Posts Tagged ‘Hair’

Causes of Female Pattern Hair Loss and Male Pattern Hair Loss (MPB)

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

This may be the most important question for you to ask. Once you know the cause you can work on a solution. Let’s get started:

It is clear that genetics and inheritance play a role in female and male pattern hair loss in creating a predisposition to hair loss or other related dysfunctions that coexist or cause hair loss. However, genetics are triggered and moderated by many factors, environmental, metabolic, dietary etc.. genetics alone do not offer an answer nor an understanding of why patterned hair loss occurs or how it can be reversed. Thanks to the polygenic nature of so called androgenic alopecia (AGA) we don’t fully understand how AGA happens within the androgen-dependent air loss model.

For now, male pattern baldness (MPB),  female pattern baldness is best defined as by visual means using a system such as the Hamilton-Norwood or Ludwig classification systems. The reality is that hair loss is caused by many factors, it is your body’s canary in a gold mine, alerting you to a larger issue within the body that needs to be addressed.

Most scientific research done regarding androgenic alopecia (AGA) concentrated on androgenic metabolism and androgenic receptors and the genes involved; however, as stated earlier many causes and models exist that may be worth investigating.  Some of these come from research into areas other than hair loss such as cardivascular and cancer research. Since hair loss incidents are linked to some of these diseases, preventing some of these degenerative diseases potentially does reverse hair loss.

Naturally, the list below is a glimpse at a vast field.. oversimplified.

I have found many causes of hair loss, many of them overlap. Each of these will be explained in more detail individually as I get the time to write more.. The list below is enough to get you excited (I hope) and get you started on your research.

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How is Patterned Baldness Tested for?

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

Evaluation for causative disorders should be done based on clinical symptoms. A mainstream physician wont do much if any testing once they’ve determined their patient has male-pattern and female-pattern hair loss. Many readily available blood, urine and saliva tests could be done to understand metabolic, hormonal and nutritional issues in the body. Other articles will discuss these further.

These are hair tests that could be done on the scalp/hair itself:

The pull test: to evaluate diffuse scalp hair loss. Gentle traction is exerted on a group of hair (about 40–60) on three different areas of the scalp. The number of extracted hairs is counted and examined under a microscope. Normally, <3 hairs per area should come out with each pull. If >10 hairs are obtained, the pull test is considered positive.

The pluck test: In this test, the individual pulls hair out “by the roots.” The root of the plucked hair is examined under a microscope to determine the phase of growth and used to diagnose a defect of telogen, anagen, or systemic disease. Telogen hairs are hairs that have tiny bulbs without sheaths at their roots. Telogen effluvium shows an increased percentage of hairs upon examination. Anagen hairs are hairs that have sheaths attached to their roots. Anagen effluvium shows a decrease in telogen-phase hairs and an increased number of broken hairs.

Hair mineral analysis: Tests for minerals and heavy metals.

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Scalp biopsy: This test is done when alopecia is present, but the diagnosis is unsure. The biopsy allows for differing between scarring and nonscarring forms. Hair samples are taken from areas of inflammation, usually around the border of the bald patch.

Daily Hair Counts: This is normally done when the pull test is negative. It is done by counting the number of hairs lost. The hair that should be counted are the hairs from the first morning combing or during washing. The hair is collected in a clear plastic bag for 14 days. The strands are recorded. If the hair count is >100/day is considered abnormal except after shampooing, where hair counts will be up 250 and be normal.

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Types of Hair

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

Knwoing what these words mean can help you better understand the articles on this website.

The below are quotes from Wikipedia

Terminal hair
Terminal hairs are thick, long, and dark, as compared with vellus hair.[1]  During puberty, the increase in androgenic hormone levels causes vellus hair to be replaced with terminal hair in certain parts of the human body.[2]  These parts will have different levels of sensitivity to androgens, primarily of the testosterone family.[3]

The pubic area is particularly sensitive to such hormones, as are the armpits which will develop axillary hair.[4] Pubic and axillary hair will develop on both men and women, to the extent that such hair qualifies as a secondary sex characteristic,[5] although males will develop terminal hair in more areas. This includes facial hair, chest hair, abdominal hair, leg and arm hair, and foot hair.[6] Human females on the other hand can be expected to retain more of the vellus hair.[7]

