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Hair loss

The medical term for hair loss is alopecia, and it can affect any part of the body, including the legs. Hair loss on the legs is also known as anterolateral leg alopecia. This is because it is visible on the front anterior and sides lateral of the lower legs. Another name for it is peroneal alopecia. Many people with alopecia on the legs may not realize that they have it. As long as there are no other symptoms present, it should not be a cause for concern.

However, some people may notice symptoms in addition to the hair loss. This can sometimes indicate an underlying health condition that requires medical attention. Read on to learn more about the different causes of hair loss on the legs, as well as how to treat this type of hair loss.

Certain factors, including some health conditions, can cause hair loss on the legs. The sections below discuss these potential causes in more detail. Hair loss that occurs as a side effect of medication is known as drug-induced alopecia. This type of hair loss usually affects the scalp. However, it can also affect other parts of the body, including the legs.

For most people, this hair grew back after they stopped taking the medication.

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It most often develops on the scalp, but it can cause hair loss anywhere, including on the legs. According to the National Alopecia Areata Foundationthe condition affects around 6. Scientists have not yet identified the exact cause of alopecia, but there does seem to be a genetic component. There may be a link between coronary heart disease CHD and alopecia on the legs. For example, one study found that hair loss on the legs was more common in men with CHD than in those without.

Diabetes can also cause hair loss on the legs. Over time, diabetes-related damage to the blood vessels can result in peripheral artery disease PAD. In PAD, a fatty deposit called plaque builds up in the blood vessels inside the legs. This interferes with blood flow and, consequently, hair growth.

The thyroid gland plays an important role in the growth and maintenance of hair follicles. Having an underactive thyroid hypothyroidism or an overactive thyroid hyperthyroidism can affect the normal cycle of hair growth. This can result in hairs shedding too early. Hairs commonly shed from the scalp, but they may also shed from other areas of the body, including the legs.

Though raresome antithyroid medications — such as carbimazole and propylthiouracil — can also cause hair loss. Some symptoms of hypothyroidism include:. Some symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:.

Most men with this condition are middle-aged or older. Anyone concerned about hair loss on their legs can see a doctor or dermatologist. A dermatologist is a doctor who specializes in skin, hair, and nail concerns. If the hair loss is due to a medical condition, the doctor will treat that condition. If the hair loss occurs as a side effect of a particular medication, the doctor may lower the dosage or change the medication.

In both cases, the hair usually begins to grow back after around 6 months. Sometimes, hair loss on the legs is not accompanied by any other symptoms.Hair loss in women is just that—when a woman experiences unexpected heavy loss of hair. Generally, people shed from 50 to single hairs per day. Hair shedding is part of a natural balance—some hairs fall out while others grow in. When the balance is interrupted—when hair falls out and less hair grows in—hair loss happens.

Hair loss is different than hair shedding. The medical name for hair loss is alopecia. Many people think that hair loss only affects men. The most significant cause of hair loss in women is female-pattern hair loss FPHLwhich affects some 30 million women in the United States. During menopause, you might see one of two things happen with your hair. You might start growing hair where you did not have it before.

Or, you might see the hair you have start to thin. One cause may be changing levels of hormones during menopause. Estrogen and progesterone levels fall, meaning that the effects of the androgens, male hormones, are increased.

New Treatment May Regrow and Thicken Hair Without Surgery

Other factors, such as stress, your diet, and heredity, may contribute to hair loss. The aging process may mean that some women experience female-pattern hair loss FPHL. This is also called androgenetic alopecia or androgenic alopecia. This type of hair loss may get worse due to hormone changes.

During and after menopause, hair might become finer thinner because hair follicles shrink. Hair grows more slowly and falls out more easily in these cases. FPHL often means that thinning hair is centered at the crown and top of the head.

Your healthcare provider will do a thorough examination and take a detailed history to help you deal with changes in hair growth. You may be directed to have your iron levels or thyroid hormone levels tested.

Your medications might be changed if what you take is found to affect hair loss or growth. Antiandrogens might be prescribed for either excess hair hirsutism or for hair loss, but the studies on usage are not clear. For hair loss, minoxidil lotion or shampoo combined with antiandrogen drugs like spironolactone is one approach.

