Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Propecia and cultural issues

When we discuss hair loss, it's convenient to focus on purely physical causes over which we have no control. Blaming the genes is the favorite. That can't possibly be our fault and forces us into drug therapy in order to put it right. The pharmaceutical industry come in there somewhere to back us into the corner of relying on drugs, but that pretty much sums up the party line on hair loss in particular and diseases in general. If in doubt, take a pill. However, there are times when you have to look at exactly what the individual is doing and ask whether this is contributing to the initial problem. This is being written during the month of Ramadan. This is a regular part of the cycle of religious observance practiced by the Moslem community around the world. It's a way of confirming the faith by self-denial, and reinforcing the power of the family through communal celebration.
The primary change is not in the cycle of prayer but in the shift of eating habits. The general rule of observance is that no food is to be taken in the day light hours - a fast from dawn to dusk. In order to sustain the body, only two main meals are taken: iftar and suhoor. This reduces the options for the body to take in all the essential fibers and minerals required to maintain a healthy body. When it comes to hair, the first signs are a flakiness on the scalp followed by hair loss. A healthy diet reduces hair loss.
This year, the problem of poor diet is aggravated by the increased heat of summer. High temperatures and humidity aggravate hair loss. So, ignoring the question of genetic predisposition, men may be losing more hair this summer because of the coincidence of a hot summer and Ramadan. So if you are Moslem and you see significantly more hair falling at this time of year, do not assume this is androgenetic alopecia or male pattern baldness. It's not appropriate to start Propecia without first getting a confirmed diagnosis of the cause of the problem. If the diagnosis is already confirmed but the hair loss seems to be returning at this time, do not think Propecia is failing. The weather will cool and you will begin eating a normal cycle. Your hair loss will stop.