Vellus hair
Vellus hair, colloquially referred to as ‘peach fuzz’ or ‘bum fluff’ is short, fine, light-colored, and barely noticeable hair that develops on most of a person’s body from his/her childhood. Exceptions include the lips, the back of the ear, the palm of the hand, the sole of the foot, some external genital areas, the navel and scar tissue. The density of hair – the number of hair follicles per area of skin – varies from person to person. Each strand of vellus hair is usually less than 2 mm (1/13 inch) long and the follicle is not connected to a sebaceous gland.[1]

Vellus hair is most easily observed on children and adult women, as they generally have less terminal hair to obscure it. Vellus hair is not lanugo hair. Lanugo hair is a much thicker type of hair that, in human forms, normally grows only on fetuses.

Vellus hair is differentiated from the more visible terminal or androgenic hair, which develops only during and after puberty, usually to a greater extent on men than it does on women.

Lanugo Hair
Lanugo is fine, downy hair; it is a type of fur. Often found in teratomas.

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Hair Life-cycle Stages

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

Hair grows in three (3) stages: Anagen, Catagen, and Telogen.

The Anagen phase is the phase where hair is actively growing. This phase usually lasts longer in women than men. When hair loss occurs it was found that the anagen phase shortens and the hair strand gets thinner (miniaturization of hair).

Nourishing the hair starts in nourishing your body. A permanent solution to hair loss lies in nutrition, diet, metabolism, hormones, not in topicals. Topically applied herbs and oils can help but they often help by decreasing inflammation locally on the scalp or by killing off scalp parasites.

Find more images and illustrations here:

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Women’s Ludwig & Other Hair Loss Classification Scales

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

In women, the hair loss progresses as a diffused thinning of hair all over the top areas and crown of the head (i.e. parietal region). [5] [13] In this case, this hair loss is either referred to as male-pattern baldness, or as female-pattern baldness. [13]


Do Women Get Patterned Hair Loss?

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Yes. It could be referred to as female pattern baldness, patterned baldness, diffused baldness, female baldness, or even as male pattern baldness (MPB)

Thirteen percent (13%) of pre-menopausal women are thought to experience some symptoms of patterned baldness, this number climbs up to 75% of women experiencing patterned baldness after the age of 65. [13]   Hair loss is increasing in both men and women, men in their early twenties are now experiencing MPB.

In my personal experience, I see many women, including ones in their twenties and thirties with thin hair and bald spots. In many cases when a metabolic issue exists hair loss is more likely to occur.

In women, the hair loss progresses as a diffused thinning of hair all over the top areas and crown of the head (i.e. parietal region). [5] [13] In this case, this hair loss is either referred to as male-pattern baldness, or as female-pattern baldness. [13]

I have heard of women who were very effected emotionally when their physicians told them they had “male pattern baldness” (because her doctor viewed it is a male-hormone dependent condition).

If this indeed was pure a male hormone issue then why are women experiencing hair loss at younger ages and more often? More importantly, how are some able to stop it using diet and nutrition, lifestyle and topical treatments?

I believe the use of the term male pattern baldness to describe any female hair loss is inappropriate.

Edited: 12/29/2010

Who Gets MPB & How Common is it?

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

Both men and women do.

AGA is very common, one study mentioned that AGA affected as many as 40% of adult men and women combined. [22] Another study mentioned that AGA affected up to 50% of white men 50 years of age or older [3] and it “affects up to 80% of males by the age of 80”. [20]

Thirteen percent (13%) of pre-menopausal women are thought to experience some symptoms of AGA, this number climbs up to 75% of women experiencing AGA after the age of 65. [13]   Hair loss is increasing in both men and women, men in their early twenties are now experiencing MPB.

According to wikipedia (as of 1/1/2011) “Incidence of pattern baldness varies from population to population based on genetic background, environmental factors do not seem to affect this type of baldness greatly. One large scale study in Maryborough, Victoria, Australia showed the prevalence of mid-frontal hair loss increases with age and affects 73.5% of men and 57% of woman aged 80 and over. According to Medem Medical Library’s website, male pattern baldness affects roughly 40 million men in the United States. Approximately 25 percent of men begin balding by age 20; two-thirds begin balding by age 60. There is a 4 in 7 chance of getting the baldness gene.”

