If you suffer from hair loss, you may notice large amounts of hair collecting in your brush or coming out when you shower. While it’s normal to lose about 100 hairs per day, any more than this may lead to noticeable baldness. Here are eight possible explanations for your thinning hair.
The most common cause of hair loss is an inherited condition called male- or female-pattern baldness. It usually manifests with age and occurs predictably: men experience a receding hairline and women have thinning hair all across their scalp.
Male and female hormones
Hormonal changes can cause temporary or permanent hair loss in women. Examples include pregnancy and childbirth, menopause, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and switching or going off birth-control pills. Thyroid problems can also cause hair loss-inducing hormone imbalances in both men and women.
Medical conditions & medications
Alopecia areata is a condition caused by an overactive immune system, which is characterized by patchy hair loss. Other medical problems that can cause baldness include scalp infections and trichotillomania, a compulsive hair-pulling disorder. Hair loss is also a side effect of certain drugs, including blood thinners, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), lithium (used to treat bipolar disorder), antidepressants and cancer medications.
Chemotherapy targets rapidly dividing cancer cells. Unfortunately, it can make your hair fall out by destroying rapidly dividing hair cells as well. Once treatment is complete, your hair should grow back, but it may be thinner with a different color or texture than before.
It’s possible for your hair to thin temporarily after a traumatic physical event, such as having surgery or getting in a car accident. Even emotional stress, such as going through a divorce or coping with the death of a loved one, can exacerbate an existing predisposition for hair loss.
Hair treatments that pull at your hair follicles, such as cornrows or pigtails, can lead to a type of hair loss called traction alopecia. Chemical relaxers, perms and hot-oil treatments may inflame the hair follicle, causing hair loss. If scarring occurs, the hair may never grow back.
Your diet affects hair growth significantly. Imbalances such as too much vitamin A, vitamin B deficiency, insufficient iron levels and lack of protein may cause temporary hair loss until you correct your nutrient intake.
Sudden weight loss
When caused by vitamin or mineral deficiencies, sudden weight loss can result in thinning hair, even if you’re overweight to begin with. Thin hair may also be a symptom of eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia. This is a clear indicator that weight loss should be gradual and done in a healthy manner to avoid shocking your system and risking malnutrition and hair loss.
If you are experiencing unexplained hair loss, receive an accurate diagnosis for your condition at Arlington Dermatology in Rolling Meadows, IL. Our dermatologist will determine whether the problem will resolve itself or if medical treatment is needed. To schedule an appointment, please contact us at (847) 725-0824.