This is a message I received this morning from an ardent reader of this blog. He is distressed and complained about the treatment failure for hair loss/baldness/alopecia.
He gave me express permission to publish his message so that others can learn from his ordeal… He also need answers.
Read message below……
Hello Doc, I have been an avid reader and follower of your blog since 2017 and I must tell you I enjoy every bit of your detailed health articles. However, I have a big problem, I am 35 years old and I am totally bald. Though baldness runs in my family but not at this age. My father went bald when he was about 68 years. How come I have no single strand of hair on my head at 35 years. I first noticed this hair loss in my university days but I thought it nothing. It started by shifting of my hairline backward and later patches of hair loss on my head. I visited my family doctor and he told me I had i medical condition called alopecia.He explained it means loss of hair from whatever cause. He placed me on medications I can’t remember and referred me to a Dermatologist. The Dermatologist woman interviewed me and told me I had alopecia but this time she added a word called areata. She told me to continue on the same medications and ensure I rub it on my scalp twice daily. I was told to stop taking alcohol and avoid smoking as they worse and even trigger more hair loss. These instructions I obeyed religiously but i saw no changes. From here, I friend introduced to me minoxidil cream and another friend told me hemp oil is good for hair growth and baldness. No success. Thereafter, I lost hope in English medicine and went herbal. First, I tried rubbing Aloe Vera on my head, then honey, then juice from beetroot and Licorice root, then Fenugreek, then coconut milk, then Flaxseed, ginseng, then gingko, garlic, raw eggs and ended up rubbing the smelly onions on my head all in the name of hair re-growth but they all failed. I have used both Nigerian and Indian herbs for hair growth but i was left disappointed. There is no hair cream for baldness known to humankind that I have not used but yielded no positive results. My last port of call was at a dermatologist clinic in Lagos who injected me with some steriods on my scalp but recorded minimal success. Doc, please i am tired. Is there anything else I can do? Is there something i am not doing right? Are there other treatment options for alopecia? I need answers please- Ikemefuna from Onitsha, Anambra, South Eastern Nigeria.
Thank you Ikemefuna for agreeing to share your personal experiences on the frustrations the unsuccessful treatment for alopecia can cause. I have tried sourcing information on various sites on the most effective way of treating hair loss but i later realised most of the articles were sponsored. The issue with sponsored post is that they can be economical with the truth and give us false hopes. They just want to sell their products.
However, I was able to gather these from reputable sites and with proven evidence.
A drug initially manufactured for the treatment of hypertension, the persons who were first placed on Minoxidil tablets experienced an increase in hair growth as a side effect. The company capitalised on the side effect and started making minoxidil cream for the treatment of hair loss especially androgenic alopecia. Bald men who take minoxidil (Rogaine) will experience hair re-growth in 3 to 6 months. In liquid or soap minoxidil is applied twice a day and must be used continuously. Stopping Rogaine will lead to resumption of hair loss. The effectiveness of minoxidil depends on how long you have been bald. It may not work for men how have been bald for a long time. Nowadays, teenagers are fond of using minoxidil to grow beards. Persons who use this medication may have some form of allergy and scalp irritation as a side effects. Minoxidil cream tube cost about $30 which is about #12,000 naira Nigeria currency.
Finasteride also known as propecia has greatly found use in the treatment of male pattern hair loss or alopecia. It comes in a tablets and should be taken 1 pill daily. It helps im hair regrowth, increases hair weight, and hair retention. The problem is resumption of hair loss with stoppage of the drug. Best results are gotten starting from within 6 weeks of treatment. Finasteride should not be used by pregnant women. The side effects that have been reported in a small proportion of persons are low libido, erectile dysfunction and problems with ejaculation. Finasteride 5mg is effective in relieving symptoms of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). A packet of finasteride 1mg containing 28 tablets is sold for #8,000 naira.
If the hair loss is caused by inflammation, steroids are a treatment option. They can be injected or used topically to reduce the inflammation that leads to hair loss in alopecia areata. Steroids can thin the skin with overuse or if injected at too high of a dose. It is important to see a board-certified dermatologist to discuss how steroids can be used appropriately during treatment.
Oral contraceptives and anti-androgens like spironolactone and flutamide have been found to be produced measurable results in treating female pattern hair loss.
Chemotherapy, and immunotherapy have been suggested but has not been tried.
In the surgical treatment of alopecia, hair transplantation is now in vogue with high success rate but very expensive. Because he went bald at 25, Wayne Rooney, the then Manchester United striker had a successful hair transplant for a whooping £30,000. Hair transplantation as a treatment option for hair loss became popular and accepted thereafter.
Finally Ikemefuna, while not embrace baldness by shaving off all of your hair thereby hiding the hair loss? Football legend Zinedine Zidane started this in the 1990s and it is still trendy. He embraced his baldness.
Women can embrace baldness by concealing their hair loss with wigs.
I hope I answered all your questions in this article? Take care.