active loss. This test is generally done to determine anagen and telogen effluvium and alopecia areata.
It is performed for an in-depth examination of the hair. 25 to 50 hair strands are plucked from different parts of the scalp and examined under a special microscope. The number of anagen and telogen hair strands is determined. If more than 80% of the hair is in the anagen phase, the loss is considered normal. However, if more than 25% of the hair is in the telogen phase, it means there is telogen effluvium.
· Hair Biopsy
It is also called a punch biopsy. It is performed in case of diagnosis of cicatricial alopecia or scarring. A special device is used by the doctor to take a sample of tissue from the scalp. The removed tissue is then examined in detail.
Schedule a Consultation
If you also suspect diffuse hair loss and want to fix this situation, you should first determine the underlying cause of the problem correctly, and then apply the right treatment method. All these are only possible with the preference of an experienced and specialist doctor.
COSMETICIUM doctors offer their experience and expertise to your service and help you get rid of this problem permanently. You can contact us immediately to get more information on the subject and to benefit from a free online consultation.
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