Hair loss, as the name itself implies, refers to the falling of hair from scalp / head; another term used to describe this is alopecia. It is a broad term that also includes thinning of hair. While genetics plays a vital role in this condition that afflicts both men and women, there are several other factors that are involved in bringing on this problem in people. In order to understand the reasons for hair fall better, it is essential that you learn about the various growth stages of hair. The hair growth cycle consists of three phases:
- The first phase is the anagen phase, which is an active phase in which the hair grows. This phase lasts for around 2-7 yrs.
- The second phase is the catagen phase. The catagen phase immediately follows the anagen phase and lasts for around 10- 14 days during which the hair stops getting blood supply and becomes dead.
- The third and the last phase is telogen phase, which is a resting phase. In this phase, the dead hair falls out and the hair follicles remain in rest or inactive stage for about 2-3 months.
After completion of last stage, the entire cycle is repeated. Each single hair undergoes these three phases of growth independent of the other hair on the scalp. Normally, at a given point of time about 90% of hair is in the anagen phase and only 10% is in the telogen phase. When this ratio is altered, it leads to increased rate of hair loss. Hair loss can occur at any age, and can be prevalent in both males and females. Hair loss in itself is not a disease, but a sign that often indicates various other diseases. Hair loss occurs as a result of various diseases or factors and in different patterns.
The various causes / factors leading to hair loss include:
1) Skin diseases affecting the scalp like fungal infection of scalp known as tinea capitis, seborrhoea (dandruff), eczema of scalp, or lichen planus.
2) Genetic factors.
3) Hormonal changes including those that occur after childbirth and during menopause.
4) Nutritional deficiencies due to a diet that lacks iron (leading to anemia), and also lack of protein intake.
5) Recovery from acute fever like typhoid and erysipelas leads to diffuse hair loss.
6) Drug use like the ones that are used in treating high blood pressure, joint pains, cancer, or depression. Anagen effluvium refers to the condition of hair loss due to chemotherapy in a cancer patient.
7) Physical trauma / injury to head.
8) Emotional trauma like constant stress or grief due to loss of a family member / close friend.
9) General diseases like diabetes mellitus, tuberculosis, Hypothyroidism, or AIDS.
10) Auto-immune related hair loss in which the hair cells are mistaken for a foreign body and are destroyed by the immune cells of the body.
11) Hairstyles like tight braids or ponytails where the hair is tightly pulled backwards leading to traction alopecia; indiscriminate use of hair colors and hair straighteners.
12) Trichotillomania, which is a mental disorder in which the affected person voluntarily pulls out his / her scalp hair.
Various Patterns of hair loss:
Hair loss can be present in various forms like:
1) Alopecia Areata: This type of hair loss is the auto immune related form. In this form, the immune cells of the body mistake the hair cells as a foreign body and start destroying them. In this pattern, the hair loss occurs in patches / spots. It is common in people below 20 years of age.
2) Baldness / Alopecia Totalis: In this pattern, the entire scalp loses hair.
3) Telogen Effluvium: In this pattern, the hair goes on thinning and diffuse hair loss occurs due to early entry of hair in telogen phase.
4) Androgenetic Alopecia (includes Male pattern baldness and Female pattern baldness): This type of baldness is caused by genetic and hormonal factors. Male pattern baldness is the most common type of hair loss in men in which the hairline gets receded backwards. This is in turn followed by thinning and loss of hair on the top (vertex) and sides (temple) of the scalp. In Female pattern baldness, there is thinning of hair on top of the scalp, and is less severe than in males.
