What Can Cause Hair Loss?
What is Hair Loss?
Whether you’re already balding, seeking hair replacement or just experiencing a thinning of the hair- it can be helpful to understand some of the common conditions or causes that may be behind your troubles.
Hair thinning, and balding, affects both men and women. Hair loss can occur due to a variety of reasons. As we age it’s natural to see thinning hair and hair loss. When it comes to male pattern baldness, around 70% of men experience it to a degree. While, around 30% of women experience a degree of female pattern baldness.
The first step in dealing with hair loss is determining the root of the issue.
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Types of Hair Loss:
Various conditions can result in a variety of hair loss types.
Androgenic Alopecia: This can affect men and women. It’s usually described as male or female pattern baldness, though there are doctors who believe that the condition is two separate diseases, rather than the same disease manifesting in both sexes. Androgenic Alopecia is not yet fully understood. What is known, is that it’s more common in men, and is the most common type of alopecia. It may often be called female diffuse hair loss, rather than pattern baldness.
Androgenic Alopecia’s most common symptoms include:
- For women, there is no receding hairline like what men experience. Rather, the hair thins gradually, leaving women with thinner hair overall.
- For men, the loss of hair is generally on the crown, and around the hairline. A receding hairline commonly results in that M shape, quite noticeably on the forehead.
It only affects head hair, it does not result in hair loss on other areas of the body. It can affect anyone, but it is men that are affected by 60% of the androgenic alopecia cases. That works out as around 35 million American men. Once they hit 50, more than half of all men will experience it to some degree. It most commonly affects women when menopause strikes. Around 40% of post-menopausal women experience hair loss. It’s a rare occurrence when younger.
Androgenic Alopecia Causes: It’s a genetic, inherited condition. It’s thought that it is caused by hormone level changes in those affecting hair growth, particularly androgens. There are several factors which can affect androgen levels, thus hair thinning, in women:
- Polycystic ovary syndrome, or ovarian cysts.
- Taking contraceptives containing large levels of androgens.
While for men, the factors affecting androgens include:
- Advancing age
- Coronary heart disease
- An enlarged prostate
- High blood pressure
- Prostate cancer
How to Treat Androgenic Alopecia: While there are several methods to treat the effects of androgenic alopecia, it is permanent. There are medications for both men and women, including minoxidil and other topical solutions. There are capsules, hair fibers, hair transplants, and more. With the former you may need to take the medications indefinitely to ensure the hair growth sticks, while hair transplants are a more invasive procedure. Many hair care products include herbs and all natural ingredients that stimulate hair growth.
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Female Pattern Baldness
Around 21 million women experience female pattern baldness, as it is the most common type of hair loss that women experience. Female pattern baldness is an overall thinning of the hair. In the majority of cases, it does not result in complete baldness, or a receding hairline. The general result is a uniform thinning of the hair across the scalp.
Male Pattern Baldness
It’s also often referred to as permanent pattern baldness, or common baldness. This is as a result of genetics, and as a man begins to age, he will experience the same balding as his father did.
This is a temporary condition that most commonly affects women. The hair loss is experienced some months after a significant life event. It can be the hormonal imbalance that follows a pregnancy, a traumatic event, a stressful situation such as surgery, or even a crash low-protein diet. This type of hair loss generally occurs all over the head. The period is described as shedding. It tends to slow down within around 8 months of the stressful event that triggered it in the first place.
Only 2% of the population is affected by this autoimmune disorder. It can affect eyelashes, and eyebrows. It is generally diagnoses when there is at least one completely bald patch on the scalp. There is no cure, and unfortunately, the causes are unknown. The condition generally reverses itself, but it can recur.
Causes of Hair Loss
While many people will experience a degree of hair loss because of hormone changes, age, and genetics. There are other factors that can result in hair loss, including:
- Hormone disruptions, which includes menopause, pregnancy, or childbirth.
- Hormone imbalances.
- Particular medications, which includes chemotherapy, antidepressants, and blood thinners (this list is not exhaustive).
- Thyroid problems.
- Vitamin deficiencies.
- Fungal infections, for example: ringworm on the scalp.
- Substantial stress to the body, as a result of serious illness or from a surgery.
When Is It Time to Seek Professional Help For Your Hair Loss?
There are several reasons why you may need to speak to a doctor about your hair loss:
- You have reason to believe that your hair loss is not as a result of a genetic predisposition. Nor is there another explanation for it, such as hormonal changes. In some cases, hair loss is an early symptom of diseases like lupus and diabetes.
- The occurring hair loss pattern is unusual.
- The hair loss is accompanied by itchiness, this could indicate that an infection is present. This can and should be treated.
Additionally, you may consider seeking professional advice if you believe your hair loss is a direct cause of stress. Stress can result in serious side effects, and you should have help in managing it. Hair loss or hair replacement itself can also result in knocks to self-confidence, which can affect your mental health.
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