Hair LossHair symbolizes many things in our culture. When you notice someone with a certain hairstyle, it can be difficult not to make assumptions about who they are. A man with a short crew cut is often perceived as a soldier or law enforcement officer. Women with shorter hair are frequently viewed as more athletic or smarter than those with long hair.

For people who are bald or in various stages of losing their hair, this can be quite traumatic. If you are experiencing this situation, you may be asking yourself what can be done about it and whether health insurance covers hair loss.

What causes hair loss?

According to the Mayo Clinic, we each have more than 100,000 hairs on our head and lose approximately 100 of these each day. Our hair grows, falls out, and gets replaced by more hairs regularly and we don’t think too much about this process until something goes wrong.

Perhaps you notice more hair than usual in your shower or your hair doesn’t feel as thick as it used to when you brush it. In any case, there is always a cause.

Sometimes, just the simple act of getting older can initiate hair loss or thinning. Other times, medications, illness, or stress can affect your hair. Male pattern baldness, which is plain old genetics, can also play a part. Nevertheless, this condition is not exclusive to men, as some women are also familiar with this phenomenon.

Male and female pattern baldness are both the result of hormones. For men, it is a particular sex hormone that generates hair loss. This can begin even while you are still a teenager.

Women can encounter hair loss during typical hormonal shifts, such as after the birth of a child or when they stop menstruating. A thyroid issue can also affect hormone levels and cause hair loss.

There are other medical situations that can cause hair loss. One of the most common, called Alopecia Areata, occurs when your body starts fighting your hair follicles for some reason, leaving you with smooth, bald spots.

The battle against diseases is another cause of hair loss. Powerful medications used to fight conditions like joint damage, cancer, and hypertension can sometimes disturb hair growth.

Hair can also fall out as a consequence of your lifestyle. Constant or sudden stressful situations can temporarily set off hair loss. Additionally, how you treat your hair is also a factor, especially if it is repeatedly pulled or damaged with chemicals.

Are hair loss treatments covered by health insurance?

Hair loss is typically a permanent condition that affects more than 40% of the population 60 years old and younger. Although there are medications and procedures that have been established as successful, these treatments are usually not covered by most insurance plans. Unfortunately, they are considered elective and not a medical necessity.

What choices are available for people who are losing their hair?

There are both external and internal options for people who suffer from hair loss. Toupees, wigs, and hair extensions have been common for generations. Thanks to modern technology and new materials, these items can look quite natural. Just be sure to shop for products of exceptional quality for the best results.

Technology has also produced medications that are proven to stop or slow down hair loss. Rogaine and Propecia are two of the most well-known treatments. These products work by affecting certain hormone levels. You can expect to pay between $30 and $100 a month for these items.

The disadvantage is that you must take these remedies indefinitely. If use is discontinued, all progress will stop and you will be right back where you started. Also, since they involve hormonal changes, there is a slight risk of side effects related to low testosterone levels. The success rate varies depending on each individual and when you begin using the treatments.

Some people opt for hair transplants, in which hair is removed from other parts of your head and then reattached to the bald areas. This is considered by many men to be a more permanent solution to hair loss but it is very expensive, often costing thousands of dollars.

Experts warn that you should steer clear of fads and gimmicks for hair loss that have not been proven to work or been approved by the Federal Drug Administration. You will end up losing both money and even more hair in the long run.

One of the newest inventions to come on the market and receive approval is a laser comb. It is drug-free and works by arousing the hair shaft with a laser. At approximately $600, it may also be cheaper than other options.

Of course, one option is always to do nothing. Hollywood and sports stars like Andre Agassi, Bruce Willis, Michael Jordan, and Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson have proven that you can be cool, attractive, masculine, and bald. If you’re a woman, you’ll likely prefer one of the other options.