Homeopathy for Hair Growth
Although hair loss is not a life threatening condition but it can be a source of constant stress and worry in the persons affected by it. A person suffering from hair loss possesses lower self esteem and self confidence levels, and also feels embarrassed when in company of other people. Homeopathy can very efficiently deal with cases of hair loss, and produce excellent results. In Homeopathy, a huge number of wonderful medicines are present that are used to tackle hair loss cases. Every kind of hair loss (ranging from hair loss due to anemia / nutritional deficiencies, due to skin disorders, due to mental / physical trauma, due to childbirth or menopause, after acute diseases, to alopecia areata, alopecia totalis or androgenetic alopecia) can be treated with the help of well selected homeopathic medicines. To treat hair loss through homeopathy detail case history of the patient needs to be studied. The cause and site of hair loss are to be noted down along with the constitutional symptoms of the patient which are given prime importance in any kind of case of hair loss. The constitutional symptoms include the eating habits, level of thirst, thermals, mental symptom etc. and these are to be given top position in forming the totality of symptoms while case taking. After the case has been properly evaluated, the case homeopathic medicine is administered to the patient. Following is the list of homeopathic medicines for hair loss treatment that can be used.
Homeopathic Remedies for Hair Loss
1) Homeopathic medicines for hair loss due to skin diseases affecting the scalp like seborrhoea (dandruff), tinea capitis(fungus infection), eczema etc:
The skin diseases of scalp can lead to hair loss due to excessive itching or excessive acrid discharges from the lesions. Various homeopathic medicines can be used to treat such cases. Homeopathic medicine Psorinum is highly useful in treating the hair loss that has occurred due to eczematous skin lesions on scalp that discharge sticky and very offensive fluid. These kinds of discharges make the hair to stick together, which further leads to the hair getting tangled and ultimately destroyed. The patient requiring Psorinum feels excessive chill and desires to be warmly covered even in summers. Another medicine, Mezereum, is equally good for treating hair loss in cases where the hair is destroyed due to eczematous skin lesions of scalp. The patients requiring Mezereum will complain of thick crusty eruptions on scalp, along with a discharge of thick offensive pus resulting in matting of hair, breeding of vermin in them and eventually the eating away of the hair by discharges leading to hair loss. Mercurius Solubilis is yet another homeopathic medicine which plays a wonderful role in treating the hair loss due to eruptions on scalp where the discharge from eruptions is fetid and accompanied by burning type of pains in scalp. This medicine can be employed in those patients in whom profuse perspiration is present along with excessive salivation from mouth and an increased thirst for water. If the hair loss is due to dandruff, two medicines – Thuja occidentalis and Kali sulphuricum can be used. These medicines promise great results. The point that helps understand which out of the two would be a preferred medicine is that the former medicine is used where the dandruff is white in color and the latter one is used in cases where the dandruff is yellow in color.
2) Homeopathic medicines for treating hair loss in a women after child birth and during menopause:
Homeopathic medicines Natrum muriaticum and Pulsatilla pratensis are both excellent medicines that are being employed to treat the cases of hair fall in women after child birth. Natrum muriaticum can be given to those women who suffer from anemia and hair loss on even a slight touch of the hair, along with severe headache after the delivery of a child. The women requiring this medicine complain that the headache is worse in the heat of sun. The patient may show an inordinate craving for salty things. Pulsatilla pratensis can be used by those women who suffer from excessive hair fall after delivery. The guiding factor for recommending this medicine is a complete absence of thirst for water and desire for fresh open air. The mental symptoms that are to be considered for its use are weeping tendencies on the slightest cause, and relief when someone gives consolation. Another marked symptom that guides its use in women suffering from hair loss is that such women cannot digest fatty foods. In order to tackle the hair loss in women in the menopausal age group, homeopathic medicine Sepia officinalis can be used as it promises wonderful results. The women requiring this medicine for hair fall have a history of long standing headaches. The women complaining of hot flushes followed by chills and perspiration and bearing down pains in the uterus at menopause along with hair loss can be given this medicine. The mental symptoms that significantly indicate the usage of this medicine by women suffering from hair loss at menopause are irritability of the utmost degree and indifferent behavior towards family members.
