Receding Hairlines and Baldness : How to Detect Balding
When Hair Loss Is Not Genetic
Why is My Hair Falling Out?
Wonder why your hair is falling out? The answers may surprise you. Many women suffer with sudden hair loss, and most loss of hair has a reason — whether genetic, stress, diet, medication, or certain health conditions.
The most common type of hair loss is the kind that you inherit, called androgenetic alopecia. With genetic hair loss, you lose your hair gradually, and hair loss increases with age. But in some cases, other factors may lead to your hair falling out. It is especially likely that a nongenetic factor may be causing your loss of hair if your once thick, healthy hair suddenly and noticeably begins falling out.
Most of us normally shed 50 to 100 hairs a day. This loss of hair generally does not cause thinning of hair because at the same time new hair is growing on your scalp. But sudden hair loss is something to take seriously. According to the Mayo Clinic, this loss of hair occurs when the cycle of hair growth and shedding is disrupted or when the hair follicle is destroyed and replaced with scar tissue.
Hair disorders such as androgenetic alopecia (hereditary thinning, or baldness) are the most common cause of hair loss, affecting about 80 million people in the United States, including both men and women. Women with hereditary hair loss most commonly notice a widening part in the front and center of the scalp with generalized thinning, while men see bald patches on the head.
But other than genetic reasons, there are many factors that can result in hair loss, including:
- Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, thyroid disorders, and lupus
- Medication or major surgery
- Poor nutrition
Autoimmune diseases, such as alopecia areata, result in sudden loss of hair. With alopecia areata the body’s immune system attacks its own hair. This autoimmune disease happens in healthy people and causes smooth, round patches of hair loss on the scalp and other areas of the body. There is treatment available for alopecia areata, so see your dermatologist.
Sometimes an underlying medical condition can result in sudden loss of hair. An estimated 30 diseases, such as thyroid disease, diabetes, lupus, and anemia, cause hair loss. See your doctor for ways to treat the disease and reverse the hair loss.
Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and major surgery can cause temporary hair loss. Even though the sudden loss of hair is traumatic, this should reverse when treatment is stopped.
Women can blame hormones for noticeable hair loss. Falling estrogen results in temporary hair loss after giving birth. Hair loss also happens during menopause. Major stress, such as from divorce or death of a loved one, can result in hair loss, too.
Additionally, a poor diet, weight loss, not getting enough protein, and eating disorders (anorexia and bulimia) can result in hair loss. It’s wise to see your doctor for help in reversing the hair loss associated with these conditions.
Video: The Science of Hair Loss/Balding
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