This type hair loss follows a predictable pattern (in contrast to spots of baldness or alopecia totalis), most noticeably in men, thus it is commonly referred to as male-pattern baldness (MPB). To many, the term male pattern baldness (MPB) is interchangeable with androgenic alopecia (AGA).

According to current understanding, women also experience AGA. [13] [20] [23] [26][28] In women, the hair loss progresses as a diffused thinning of hair all over the top areas and crown of the head (i.e. parietal region). [5] [13] In this case, this hair loss is either referred to as male-pattern baldness, or as female-pattern baldness. [13]

I do not use the term androgenic alopecia (AGA). Find why here: Should the Term “Androgenic Alopecia” Be Used?

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Men’s Hamilton Norwood & Other Hair Loss Classification Scales

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

In men, male pattern baldness (MPB) or Androgenic Alopecia (AGA) can be identified and defined visually.

A study published in December, 2004 entitled “Validity of self reported male balding patterns in epidemiological studies” examined and compared the accuracy and reliability of the assessment of balding patterns when conducted by “trained observers” verses assessments of balding patterns conducted by “men” who are experiencing the balding themselves.

In this study, the trained observers and “men” used a classification system known as the “Hamilton-Norwood classification system” (shown below). This study found while it was best to have a trained observer assess the balding pattern, it found that “men’s self evaluation is accurate enough to ensure reliability and validity of results.” In other words, a man should be able to assess his own hair loss pattern using this scale reliably. [*1]

 

A related article posted today 9/18/2011 Male Pattern Baldness: classification and Incidence – by NORWOOD, O’TAR T. MD features a PDF document with the full text by Dr Norwood himself and his scale.

 

The Hamilton Norwood Classification Scale was created in 1975 and is shown next.


Figure 1. Hamilton Norwood Classification Scale (OT Norwood, 1975)

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Hair Follicle Scalp Images

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

Find images, illustrations and cross sections of scalps and hair follicles below – These are posted here for educational purposes.

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What is Hair?

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

Hair is one of if not the fastest growing tissue of the body, it’s made up of proteins called keratins.

Every strand of hair is made up of three layers: The inner layer (medulla) present in thick hairs only; the middle layer (cortex) determines the strength of the hair strand, texture, and color, and the cuticle, which protects the cortex. The cross section illustration below shows more detail.

Hair grows from roots, which are enclosed in hair follicles.

Below you will see a few illustrations of the hair and skin, the skin is called the dermal papilla (DP), which is fed by the bloodstream carrying nutrients vital to the growth of hair.

A hair follicle is mostly an epithelial tissue (i.e. it is a part of tissue made of closely-packed cells that are arranged in one or more layers and covers and body surfaces). A follicle originates in the dermis.  At the base of the hair follicle is what we call the dermal papilla (DP) enclosed within the hair bulb. The DP is crucial to the life-cycle of the hair, it contains nerves and blood vessels that deliver blood and nutrients (providing energy and amino acids) that are used in making keratin, a fibrous scleroprotein found in hair and nails.

Only the roots of hair are alive, and get nutrients from the blood stream, the visible part of hair is not living and therefore unable to heal itself. The health of hair is vitally connected to the scalp skin, nutrients, blood circulation and health of the body in general.

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Disclaimer: I must say this: The information presented herein is for informational purposes only. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements, making dietary changes, or before making any changes in prescribed medications.
All posts are strictly opinions meant to foster debate, education, comment, teaching, scholarship and research under the "fair use doctrine" in Section 107 of U.S. Code Title 17. No statement of fact is made and/or should be implied. Please verify all the articles on this site for yourself. The Information found here should in no way to be construed as medical advice. If You have a health issue please consult your professional medical provider. Everything here is the authors own personal opinion as reported by authors based on their personal perception and interpretation as a part of authors freedom of speech. Nothing reported here should be taken as medical advice, diagnosis or prescription; medical advice should only be taken from your health care provider. Consume the information found on this web site under your own responsibility. Please, do your own research; reach your own conclusions, and take personal responsibility and personal control of your health.