Hair loss affects both men and women and can start thinning out at almost any age. There are many causes of hair loss that can come from nutrition, medical conditions, or hair treatment and hair follicles are prone to be affected by many factors.
Hereditary Hair Loss
The most common cause of hair loss is androgenic alopecia; hair loss that is caused in both men and women. Hereditary hair loss happens over a long period of time and can start at an early age. This type of hair loss accounts for up to 95% of cases of male hair loss in the United States. It can start as early as puberty, so it may be worth checking to see if there is hair loss in your family history.
The Immune System
In some cases, the immune system can start attacking the hair follicles. This is called alopecia areata. This condition affects not only the hair on the scalp, but also other parts of the body including eyebrows and eyelashes. If this is the case, a doctor can prescribe a medication that will assist regrowth.
The Body Under Stress
Stress, surgery, childbirth, sudden weight loss, and certain medications can cause telogen effluvium. This natural phase of hair growth causes hair to shed at certain times. It is estimated that we all lose 50-100 hairs per day under normal hair growth. In the case of telogen effluvium, the body is under stress and the hair remains in the shedding phase for a long period of time. Once the underlying cause is treated, the hair should return to growing as normal.
Another more serious stress factor can cause a different phenomenon, and that is cancer treatment. Within a few weeks of starting radiation therapy, hair loss can occur all over the body. The hair will grow back within months of ceasing chemotherapy. Some fungal infections such as ringworm can cause the same effect.
Nutritional deficiency can also slow down hair growth. The body requires certain nutrients to grow hair, especially protein and iron. If this is the case, changes in diet and the use of supplements can encourage hair growth.
Pregnancy and Birth Control
Hair loss during pregnancy can happen as a result of the fetus requiring nutrients to develop which means the mother’s body gets less protein and iron. Approved nutritional supplements may be able to assist in reducing hair loss if this is the case. Some birth control pills also contribute to hair thinning. It is suggested to source a birth control pill that has a low androgen index if this is the case.
Thinning could be caused by something as simple as a hair style. Traction alopecia is a condition that is caused from tight buns or ponytails putting the hair follicles under too much strain. Cornrows and braids can also cause this condition; any hair style that is pulling on the scalp. If this continues, the hair will keep falling out and bald spots will develop. This could even exacerbate hereditary hair loss. Avoiding hair styles that will promote this type of damage will limit the thinning.
Some hair treatment products may also affect the follicles in your scalp. Switching to a new shampoo or conditioner may assist in slowing hair loss.
In most cases, hair loss is occurring due to genetics. To promote hair growth and limit the loss of hair, it is recommended to have a diet rich in protein and iron. It’s also suggested to maintain a low-stress and balanced lifestyle. A medical professional may be able to diagnose the cause of hair loss and give treatment if it is available.
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