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Quick Facts

Hair Loss

(Baldness)

By

The Manual's Editorial Staff

Last full review/revision Jan 2021| Content last modified Jan 2021
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You can lose hair from a single patch on your scalp or all over your scalp. Rarely, you lose all your body hair.

What causes hair loss?

The most common cause of hair loss is male- or female-pattern baldness.

  • Male-pattern baldness starts at the forehead or top of head and spreads toward the back

  • Female-pattern baldness starts at the top of the head, and hair just thins out rather than leaving a bald patch

Male- and female-pattern baldness runs in families. It can start as early as your 20s and gets more common as you grow older.

Losing Hair

In men, hair is usually first lost at the temples or on the top of the head toward the back. This pattern is called male-pattern hair loss.

In women, hair is usually first lost on the top of the head. Typically, the hair thins rather than is completely lost, and the hairline stays intact. This pattern is called female-pattern hair loss.

Losing Hair

Other causes of hair loss include:

When should I see a doctor for hair loss?

See a doctor within a few days if you have hair loss and you:

  • Are feeling sick or unwell

  • Are a woman and notice signs of hormone imbalance, such as a deeper voice, hair growth in unusual places, irregular menstrual periods, and acne

If you have hair loss but no other symptoms, see a doctor when you can.

How do doctors treat hair loss?

If there's a health problem causing your hair loss, doctors treat that problem. They also treat hair loss with:

  • Medicine for male and female pattern baldness, which can take 8 to 12 months to work

  • Hair transplants to move hair follicles from a hairy area of your scalp to your bald area

  • Wigs

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