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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Alopecia is hair loss or balding. It may happen on any part of the body. There are many types of alopecia. Some types cause temporary hair loss and your hair will grow back. With other types, hair loss can get worse, and become permanent.
You may receive any of the following:
- Hair growing agents help promote hair growth. The medicine must be used continuously until new hair grows on the affected area.
- Steroids help decrease inflammation and damage to the hair follicle. Corticosteroids may be used to treat alopecia areata.
- Estrogen is a female hormone that is used for women with hyperandrogenism (high levels of male hormones). Estrogen can reduce the effects of male hormones on hair growth. This treatment is used in women with female pattern baldness.
- Immunologic agents affect the immune system cells that may be attacking hair follicles. This treatment is used to treat alopecia areata.
- Antibiotics may be needed if your alopecia is caused by an infection.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Your healthcare provider may recommend that you see a specialist such as a dermatologist or endocrinologist. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Relief from alopecia depends on the cause of your symptoms and your treatment. Alopecia may go away and then come back. It also may continue even with treatment. the following may help you manage alopecia:
- Avoid hair and scalp trauma. Use a soft-bristled hair brush and wide-toothed comb to protect your scalp from damage. Avoid the overuse of chemicals on your hair. Avoid hairstyles that pull your hair too much.
- Eat healthy foods. Hair loss can be caused by poor nutrition. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. Eat healthy snacks, such as low-fat yogurt, if you get hungry between meals.
- Reduce stress. Try to get enough sleep and daily exercise. Learn new ways to relax, such as deep breathing, meditation, and listening to music. These may help you cope with stressful events.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- Your symptoms get worse even with treatment.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
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