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Another is to use antidandruff shampoos with ingredients like ketoconazole and zinc pyrithione. You might also be told to try things that do not actually repair hair loss but do allow you to hide it. If you are already taking hormone therapy HT for menopausal symptoms, you might see an improvement in the condition of your hair. However, HT is not recommended solely to treat hair loss. Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission.

We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Hair Loss in Women Any girl or woman can be affected by hair loss, but it is more common in certain groups.It can affect just the hair on your scalp or your entire body. Although alopecia is more prevalent in older adults, excessive hair loss can occur in children as well. Hair loss can develop gradually over years or happen abruptly. Hair loss can be permanent or temporary.

You may be losing more hair than is normal if you notice a large amount of hair in the drain after washing your hair or clumps of hair in your brush.

You might also notice thinning patches of hair or baldness. They can determine the underlying cause of your hair loss and suggest appropriate treatment plans.

First, your doctor or dermatologist a doctor who specializes in skin problems will try to determine the underlying cause of your hair loss. The most common cause of hair loss is hereditary male- or female-pattern baldness. If you have a family history of baldness, you may have this type of hair loss. Certain sex hormones can trigger hereditary hair loss. It may begin as early as puberty.

Everything You Need to Know About Hair Loss

In some cases, hair loss may occur with a simple halt in the cycle of hair growth. Major illnesses, surgeries, or traumatic events can trigger hair loss. However, your hair will usually start growing back without treatment. Diseases that cause scarring, such as lichen planus and some types of lupuscan result in permanent hair loss because of the scarring.

A physical or emotional shock may trigger noticeable hair loss. Examples of this type of shock include:. People with trichotillomania hair-pulling disorder have a need to pull out their hair, usually from their head, eyebrows, or eyelashes. Traction hair loss can be due to hairstyles that put pressure on the follicles by pulling the hair back very tightly. A diet lacking in proteinironand other nutrients can also lead to thinning hair.

Your doctor or dermatologist can determine the cause of your hair loss based on a physical examination and your health history. In some cases, simple dietary changes can help.

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Your doctor may also change your prescription medications. If your dermatologist suspects an autoimmune or skin disease, they might take a biopsy of the skin on your scalp. This will involve carefully removing a small section of skin for laboratory testing. It may take time to determine the exact cause of your hair loss. Medications will likely be the first course of treatment for hair loss. Over-the-counter OTC medications generally consist of topical creams and gels that you apply directly to the scalp.

The most common products contain an ingredient called minoxidil Rogaine.

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According to the AADyour doctor may recommend minoxidil in conjunction with other hair loss treatments. Side effects of minoxidil include scalp irritation and hair growth in adjacent areas, such as your forehead or face.Hair loss can affect just your scalp or your entire body.

It can be the result of heredity, hormonal changes, medical conditions or medications. Anyone can experience hair loss, but it's more common in men.

Baldness typically refers to excessive hair loss from your scalp. Hereditary hair loss with age is the most common cause of baldness. Some people prefer to let their hair loss run its course untreated and unhidden.

hair loss

Others may cover it up with hairstyles, makeup, hats or scarves. And still others choose one of the treatments available to prevent further hair loss and to restore growth. Before pursuing hair loss treatment, talk with your doctor about the cause of your hair loss and treatment options. Male-pattern baldness typically appears first at the hairline or top of the head. It can progress to partial or complete baldness.

Female-pattern baldness typically starts with scalp hairs becoming progressively finer and shorter as you age. Many women first experience hair thinning and hair loss where they part their hair and on the top-central portion of the head. In the type of patchy hair loss known as alopecia areata, hair loss occurs suddenly and usually starts with one or more circular bald patches that may overlap.

hair loss

Hair loss can occur if you wear pigtails, braids or cornrows, or use tight hair rollers. This is called traction alopecia. Hair loss can appear in many different ways, depending on what's causing it. It can come on suddenly or gradually and affect just your scalp or your whole body. Some types of hair loss are temporary, and others are permanent. See your doctor if your child or you are distressed by hair loss and want to pursue treatment. Also talk to your doctor if you notice sudden or patchy hair loss or more than usual hair loss when combing or washing your or your child's hair.

Sudden hair loss can signal an underlying medical condition that requires treatment. People typically lose about hairs a day.

This usually doesn't cause noticeable thinning of scalp hair because new hair is growing in at the same time. Hair loss occurs when this cycle of hair growth and shedding is disrupted or when the hair follicle is destroyed and replaced with scar tissue. Most baldness is caused by genetics male-pattern baldness and female-pattern baldness. This type of hair loss is not preventable. Hair loss care at Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic does not endorse companies or products.

