What is Hair Loss?
Experiencing hair loss can be a source of distress and affect one's self-esteem, but it is generally not a cause for concern.
It's entirely normal for your hair to go through a cycle of growth, rest, and shedding. You may lose up to 100 inches a day without even realizing it. As you age, hair loss may become more common, and your hair may not grow at the same rate as before.
Occasionally, physical strain, an injury, or a sickness may result in more hair being shed than usual during the shedding phase of your hair's life cycle. However, after the body has recovered from the trauma, stress, or illness, hair growth typically returns to its regular rate, and the hair will regain its average thickness.
In some cases, hair loss may indicate an underlying health issue. We will discuss these conditions below.
Symtoms of Hair Loss
You may notice the following symptoms if you suffer from hair loss:
- Sudden hair loss
- Irritated or scarring patches on your scalp.
- A receding hairline
- Bald patches
- Generalized hair thinning across your scalp – you might observe your part becoming broader over time.
If you experience other symptoms like hair loss, you may have an underlying illness that needs treatment.
Associated conditions to Hair Loss
Hair loss or thinning that is abnormal may be caused by one of the following conditions:
Experiencing temporary hair loss is common, where an individual may lose more hair than usual. Typically, the hair will thin out evenly across the scalp rather than in one specific area, and it is expected to regrow over time.
Male and female pattern baldness
Male pattern baldness is a typical form of hair loss for men and is usually hereditary. It usually starts with a receding hairline at the sides, followed by thinning of the hair on the top of the head, which can eventually lead to baldness. In some cases, the hair around the back and sides of the head can also thin, leaving only a rim of hair.
Female pattern baldness, or androgenetic alopecia, is also believed to run in families. After menopause, this condition is more likely to occur, leading to hair thinning instead of the receding hairline seen in males.
Treating the condition is not a popular choice, especially among men. Nevertheless, there are options for treatment, such as medication, scalp surgery, or wigs.
Iron deficiency is the primary cause of anaemia, which can affect both men and women. A simple blood test can diagnose anaemia; iron supplements can usually address the deficiency. In addition to hair loss, symptoms of anaemia may include headaches, fatigue, pale skin, cold hands and feet, and dizziness.
Hair loss due to alopecia results from the body mistakenly attacking hair follicles because of an overactive immune system. The pattern of hair loss can be unpredictable. Treatment options include using steroid injections or creams, although they can be challenging to administer.
High vitamin A consumption and Hair Loss
Hair loss may happen when consuming supplements or medications containing vitamin A. Discontinuing the supplement or medication should result in hair regrowth. It is recommended to consult with a doctor before stopping the use of prescribed vitamin A.
Vitamin B deficiency and Hair Loss
If you're experiencing hair loss due to a lack of vitamins or dietary deficiencies, incorporating more meat, fish, non-citrus fruits, and starchy vegetables into your diet or taking vitamin supplements may help. It's possible to have your blood tested for this.
Low protein consumption and Hair Loss
Hair growth can be inhibited by a diet low in protein, usually occurring after two to three months of starting said diet.
Hypothyroidism and Hair Loss
Our bodies are regulated by thyroxine, a hormone produced by the thyroid gland, which dictates our metabolic rate. Common symptoms of an underactive thyroid include hair loss, fatigue, and weight gain. A straightforward blood test is used to diagnose this condition.
Losing a significant amount of weight quickly can lead to hair loss due to the severe strain it puts on the body. It is essential to be aware of this potential side effect and take steps to mitigate it if possible.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
If you're experiencing symptoms like weight gain, changes in menstrual periods, excess facial hair, and hair loss, it could be due to PCOS, an imbalance between the female and male hormones in a woman's body. To address this, a doctor's advice is recommended, and options like a change in diet, exercise, and taking birth control pills may be helpful.
Chemotherapy and Hair loss
One possible way to treat cancer is through chemo, which targets rapidly dividing cells such as cancer cells and hair cells. Unfortunately, this can result in hair loss throughout the body. Other causes of hair loss can include medication, such as:
- Anabolic steroids
- Trichotillomania – This is compulsive hair pulling and is a mental health disorder.
- Blood thinners
Please keep in mind that this list needs to be more comprehensive. It is recommended that you consult a medical expert for further assistance. If you want to consult a doctor, Mobi Doctor offers the option to receive medical advice online from the comfort of your home.