What Causes Hair Loss
First, your doctor or dermatologist will try to determine the underlying cause of your hair loss. The most common cause of hair loss is hereditary male- or female-pattern baldness.
If you have a family history of baldness, you may have this type of hair loss. Certain sex hormones can trigger hereditary hair loss. It may begin as early as puberty.
In some cases, hair loss may occur with a simple halt in the cycle of hair growth. Major illnesses, surgeries, or traumatic events can trigger hair loss. However, your hair will usually start growing back without treatment.
Hormonal changes can cause temporary hair loss. Examples include:
- heart problems
A physical or emotional shock may trigger noticeable hair loss. Examples of this type of shock include:
- a death in the family
- extreme weight loss
- a high fever
People with trichotillomania have a need to pull out their hair, usually from their head, eyebrows, or eyelashes.
Traction hair loss can be due to hairstyles that put pressure on the follicles by pulling the hair back very tightly.
Happy Scalp Happy Hair
If your scalp is inflamed, you might notice it through flakiness, redness, itchiness and hair fall. To have healthy hair, you must have a healthy scalp. Hair loss scientists are discovering evidence that links scalp inflammation with poor hair growth, genetic hair loss and a range of other scalp and hair health issues.
What Are Some Tips For Dealing With Hair Loss In Women
There are some things you can do on your own. You might check with your stylist or try some of these:
- Coloring your hair adds volume to the strands, making your hair seem fuller.
- Massaging your head, like when you are washing your hair, can stimulate blood flow to the scalp and hair follicles.
- Getting your hair cut shorter, and having layers added, can make your hair seem fuller.
- Using the right kind of shampoo can also help. Look for a shampoo that adds volume without using sulfate detergents.
- Using the right kind of product at the right time can also help. There are products that add volume that you add while your hair is still wet. However, using too much product can add weight.
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What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider
- What is the cause of my hair loss?
- How many strands of hair am I losing per day?
- What type of hair loss do I have?
- Will my hair loss be permanent?
- Whats the best treatment for me?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Hair loss may cause you distress whether it happens because of genetics, a disease, or even stress. Know that there are some treatments you can try, and expert dermatologists are there to help you. Your hair loss may be able to be reversed. See your healthcare provider as soon as you notice something wrong because the sooner you start treatment, the better.
What Are The Causes Of Sudden Hair Loss
VASCULAR CAUSE: poor blood flow to the hair bulb means the hair does not get the essential elements it needs to grow.NUTRITIONAL CAUSE: a deficiency in the nutrients essential to hair growth.INFLAMMATORY CAUSE: Psychological or physical stress or certain disorders will result in an imbalance that will be conveyed as stress at cell level. At the scalp level, cells subject to this stress will release neurotransmitters, including substance P. These neurotransmitters will trigger an acute inflammatory cascade. Hair goes into the telogen phase prematurely. This triggers sudden, rapid hair loss.IS IT POSSIBLE TO SLOW DOWN THIS HAIR LOSS?
In order to slow down sudden hair loss, you must treat these three causes. Each can be responsible for sudden hair loss, alone or in combination with one another.
Also Check: Can Drinking Cause Hair Loss
Science Behind Hair Loss Simplified
Hair is made of keratin, a structural protein that is also found in your skin and nails too.
Produced in the hair follicles right at the outside layers of your skin, a hair strand is a product of hair follicles lifecycle.
A hair follicle is produced, then it grows for a while, then it slowly dies and new hair replaces it.
So around 50-100 hair follicles in your scalp die every day and are replaced with new ones.
When a hair follicle dies, it falls out, which is what you see when you comb through your hair. Your hair falling out is the most natural thing in the world, and as long as the new hair grows to replace the lost ones, youre OK.
You only go bald if one of these two situations are present:
1 Youre losing more hair than you can reproduce
2 Youre reproducing less hair than you lose
I know these two sound like the same thing, but theyre not.
You can either be losing hair fast or producing new hair slowly, which both result in a number of hair follicles permanently reduced.
And all the reasons behind hair loss cause either of these two situations. Identifying what it is is up to you or your dermatologist.
Now lets see all the reasons that might be causing the gap between dead and born hair follicles:
Living With Hair Loss
Losing your hair can be devastating. Many people consider a thick head of hair a symbol of youth and vitality. So losing it no matter how young you are can make you feel old. It can make you feel less attractive. It can lower your overall self-esteem.
