When it comes to hair loss there are different opinions as to what causes it. When it comes down to it there are various factors that can actually cause someone to lose their hair to the point where they go bald. If you don’t know what causes hair loss you definitely aren’t alone, as anyone who starts seeing their hair in the sink after combing it will want to know what’s going on.
To begin you shouldn’t panic if you start seeing your hair falling out at a rate of around 100 hairs daily. This is a normal part of the hair cycle that we humans experience on a daily basis. However, if you notice that you don’t have any new hairs growing to replace the hair that’s falling out then you most likely have a hair loss problem.
Why Does Hair Loss Happen?
The reason why you’re losing your hair and going bald will depend on what type of hair loss you’re experiencing. Only an experienced doctor will be able to look at your hair and determine what type of hair loss you’re suffering from. Sometimes just looking isn’t enough to figure out the hair loss cause.
The most common type of hair loss among men is hereditary. An experienced doctor will look for specific patterns that fit the description of genetic hair loss, which will be diagnosed as male pattern baldness. Women also have distinct hair loss patterns that a good doctor will be able to look at and identify.
What Causes Hair Loss
This form of hair loss is mostly common among men at age 70 and older. This condition causes uniform or diffuse hair loss, which is a sharp contrast from those who experience losing their hair in one general area.
Doctors have a hard time detecting this form of hair loss due to the fact that it causes the individual to lose their hair all over their head so no pattern is developed. Diffuse unpatterned alopecia or DUA is the name of the condition that men 30 and younger experience if they have uniform hair loss.
Thyroid diseases can lead to non-scarring hair loss, which is brought on when your thyroid produces too much or not enough thyroid hormone. When your body is producing an excessive amount of thyroid hormone it is called hyperthyroidism.
When your body is not producing enough thyroid hormone it is known as hypothyroidism. The symptoms of hyperthyroidism will differ from hypothyroidism, but the best way to detect these two diseases is to get a blood test.
Thyroid diseases affect your hair growth because it affects your metabolism and hair follicles. It’s important to note that some medications used to treat thyroid disease can cause hair loss.
Diabetics can experience hair loss due to various factors. A couple of these main factors that lead to hair loss for diabetics are bad circulation and endocrine imbalances.
Anemia is a condition that is brought on by a deficiency in iron and can lead to hair loss. Not only a lack of iron can cause anemia, but an increase in blood loss can lead to this condition known to cause people to lose their hair.
People suffering from malnutrition are known to lose their hair as a result, especially if there’s a lack of zinc. If you are suffering from bulimia or anorexia then you are more at risk of experiencing hair loss due to malnutrition.
This is an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss in most people suffering from it. Just because you have lupus doesn’t mean you’ll experience hair loss problems, but it is a great chance you will.
This condition affects women as young as 20 and older, and it is diagnosed with blood tests. What makes this condition even worse to deal with when it comes to hair loss is the fact that some of the medications used to treat it can cause hair loss as a side effect.
Chemotherapy are potent drugs used to eliminate cancer cells that are growing at a rapid rate. However, chemotherapy not only kills off cancerous cells but all rapidly growing cells, which includes hair follicles.
Even though chemotherapy can cause hair loss, there are some forms of chemotherapy drugs that won’t target your hair. Fortunately once you stop treatment your hair should begin to grow back within a couple of months.
By far the most common hair loss cause, especially among men are genetics. In fact, doctors believe that a large percentage of all cases of balding in men can be attributed to genetics. However, just because you inherited the gene of male pattern baldness/female pattern baldness from your parents or one of your family members doesn’t mean you will become bald.
In order for your genetics to affect your hair a number of other factors have to come into play such as your age, the level of hormones in your blood, and stress. This is why you may be experiencing hair loss problems, but your brother or your sister remain unaffected. Also remember that hair loss often occurs in cycles rather than all at once.
So you may notice your hair falling out slowly and then all of a sudden you notice your hair falling out at a faster rate. Then there may be a period where your hair loss stabilizes.
Hormones have a great affect on the amount of hair you have on your head. Dihydrotestosterone or DHT is believed to be the main hormone that causes hair loss (primarily Androgenetic Alopecia, or male/female pattern baldness).
The dihydrotesterone hormone attaches itself to the base of hair follicles and causes balding. Hair follicles will always have a difficult time growing with the presence of DHT. An enzyme found in different tissues of the body known as 5-alpha reductase or 5AR is what converts testosterone into DHT.
Usually DHT only affects the frontal and crown areas of the scalp, while the back and the side of your head will remain unaffected. Men tend to have more 5-alpha reductase activity than compared to women, which explains why female pattern baldness is a little different from men.
The most effective way to block the activity of DHT is with a medication called finasteride. This drug is FDA approved for stopping dihydrotesterone production and treating hair loss caused by this hormone. For women dutasteride can help inhibit the activity of DHT, which will reduce female hair thinning.
Steroids and Fitness Products
This shouldn’t come as a shocker but a lot of the fitness products and steroids that people take to achieve their best physical shape can cause hair loss. For starters, anabolic steroids have been well documented to lead to the loss of hair. Taking HGH or human growth hormones can lead to hair loss as well.
Some men who take HGH or steroids will often use Propecia, which helps block DHT, to kind of compensate for the steroids and HGH they’re taking. The truth is some doctors believe that taking Propecia in combination with steroids or HGH will just lead to more hair loss instead of less.
