Loss of hair; Alopecia; Baldness; Telogen effluvium
Hair loss from menopause or childbirth often returns to normal 6 months to 2 years later.
For hair loss due to illness (such as fever), radiation therapy, medication use, or other causes, no treatment is necessary. The hair will usually grow back when the illness has ended or the therapy is finished. You may want to wear a wig, hat, or other covering until the hair grows back.
Hair weaves, hair pieces, or changes of hair style may disguise hair loss. This is generally the least expensive and safest approach to hair loss. Hair pieces should not be sutured to the scalp because of the risk of scars and infection.
Call your doctor if:
A careful medical history and examination of the hair and scalp are usually enough to diagnose the cause of your hair loss.
Your doctor will ask detailed questions such as:
Tests that may be performed (but are rarely needed) include:
Ringworm on the scalp may require the use of an oral drug, such as griseofulvin. Creams and lotions applied to the affected area may not get into the hair follicles to kill the fungus.
For more information on treatment, see also:
Mousney AL, Reed SW. Diagnosis and treating hair loss. Am Fam Physician. 2009;80:356-362.
Habif TP. Hair diseases. In: Habif TP, ed. Clinical Dermatology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2009:chap 24.
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