3) Homeopathic Remedies for Hair loss in Anaemic patients:
Homeopathic medicines Borax, Cinchona officinalis and Calcarea phosphorica are all equally good medicines that can be used to treat the cases of hair loss in anemic patients. The medicine Borax can be given to those patients who complain of hair loss and are anemic. A frequent complain in such cases is that the hair is very thin and gets stuck together and form bunches, thereby making it difficult for them to be untangled and combed smooth and they are to be cut off. But as soon as these bunches are cut another group of bunches form. The medicine Cinchona officinalis can be given to those patients in whom hair loss is accompanied with anemia. People who suffer from hair loss due to Loss of blood in any form like bleeding from nose or excessive bleeding during menstruation or loss of blood after an injury due to accident leading to anemia can be given this medicine. The patients requiring this medicine usually complain of a weak digestion along with excessive flatulence. Clacarea phosphorica is another useful homeopathic medicine that can be used to treat hair loss in anemic patients – usually in anemic girls who grow too rapidly at puberty and suffer from hair loss and extreme headache along with acidity in stomach.
4) Homeopathic medicines to deal with cases of alopecia areata:
Alopecia areata is a condition in which hair loss occurs in well defined patches / spots. To deal with such cases Homeopathic medicines Fluoricum acidum, Phosphorus, Calcarea carbonica and Vinca minor are frequently used based on the constitution of the patient. Fluoricum acidum is mainly used for hair loss in spots in a person of hot temperament, who is worse in any warm environment and constantly desires cold environment. The cases of alopecia areata occurring during typhoid fever can be treated with this medicine. The medicine Phosphorus is also used in alopecia areata cases with excellent results. The symptoms that guides towards its usage in the cases of alopecia areata are patches of hair loss on scalp along with unusual craving for salty things, chicken, cold drinks and ice creams. The patients requiring Phosphorus are tall, thin and slender in physical appearance. Calcrea carbonica is a great homeopathic remedy for alopecia .It can be prescribed to patients in whom the hair is lost in well defined patches, and constitutionally who are fair, fat and flabby in built. The other symptoms that stand out dominant to use this medicine in an alopecia areata patient are excessive chilliness with intolerance to slight draft of air, excessive perspiration on the scalp and unusual craving for boiled eggs. Vinca minor can be used for the hair loss in spots whereby the white coloured hair grows back in the spots of hair loss.
5) Homeopathic Medicines for Baldness / Alopecia totalis where the entire scalp loses its hair:
Homeopathic medicines that can be used to deal with cases of baldness of this type are Silicea, Baryta carbonica, Sulphur, or Lycopodium clavatum. The first medicine, Silicea, is mainly given to those patients who suffer from baldness and complain of pain in head usually at the right side along with hair loss. The patients requiring this medicine are very sensitive to cold air and usually have very offensive sweat on the feet. Mentally the patients requiring this medicine are very headstrong and obstinate in nature. Baryta carbonica is another medicine in the list that is used to treat the cases of baldness homeopathically in young people. The patients requiring this medicine are very timid and dull in nature and have very poor memory. The patients of baldness who have a history of throat complaints like tonsilitis (from suppression of foot sweat or from exposure to cold air) can be given this medicine. Sulphur is yet another wonderful homeopathic medicine that can be prescribed to those patients suffering from baldness who are extremely hot blooded and complain of excessive heat in body especially in the head, palms and soles. Another symptom that guides towards the use of sulphur in baldness cases is that the patient requiring this medicine have an aversion to bathing and are generally filthy – thus inviting plenty of long standing skin diseases. The patients requiring Sulphur show extra craving for sweets in food. Last medicine, Lycopodium clavatum, is also an excellent medicine used to treat baldness cases occurring prematurely and can be given to those patients who complain of some sort of gastric trouble like flatulence, constipation or liver problems along with baldness. The patients requiring Lycopodium clavatum usually crave hot drinks, hot food and sweet things.
Homeopathy Treatment for Hair Loss
Homeopathy is gaining worldwide acceptance today as a natural cure for hair loss . Homeopathic treatment for hair loss is not only natural but also free from any side effects. It can be easily administered, and is suitable for men as well as women from all age groups. Homeopathic hair growth remedies are should be used after consulting a professional Homeopath