Whey products are very popular these days, especially among men who lift weights and need the high level of protein to recover from workouts. However, whey products can have a steroid like effect due to the growth hormones in a lot of the dairy cows that produce the milk used for whey products. So if the dairy cows were treated with steroids then there is a high chance users of whey based products will experience steroid related side effects as it gets absorbed into the body.
Contrary to what a lot of people believe stress doesn’t necessarily cause hair loss, but it does increase the rate at which it occurs. A stressful situation in your life is sometimes all it takes to activate the balding pattern you were already predisposed to.
Compared to men, women seem to lose more hair due to stress. However, this hair loss brought on by stress is often not permanent for women. Stress that causes hair loss is essentially telogen effuvium, which is shedding of hair while it’s in the resting phase. This occurs whenever the body is experiencing a temporary shock like when you are going through a traumatic accident, health condition, or if your body is deficient in certain nutrients at the time.
When you are going through a highly stressful situation like the examples mentioned above your body will begin to use its resources for other purposes that it feels are more necessary. Once the stressful situation has passed the body will divert its resources back to where they belong and your hair should grow back.
Poor Blood Circulation
Poor blood circulation can definitely lead to hair loss. Your hair needs vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients in order for it stay healthy and grow. Blood flow is what sends these nutrients to your hair, which is why a lack of blood supply will cause hair loss.
The environment around you contains various substances that can cause hair loss. Some of these substances include selenium, iron, copper, lead, cadmium, mercury, and aluminum. Toxins that cause air pollution and smoking can also cause hair loss by inhibiting the production of the protein that hair is made up of.
There are medications out there that can cause hair loss as a side effect. We talked about some of these medications earlier in this article, but we’ll list some more here:
- Blood thinners
- Gout medications
- Ulcer medications
- Acne medications
- Antidepressant medications
- Medications for lowering cholesterol
- Medications for seizures
- Medications for inflammation
- Beta blockers
How To Catch Balding Early On
A lot of our readers want to know how they can catch balding early on so they can do something about it. The best answer is to look for signs of balding or thinning at the very beginning stages of the balding process. In order to do this you will have to get your scalp and hair mapped out for miniaturization.
An experienced doctor will map out your scalp and hair using a video microscope. So if you know your family has a history of balding and you want to be certain about the future of your beloved hair then seeing a doctor and getting your hair mapped for miniaturized hairs is the best thing to do.
Some men who are worried they may go bald eventually will get their hair mapped yearly so that their doctor can predict or detect the hair loss pattern in its early stage where it has a much higher chance of being successfully treated. Most doctors will prescribe Propecia to help stop or slow down the balding process during the early stages.
When you first begin researching and trying to learn as much as you can about why you’re losing your hair you will see the Norwood classification system quite often. The Norwood classification system was created by Dr. O’Tar Norwood and it’s main purpose is to help men and women know exactly how bald they are.
Doctors use this system to measure male and female pattern baldness by degrees. The Norwood classification system is what doctors will use to predict potential hair loss patterns in patients.
What Causes Hair Loss In Women
Genetic female pattern hair loss is a lot different than male pattern hair loss. Men will often experience a rapid or sudden hair fall, while women often experience their hair thinning at a slow pace and rarely do women lose all their hair at one time.
In order for doctors to determine what caused hair loss in a woman they will need to take a good look at the pattern at which the hair is thinning. A very common pattern of hair loss women experience is hair loss behind the frontal hairline that is completely intact. Another common pattern is hair loss that occurs primarily on the top of the head.
Women who suffer from genetic hair loss suffer from a condition known as female androgenetic alopecia. This condition causes diffuse thinning that usually begins right behind the hairline. This condition becomes even worse after a woman enters menopause and her hormones begin to change.
Since genetic female pattern hair loss is a lot different from male pattern hair loss doctors use a different classification system for women known as the Ludwig classification. However, there are some women that have very similar pattern balding to men so doctors will use the Norwood classification system on them.
There are a number of health conditions that can be the underlying cause of hair loss for women. Some of these conditions include deficiency in iron, thyroid disease, autoimmune diseases like lupus, weight loss due to eating disorders, anemia, and more. Taking certain medications can also lead to hair loss in women, and some of these include drugs for treating thyroid disease, birth control pills, beta blockers, sedatives, and more.
If you are a woman experiencing hair loss the best thing to do in order to figure out if an underlying condition is the cause of your hair loss is to get evaluated by an experienced dermatologist. The dermatologist will perform blood tests in order to pinpoint the exact cause if any for your hair loss.
Once the health condition has been determined and successfully treated your hair loss should stop or at least slow down. However, some women will still notice their hair loss progressing even after treating the underlying health condition, and this is due to a change in the makeup of your genetics that was initiated by the medical condition. Once the hair loss process started it might be difficult to reverse it.
It’s no secret that when a woman is pregnant her hormones will get altered. These altered hormones during pregnancy are sometimes reflected with the amount of hair growth and thinning on the scalp.
Women that are pregnant will usually notice thicker and longer hair while carrying the baby due to the increase of estrogen levels in the body. Estrogen extends the growth phase of the hair cycle, which is why this happens.
However, once the pregnancy is over the amount of estrogen in the body will drop significantly causing a lot of hair to fall out. This is why a lot of pregnant women feel they are going bald after the pregnancy is over, but it just takes a while for their old hair to grow back.
Just like with pregnancy, women going through menopause will experience a great amount of hair loss. This is because menopause will put growing hair in an extended resting phase.