Alopecia is a general term for loss of hair. Hair loss can affect just your scalp or your entire body. It can be the result of heredity, certain medications or an underlying medical condition. Anyone—men, women, children—can experience hair loss.
The most common form is androgenetic or hereditary baldness. This is a progressive hair thinning over the crown of the scalp which can occur in males and females. Telogen effluvium is another common type of hair loss which is characterized by a sudden increase in hair shedding. Telogen effluvium has many possible triggers, such as medications, illness, surgery, vitamin deficiency, hormone changes, rapid weight loss, traumatic event or severe stressor. It is also common 2-3 months after childbirth. Alopecia areata is an autoimmune form of hair loss that often results in smooth, round bald patches on the scalp. Some other types of hair loss, such as lichen planopilaris and discoid lupus, may cause scarring.
A variety of treatment options are available, and treatment depends on the underlying cause of the hair loss.