Alopecia (hair loss)

Alopecia (hair loss)

Alopecia is the medical term for hair loss. Hair loss can affect any part of the body, in both women and men, and it can cause a great deal of distress and anxiety. The commonest form of hair loss
is male pattern balding which affects over half of all men as they become older. However, there
are many other forms of hair loss – a common cause is alopecia areata which often results in the sudden appearance of round bald patches. Other important causes of hair loss include hormonal problems, iron deficiency, scarring from inflammatory skin diseases and excessive hair shedding, for example following pregnancy and illness. Treatment of alopecia involves working out the underlying cause first of all – a doctor experienced in the diagnosis and management of hair loss will then be able to advise the most appropriate therapy. Investigations to look at the cause of hair loss include blood tests and scalp biopsy under local anaesthetic.

Treatment of hair loss depends on the cause but include steroid creams, steroid injections, ultra violet light therapy and tablets.