Remember that it is okay to feel what youre feeling. It is also okay to seek out a strategy for stopping or even reversing hair loss. Wanting hair doesnt mean that you are vain. You should not feel guilty about doing something about your hair loss.
If adequate treatment is not available for your type of hair loss, you may consider trying different hairstyles or wigs, hairpieces, hair weaves or artificial hair replacement.
Read Also: What Is The Best Hair Loss Concealer
Other Symptoms That Help With Diagnosis
You may also experience a range of other symptoms if your hair loss is caused by an underlying condition.
- Hypothyroidism may cause anything from fatigue to weight gain, muscle weakness to joint swelling.
- Ringworm may cause scaly and painful gray or red patches on the scalp.
- Celiacdisease may cause anything from mouth ulcers to headaches, skin rashes to anemia.
- Hodgkinsdisease may cause symptoms like fever, night sweats, and swelling of the lymph nodes.
Your doctor will take into account the other symptoms youre experiencing besides hair loss to help pinpoint the cause. This may involve anything from a physical examination to blood tests to scalp biopsies.
Some conditions, like celiac disease, may be genetically inherited. If you have a family history of a condition that leads to hair loss, be sure to mention it to your doctor.
Shred Your Bod Lose Your Hair
When your resistance and weight training regimen is too high in intensity, you produce more endogenous testosterone. That converts to DHT, which can cause your hair follicles to stop producing hair. I know, I know, its totally unfair. The very things you want from working out lean muscle mass, healthy libido, increased energy and brain function could be what sends you partially bald. Look for balance.
Are There Complications/side Effects Of Treatment
Minoxidil may irritate your scalp and cause dryness, scaling, itching and/or redness. See your dermatologist if this happens.
With Minoxidil you might also see hair growing in other places other than your scalp . Wash your face after you apply Minoxidil and make sure you avoid other areas when you apply it.
You’ve Been Super Stressed Or Ill
Stress or illness can cause hair lossit’s a process known as telogen effluvium, or the excessive shedding of hair induced by stress, Michelle Henry, MD, a dermatologist based in New York, previously told Health.
“Our bodies perceive mental stress the same way it perceives physical stress, and any dramatic stressor on the body can cause hair growth to become arrested,” Dr. Henry said. “And when hair growth is arrested, it sheds.” Specifically, when the body is stressed it released the hormone cortisol, which can then affect the hair follicle and result in shedding or hair loss. That shedding typically occurs at least three months following a stressful event, Angelo Landriscina, MD, a Washington, DC-based dermatologist, previously told Health.
Of course, preventing stress is the easiest way to help prevent stress-induced hair lossbut that’s not always an easy thing to do. If you experience hair loss of any kind, it’s wise to check in with your dermatologist. Should they determine that your hair loss is stress-related, your derm may recommend a treatment called minoxidil, a vasodilator that improves circulation around the hair bulb at the base of the hair follicle, to help grow hair back that you’ve lost. Also important: having patience and allowing time for hair growth.
Style Your Hair Right
Hair stylists are a great resource for help for hair loss in women. A new haircut or hairstyle may be just what you need to make your hair appear fuller. Ask your stylist for advice about getting a shorter cut, parting your hair in a different location, or adding curls or waves to add volume to your hair. Products for hair loss in women include using styling products designed for thin hair. Some products are added to the roots while hair is damp before blowing dry. Some cosmetic products can help disguise the appearance of bald spots. Keratin fiber hair cosmetics have a static charge that makes hair appear fuller than it is. Ask your stylist or dermatologist for recommendations about the products and strategies that will work best for you.
How Is Abnormal Hair Loss Treated
Treatment depends on the cause of your hair loss. For example, any infection will be treated. If your medicines appear to be causing your hair loss, your doctor may stop them. Hair loss caused by a medical condition will stop when you recover from that medical condition. Deficiencies of either iron or vitamin B12 can be treated by your doctor. Alopecia areata itself is usually treated with corticosteroids, powerful anti-inflammation medicines. These are used as local injections, creams or tablets. A skin consultant will advise you about this treatment.
If you wish to slow or stop the progression of hair loss, there may be treatments available such as medicines or hair transplantation. The latter therapy does not have the custom generated some 30 years ago, partly because of its cost and the few practitioners of that art. There are over-the-counter products available, eg, Regaine, while doctors may prescribe minoxidil or finasteride in some cases.