Advertising revenue supports our not-for-profit mission. This content does not have an English version. This content does not have an Arabic version. Overview Hair loss can affect just your scalp or your entire body.

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Male-pattern baldness Open pop-up dialog box Close. Male-pattern baldness Male-pattern baldness typically appears first at the hairline or top of the head. Female-pattern baldness Open pop-up dialog box Close. Female-pattern baldness Female-pattern baldness typically starts with scalp hairs becoming progressively finer and shorter as you age.If you buy something through a link on this page, we may earn a small commission.

How this works. There are many things you can do to slow or stop hair loss. Some situations, like hair loss after pregnancy telogen effluviummay resolve on their own. And remember that everyone sheds hair daily, which is perfectly normal. Your healthcare provider may be able to diagnose if your hair loss is caused by things like thyroid issues, stress, scalp infections, androgenic alopecia, or simply aging. A study revealed that a diet containing raw vegetables and fresh herbs, like the Mediterranean diet, may reduce the risk of androgenic alopecia female pattern baldness or male pattern baldness or slow its onset.

Best results were observed when participants consumed high amounts of these foods — such as parsley, basil, salad greens — more than three days a week. Hair follicles are made mostly of protein called keratin. One study of people with hair loss noted several nutritional deficiencies in participants, including amino acids that serve as the building blocks of protein. While researchers note that more studies are neededeating a diet rich in protein may help prevent hair loss.

Healthy choices include foods like eggs, nuts, beans and peas, fish, low-fat dairy products, chicken, and turkey. Vitamin A is composed in part of retinoids, which has been shown to increase the rate of hair growth. This vitamin may also help with sebum productionkeeping the scalp healthier and able to retain more hairs. Fill your plate with foods rich in vitamin A, such as sweet potatoes, sweet peppers, and spinach, just to name a few. Read this for more foods that help hair growth: 14 Best Foods for Hair Growth.

Scientists have determined that vitamins A, B, C, D, iron, selenium, and zinc are all important to the hair growth and retention processes, specifically with cell turnover. You can find daily multivitamins at most grocery stores or drugstores or ask your doctor to prescribe one to you. Shop for multivitamins online. One study noted that vitamin D is associated with nonscarring alopecia. Treating deficiencies may help with regrowth. Speak with your doctor about taking to IU daily.

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Shop for vitamin D. Biotin — vitamin H or B7— is involved in fatty acid synthesis in the body. This process is essential to the hair life cycle and you may experience hair loss if you have a deficiency. Speak with your doctor about taking three to five milligrams daily. Shop for biotin. Derived from the fruit of American dwarf pine trees, this herb may help men maintain levels of testosterone.

One journal article revealed that some 60 percent of participants taking saw palmetto experienced improved hair growth.Before making a diagnosis, your doctor will likely give you a physical exam and ask about your medical history and family history. He or she may also perform tests, such as the following:.

Effective treatments for some types of hair loss are available. You might be able to reverse hair loss, or at least slow further thinning. With some conditions, such as patchy hair loss alopecia areatahair may regrow without treatment within a year. If your hair loss is caused by an underlying disease, treatment for that disease will be necessary. This may include drugs to reduce inflammation and suppress your immune system, such as prednisone. If a certain medication is causing the hair loss, your doctor may advise you to stop using it for at least three months.

Minoxidil Rogaine. This is an over-the-counter nonprescription medication approved for men and women. It comes as a liquid or foam that you rub into your scalp daily. Wash your hands after application. At first it may cause you to shed hair.

New hair may be shorter and thinner than previous hair. At least six months of treatment is required to prevent further hair loss and to start hair regrowth. You need to keep applying the medication to retain benefits. Possible side effects include scalp irritation, unwanted hair growth on the adjacent skin of the face and hands, and rapid heart rate tachycardia.

Finasteride Propecia. This is a prescription drug approved for men. You take it daily as a pill. Many men taking finasteride experience a slowing of hair loss, and some may show some new hair growth. You need to keep taking it to retain benefits.

Finasteride may not work as well for men over Rare side effects of finasteride include diminished sex drive and sexual function and an increased risk of prostate cancer.

