Hair Loss, medically known as alopecia, is common and can affect most people at varying times in their life. The factors that cause hair loss can range from simple to complex, so this review will cover the basics. Hair loss specifically refers to hair growth that is decreasing on the scalp, not hair that is breaking after growing from the shaft. Sometimes hair loss can be permanent and other times it is temporary. In either case, it is possible to treat both men and women.
Causes of Hair Loss
Known As Alopecia
Known As Androgenetic Alopecia
Thinning hair is most often caused by pre-determined genetics- statistics say that 2 out of 3 men will experience hair loss before the age of sixty. Predominately, more men are affected by loss of hair than women, therefore, in men, the common name of the genetic condition is male pattern baldness. In this case, the hair loss can occur as early as the teenage years and early twenties. The hair line recedes along the temples- leaving “widow’s peaks” or hair loss follows a horseshoe pattern, leaving only the sides and base of the hair remaining on the head. Female pattern hair loss is called androgenetic alopecia. Women do not notice the receding hair line, as much as they notice thinning hair and the widening of their part.
Extreme dieting and depriving the body of necessary protein and nutrients can have a profound effect on our hair growth cycle. Although this cause is rarer than the others, it is one to consider if you know that you have had a poor diet and that may have been a contributing factor. Vitamin B deficiency can be a factor, as can too much Vitamin A! When diet is the contributing hair loss factor, the hair loss is usually temporary and can be stopped with changes in one’s health regiment.
Aging & Stress
Causes Hair Loss
Both genders can notice the physiological signs of hair loss as time marches on and it is to be expected for most of the population by the time people reach their 60’s. Hair follicles will age, just like every other part of our body, and so as the follicle deteriorates, it can cause hair loss.
Physical stress and emotional stress have been associated with hair loss. The causes of stress can be anything from a traumatic accident, to a serious sickness to hormonal changes (as a result of medication or even pregnancy). Regardless of the cause of the stress, the correlation is present and could certainly be a contributing factor if you are experiencing hair loss. As your body recovers from the emotional trauma or physical stress, the good news is that new hair growth should be noticeable as well. As you take steps to combat stress, the shedding slows and the new regrowth will begin again.
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Medical Conditions Can Cause Hair Loss
Serious illness and medical conditions can cause hair loss. Some of the more common ones are thyroid disease and iron deficiency. Basic health screening can help determine if this is a factor for your hair loss. Other more obvious health conditions that can cause hair loss are cancer, where chemotherapy and immunosuppressive medications will produce hair loss. If you are wondering if a health condition is causing your loss of hair, you can have your physician run blood tests, such as Vitamin B, iron or thyroid tests, as well as complete blood counts to screen for possibilities. Other health conditions can include Lupus and trichotillomania.
Medications Can Cause Hair Loss
As mentioned earlier, some medications can cause hair loss. The obvious ones are immunosuppressive medications and chemotherapy drugs. Many people do not realize that medications such as birth control pill and steroids can also be affecting hair loss. Other common medications that can cause permanent or temporary hair loss include meds for blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and even acne.
Pregnancy & Menopause
Both pregnancy and menopause can cause hair loss. Hair loss related to pregnancy and all the hormonal changes is more commonly noticed after the baby has been delivered. This is a very temporary form of hair loss and most new mothers will notice new hairs growing back within a couple of months. It is completely normal and is an expected side effect of pregnancy. Menopausal women can also experience hair loss due to hormone levels changing. When hair is lost in menopause, it may not always be temporary.
If you know you are experiencing hair loss based on any other the reasons in this article and would like to discuss treatment options for hair restoration and hair growth, please contact our office for more details!