Complementary and alternative therapies, such as acupuncture and ultra-violet therapy, have been promoted by some health advocates. However, the evidence does not exist that these are effective options.
You may consider wearing a wig. Your doctor will help you find a source. See also information on the wigs and hairpieces subsidy.
Shedding Light On Female Alopecia
Rashi C. Waghel, PharmD
Jennifer A. Waitzman, PharmD, BCACPAssistant Professor of PharmacyWingate, North Carolina
US Pharm. 2013 38:62-65.
ABSTRACT: Alopecia is a common problem in females. Several typesof alopecia exist, each having different etiologies and treatmentoptions. Regardless of the cause or type of alopecia, hair loss can havea negative impact on an individuals self-image therefore, it isimportant to address patients emotional needs as well as their medicalhealth needs. Although FDA-approved pharmacologic options for femalealopecia are limited, several medications are being investigated fortheir use in this population. Regardless of whether a patient decides toutilize pharmacologic treatment, minimization strategies can helpreduce hair loss and alleviate the negative emotional impact of thiscondition.
Alopecia, more commonly referred to as hair loss, is a problemfaced by millions of people in the United States. Alopecia does notrefer to normal, everyday loss of hair. It is common for a person tolose around 50 to 100 hairs each day.1 Alopecia suggests anamount of hair loss greater than what is normally expected.Traditionally, more attention has been paid to male-pattern baldness however, alopecia is common in females as well. More than 21 millionfemales in the U.S. are affected by alopecia.2
How Will A Healthcare Provider Diagnose Hair Loss In Women What Tests Are Done
The tests performed to diagnose hair loss in women can be simple or complicated:
- Gently pulling on your hair to see how many hairs come out.
- Blood tests. These check for vitamin and mineral levels and hormone levels .
- Scalp examination under a microscope and trichoscopy.
- Scalp biopsy to remove and examine a very small piece of scalp skin.
Causes Of Hair Loss And Baldness
A variety of factors from illness to poor nutrition to hormonal imbalances to major stress can contribute to hair loss. If you’re experiencing thinning hair or baldness, you need to get to the root of the problem to determine the best treatment.
Hair loss whether baldness or noticeably thinning hair can occur for a number of different reasons. Sometimes hair loss is a side effect of a health problem that needs to be addressed and will remedy itself when the health problem is properly treated. When hair loss is due to a condition involving the hair itself, as in the case of alopecia, the hair loss can be permanent.
Changes In Birth Control
Going off hormonal birth control or changing to a different type of hormonal contraception can also cause hormone-induced shedding. “Whether you’re just starting it, discontinuing it, or changing brands, your body can react by causing the hair to go into an increased shedding mode,” Dr. Fusco says.
This is another form of telogen effluvium, which means that its usually temporary. You can rely on volumizing products and styling tricks while you wait for your hair to regain its fullness.
Thinning Hair Following Pregnancy
Other hormonal imbalances can also lead to hair loss, especially the wildly fluctuating hormones that occur following pregnancy and childbirth. It takes time after pregnancy for hormone levels to return to normal, so it’s not at all uncommon for post-partum moms to notice thinning hair or even patches of baldness. This often occurs about three months after babys arrival. Don’t worry as the rest of your body recovers, so will your hair follicles. The hair loss is only temporary your hair will grow back.
What Questions Might Your Healthcare Provider Ask To Diagnose And Categorize Your Hair Loss
Your healthcare provider might ask about your habits:
- What kinds of hair products do you use?
- What kinds of hair styles do you wear?
- What types of food do you eat ?
- Do you have a habit of pulling your hair out ?
They might ask about your history:
- Has anyone in your immediate family experienced hair loss?
- Is there anything stressful going on in your life?
- What medications and supplements do you take every day?
- Has hair loss ever happened to you before?
- What foods are in your diet?
And, they might ask about your observations:
- How long have you been losing hair?
- Have you been shedding more?
- Have you noticed hair loss in places other than your scalp, like your eyebrows? Leg and arm hair?
- Does anything worsen your hair loss?
- Does anything improve your hair loss?
- Have you noticed hair loss occasionally or has it been going on continuously?
- Have you noticed if your hair growth has changed?
- Has your hair been breaking more often?