Hair loss is a relatively common occurrence that affects people of all age groups. In the medical circles hair loss is referred to as alopecia.

There are different types of hair loss and therefore different  modalities of treatment. The  commonest types of hair loss in Kenya are balding (which can affect both men and women) and alopecia areata.

What is the cause of hair loss?

Hair loss occurs often as a result of multiple factors such as genetic make-up of a person, hormonal factors and autoimmune conditions. Autoimmune conditions are diseases which result from the body attacking itself, usually for unknown reasons.

Some causes of hair loss are not pathologic. Hair practices are one of the commonest cause of hair loss in women. Trauma and improper use of chemicals used to straighten hair may also lead to hair loss.

How do I know whether I have hair loss?

Different kinds of hair loss present differently. People who suffer from balding will begin by noticing thinning or reduced hair volume on affected areas of the scalp. They also may notice a hair line which is receding. In women, an increasingly widening parting when doing a usual hair style may be the first sign.

Other types of hair loss may occur within a very short time. You may suddenly notice a patch of hair missing from the scalp. Other people may notice increased shedding of hair during manipulation such as combing or plaiting.

Some people experience some symptoms before losing hair such as incessant itch or pain on the scalp before they actually start losing hair.

What should I do if I have hair loss?

The best thing to do if you think you suffer from hair loss is to visit a doctor nearest to you or to see a Dermatologist. A dermatologist is doctor who is specialised in management of conditions that affect the skin and its appendages, of which hair is one.

A dermatologist will assess your condition and advise on which management is best suited for your specific type of hair loss.

It is important to avoid experimental treatments as some will worsen your situation. It is also good to see a doctor as early as possible in order to avoid deterioration of your condition and get good results with treatment.

Always discuss your hair practices with your doctor as well as any other treatments that you have tried.

Is hair loss curable?

As mentioned above, there are different types of hair loss. There are treatments available for different conditions. Some are harder to treat than others. While some may recover fully, others may not be reversible. It is therefore best to discuss your condition with a qualified doctor.