Women who are or may be pregnant need to avoid touching crushed or broken tablets. A typical hair transplant involves removing patches of hair from your head and reinserting the hair follicle by follicle into the bald sections. In the most common type of permanent hair loss, only the top of the head is affected. Hair transplant, or restoration surgery, can make the most of the hair you have left.

During a hair transplant procedure, a dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon removes tiny patches of skin, each containing one to several hairs, from the back or side of your scalp. Sometimes a larger strip of skin containing multiple hair groupings is taken.

He or she then implants the hair follicle by follicle into the bald sections. Some doctors recommend using minoxidil after the transplant, to help minimize hair loss. And you may need more than one surgery to get the effect you want. Hereditary hair loss will eventually progress despite surgery. Surgical procedures to treat baldness are expensive and can be painful. Possible risks include bleeding and scarring. The Food and Drug Administration has approved a low-level laser device as a treatment for hereditary hair loss in men and women.

A few small studies have shown that it improves hair density.Medically reviewed by Drugs. Last updated on May 3, Hair loss can range from mild hair thinning to total baldness. Hair can fall out for many different reasons. Medically, hair loss falls into several categories, including:.

hair loss

Telogen effluvium — This common form of hair loss happens two to three months after a major body stress, such as a prolonged illness, major surgery or serious infection. It also can happen after a sudden change in hormone levels, especially in women after childbirth.

Moderate amounts of hair fall out from all parts of the scalp, and may be noticed on a pillow, in the tub or on a hairbrush.

While hair on some parts of the scalp may appear thinner, it is rare to see large bald spots. Drug side effects — Hair loss can be a side effect of certain medications, including lithiumbeta-blockers, warfarinheparinamphetamines and levodopa Atamet, Larodopa, Sinemet.

In addition, many medications used in cancer chemotherapy — such as doxorubicin Adriamycin — commonly cause sudden hair loss affecting the entire head. Symptom of a medical illness — Hair loss can be one of the symptoms of a medical illness, such as systemic lupus erythematosus lupussyphilis, a thyroid disorder such as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidisma sex-hormone imbalance or a serious nutritional problem, especially a deficiency of protein, iron, zinc or biotin.

These deficiencies are most common in people on restrictive diets and women who have very heavy menstrual flow. Tinea capitis fungal infection of the scalp — This form of patchy hair loss happens when certain types of fungi infect the scalp. This causes the hair to break off at the scalp surface and the scalp to flake or become scaly.

Tinea capitis is a common form of patchy hair loss in children. Alopecia areata — This is an autoimmune disease that causes hair to fall out in one or more small patches. The cause of this condition is unknown, although it is more common in people who have other autoimmune diseases. When the same process causes total loss of hair from the scalp it is known as alopecia totalis. Traumatic alopecia — This form of hair loss is caused by hairdressing techniques that pull the hair tight braiding or cornrowingexpose hair to extreme heat and twisting curling iron or hot rollers or damage the hair with strong chemicals bleaching, hair coloring, permanent waves.

In addition, some people have an uncommon psychiatric disorder trichotillomania in which compulsive hair pulling and twisting can cause bald spots. This is the most common type of hair loss, and it can begin at any time in a man's life, even during his teen years.

It usually is caused by the interaction of three factors: an inherited tendency toward baldness, male hormones and increasing age. Many women will develop some degree of female-pattern baldness.

Hair Loss in Women

In women, thinning occurs over the entire top or crown of the scalp, sparing the front of the scalp. We normally lose approximately 50 to scalp hairs each day. If more than this is falling out, you may find unusually large amounts of hair in brushes, on clothing, and in the drains of sinks and tubs. You may also notice that your hair is generally thinner, that your part is wider, that your hairline has changed or that one or more bald patches have appeared.

When hair loss is the result of telogen effluvium or medication side effects, the hair loss usually is all over the head, while in tinea infections and alopecia areata, the hair loss occurs in small patches.

Also, tinea infections can cause additional symptoms, such as scaling of the scalp or areas of broken hairs that look like black dots. In traumatic alopecia, the area of hair loss depends on the method of hair injury and follows the pattern inflicted by hot rollers, braiding or chemical treatments.

In male-pattern baldness, the hairline usually begins to recede at the temples first, followed by thinning at the top of the head. Gradually, the crown area becomes totally bald, leaving a fringe of hair around the back and sides of the head.


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