Why is my hair falling out?
Hair loss is a very common condition and affects most people at some time in their lives. Hair loss from breakage of the hair shaft is different than hair loss from decreased hair growth. Androgenetic hair loss is seen in both men and women but is worse in men.
But thinning hair and hair loss are also common in women, and no less demoralizing. Reasons can range from the simple and temporary—a vitamin deficiency—to the more complex, like an underlying health condition.
Because there are so many types of scalp hair loss, finding the cause can be challenging. This review will cover the most common causes of hair loss occurring on normal scalp skin. The medical term for hair loss is alopecia.
Most hair loss is not associated with systemic or internal disease, nor is poor diet a frequent factor. Hair may simply thin as a result of predetermined genetic factors and the overall aging process. Many men and women may notice mild physiologic thinning of hair starting in their 30s and 40s. Life vicissitudes, including illness, emotional trauma, protein deprivation (during strict dieting), and hormonal changes like those in pregnancy, puberty, and menopause may cause a reversible hair loss.
Several health conditions, including thyroid disease and iron deficiency anemia, can cause hair loss. While thyroid blood tests and other lab tests, including a complete blood count (CBC), on people who have ordinary hair loss are usually normal, it is important to exclude underlying causes in sudden or severe hair loss. Such basic health screening can be done by a family physician, internist, or gynecologist. Dermatologists are doctors who specialize in problems of skin, hair, and nails and may provide more advanced diagnosis and treatment of hair thinning and loss. Sometimes a scalp biopsy may be taken to help in diagnosis of severe or unexplained hair loss.
Although many medications list “hair loss” among their potential side effects, most drugs are not likely to induce hair loss. On the other hand, cancer chemotherapy and immunosuppressive medications commonly produce hair loss. Complete hair loss after chemotherapy regrows after six to 12 months.
Five major causes of hair loss.
Stress and trauma
Stress produces increased levels of testosterone, which converts to DHT and interrupts the hair growth cycle. Stress and trauma can also constrict the blood supply to the capillaries, causing a lack of oxygen and nutrient uptake, as well as poor vitamin and nutrient absorption of the hair follicles.
Poor Nutrition and diet
Poor nutrition, rapid weight loss, a high consumption of animal fats and deficiencies in biotin, iron, protein and zinc can reduce vital amino acid and vitamin absorption needed for hair growth.
Other Health problem
Thyroid diseases, as well as the side effects of the medications used to treat these diseases, are the most common health-related causes of hair loss.
Everything from birth control to steroids, as well as many blood pressure, diabetic and heart disease and acne medications can cause temporary or permanent hair loss.
Environmental pollutants in the air and water, as well as exposure to chlorine, metals and minerals, can lead to hormonal imbalances that can contribute to hair loss. UV exposure and free radicals can also prematurely age the scalp cells and damage the hair shaft.