Hair growth disorder is when something interferes with the hair growth cycle causing hair to thin, weaken and eventually fall. Many factors and reason are to blame for hair disorder including health conditions, medicines, some treatments or just something a person inherits from a family member.
Normal Hair Growth
Each day the scalp hair grows approximately 0.35 mm (6 inches per year), while the scalp sheds approximately 100 to 150 hairs per day, and more with shampooing. Because each follicle passes independently through the three stages of growth, the normal process of hair loss usually is unnoticeable. Therefore, it’s very important to understand the hair growth cycle in order to recognize and understand many of your hair problems.
First of all, the hair goes through the Anagen phase. While in this phase, the hair growth lasts an average of 3-5 years. So a full-length hair averages is 18 to 30 inches. The anagen phase is generally longer in Asians, and can last as much as 7 years with hair being able to grow to 1 meter.
At the end of the anagen phase, your hair enters the catagen phase. A short transitional phase that lasts approximately 10 days.
Lastly, your hair enters the telogen phase, a resting phase when your hair is released and falls out. The follicle then remains inactive for 3 months and the whole process is repeated.
However, when a person suffer from a hair disorder, this hair growth cycle becomes unbalanced. This is where a person should seek a professional advise in order to treat the hair disorder to be able to restore the balance.
Hair growth disorder sings and symptoms
Hair loss or alopecia is a hair disorder in which the hair falls out from skin areas where it is usually present, such as the scalp and body. This loss interferes with the many useful biologic functions of the hair, including sun protection and dispersion of sweat gland products. Here are the most common hair disorder causes:
- Alopecia. The loss or thinning of hair. There are two types of alopecia: scarring, in which hair follicles are destroyed, and nonscarring, which can be reversed. Most causes of this hair growth disorder is autoimmune diseases. When you have an autoimmune disease, your immune system attacks your own body. Fortunately, hair follicles are also a target to this immun system disorder. Lucky, this type of hair disorder is treatable and hair usually grow back after the patient finishes the treatment of the disease causing the problem. However, hair growth disorder due to scaring alopecia will never grow back.
- Male pattern baldness (androgenic alopecia). This is the most prominent type of hair disorder affecting half of all men over 50 years of age. This type of alopecia can be the result of so many factors including genes and sex hormones.
- Hirsutism. An abnormal growth of hair on a person’s face and body, especially on a woman. Sometimes, hirsutism runs in families. If your mother or sisters have it, you’re more likely to get it.
- Hair shaft disorders. This type of hair growth disorder is usually a hereditary abnormality. In this type of hair disorder scalp hair becomes progressively curly, frizzy and dry. And the most common sings are changes in color, density, length and structure of the hair.
Hair disorder diagnosis
The diagnosis of a hair disorder is complex, and an evaluation of the clinical presentation, history, and physical examination is necessary. According to professionals, a clinical examination should include scalp condition, pattern of hair loss, and length and diameter of hair fibers. In addition, other laboratory tests, such as a complete blood count, ferritin measurement, and thyroid screening, may be helpful.
Available treatment Options
- Eating a well-balanced diet and avoiding potentially damaging hair treatments can help prevent some types of hair disorders and hair growth disorders.
- The primary goals of treatment are regrowing the hair while treating the underlying cause of the disorder.
- Use drug therapies prescribed by your health care provider. These may include:
- Minoxidil (Rogaine): For hair growth and prevention of further hair loss.
- Tretinoin (Retin-A): To decrease thick scalp layer and increase minoxidil penetration.
- Topical or injectable steroids
- Oral contraceptives
For hair shaft disorders:
- Drugs for underlying diseases
Surgical and Other Procedures
Your health provider may prescribe a drug treatment for your condition. However there are other treatment options for these hair disorders:
- Cosmetic therapies, such as surgical placement of follicle supporting plugs or folds.
- For hirsutism, possibly removal of ovarian or adrenal tumor.