Last Updated on 26th July 2021 by Chauncey Morgan
And How To Stimulate Hair Growth
Hair falling out without a reason can be worrying, even scary. Most people will lose about a hundred hairs a day, as part of the natural hair growth cycle. However, anything above this and you may be dealing with a hair loss problem. Hair is affected by a variety of factors, both internal and external, and in many cases hair loss can be stopped and even reversed provided the hair follicles are still healthy. Knowing the reasons behind hair loss is the first step towards finding a solution.
Some Common Reasons For Hair Loss
First of all, it is important to check whether your hair is falling out, or it’s just breaking due to traction and damage. For example, treating your hair with harsh chemicals or brushing too enthusiastically can cause breakage. Look at the hairs in your brush and check whether they have the little bulb at the end attached. If most of your lost hairs doesn’t seem to have a root then you may be dealing with a hair breakage problem instead of hair loss. You can read more about how to fix weak hair that breaks here.
For women, pregnancy and birth can also cause changes in the way the hair cycle runs. Pregnant women usually have amazing hair, because the hair growth has all but stalled as the body concentrates in nurturing baby and shuts down non-essential processes. As there is no Anagen phase, hair is not pushed out of the follicle and there is no hair loss. However, as soon as the baby is delivered the process starts again, and between 6 weeks and 3 months after birth hair loss can start quite drastically. Couple that with stress caused by caring for a new baby and possible iron deficiencies, and you may have a very worried new mum who wonders why all her hair is falling out suddenly.
Also, as we grow older, hormonal reasons can cause more hairs to enter the telogen stage and not go back into active growth phase. This is, to a point, largely mandated by genetic reasons and there is little you can do about it. However, in certain extreme cases the doctor can offer medication, so if it worries you (or androgenetic alopecia runs in your family) a consultation with a trichologist or hair doctor may be just the solution to try and slow hair loss. Medicines such as minoxidil or finasteride (you may know them as Rogaine or Propecia) are prescribed to treat this sort of genetically inherited hair loss, and can slow down the hair loss.
Stress, Anxiety And Hair Loss
Stress can cause hair loss in both genders, but it’s not usually immediate. After a very stressful period you may notice you lose more hair than normal, and this can happen as far as 3 months after the stressful event took place.
Telogen Effluvium is a common cause of stress related hair loss, but it’s sometimes difficult to diagnose. In a high stress situation the body may tell more hair follicles to hit the Telogen stage earlier than usual. Two months later, you will notice more hair falling out but by then you may not even remember how stressful it was, and wonder what could be causing your sudden loss of hair.
Another common issue with anxiety and stress sufferers is known as Trichotillomania, where a person unconsciously pulls out hairs. This can become pretty severe, and it’s common in sufferers of anxiety. In some cases it will also affect the eyebrows and body hair, and is relatively easy to recognise. But if you are in a high stress situation and find yourself tugging at your hair without thinking, try to choose protective hairstyles and consult a professional.
The good news is, in many cases stress related hair loss is not permanent. Hair can come back, but the problem is often that it doesn’t come back with the same colour or texture. Ever heard of people suddenly developing white hair streaks after a terrible scare? Well, it is a possibility as the hair follicle becoming dormant for a long time can cause changes in the way it creates new hair.
Hormonal Causes For Hair Loss
There are several hormonal issues that can cause hair loss. For example, Hypothyroidism or Hyperthyroidism, where the thyroid gland is under or over active, will have effects on hair growth as this gland is a vital part of regulating your metabolism. Since this kind of hormonal imbalance can have wide spanning effects that go beyond hair loss, you will need to talk to a doctor to get adequate treatment.
Another frequent culprit of hair loss is untreated polycystic ovarian syndrome. This condition causes the body to create too much testosterone, which can cause hair loss. This is usually accompanied of excess hair growth in other areas of the body, and is easily treated with anti-androgen birth control pills or spironolactone.
Auto-Inmune Disorders Causing Hair To Fall Out
There are two major auto-inmune disorders that can cause sudden hair loss: Alopecia areata, which causes round and smooth bald patches in the scalp, eyebrows and legs, and Lupus which can cause widespread hair loss.
Both types of auto-inmune related hair loss can be treated by doctors. If your hair loss comes with joint pain or unexplained fatigue, visit a rheumatologist to discard Lupus as a possible cause.
Lifestyle And Scalp Conditions
Hair can stop growing and start falling faster than usual due to nutritional deficiencies. A very common one, particularly in women, is iron deficiency, which comes accompanied by fatigue, weakness and difficulty concentrating. If you want to stimulate hair growth, your best bet is improving your diet and ensuring your hair follicles have all the nutrients they need to grow healthy hair.
Smoking and drinking in excess can also cause a reduction in the blood flow of the scalp, which means less nutrients reach the hair follicles and hair won’t grow as thick or resilient. This means hair breakage increases, and hair may be more likely to enter its dormant phase quicker.
It is also important to discard any scalp conditions in order to treat unexplained hair loss: something as simple as dandruff, excess oil or fungal infections can be creating inflammation at the hair follicles, and sending them into the telogen phase. Treating the underlying condition allows the hair to grow again, and can reverse the hair loss, but the sooner you do it the less likely permanent damage or scarring can occur.
As you can see, there are many reasons why you would suffer from hair falling out, as the condition of your hair is generally a reflection of your health. In many cases, treating the underlying reasons for hair loss means hair follicles can go back to the active growing phase, and while it may take a while for your hair to look as good as it used to, you can stimulate hair growth with a healthy diet to keep the hair follicles nourished, and exercise to encourage a healthy circulatory system.