You lose a small amount of hair everyday. You probably notice hair on your pillow, hair brushes and shower floor. But these hairs are quickly replaced. The average person loses somewhere between 50 and 100 hairs a day, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. But more than this could signal a problem.
Causes of Hair Loss
Hair loss is when something occurs to stop the growth of your hair, either over the entire head or in certain places - for example, a receding forehead. Hair loss can either be permanent or temporary. If you have temporary hair loss, which is the case for many types of hair loss, your hair growth returns once the underlying reason has been addressed. If you notice hair thinning or clumps of hair coming out, the first step is to talk with your doctor.
While there can be many reasons for hair loss, some of the common causes include:
_Your genes - _ Hair loss is often genetic and can occur in both men and women. Women ten to have thinning around the hairline, especially on the forehead. In men this often results in an M-shaped pattern. There are many treatments that can slow the progression but they don’t always lead to hair regrowth. Genetic hair thinning or hair loss are most often thought of as on the head, but hair thinning can occur anywhere on the body.
Autoimmune disorders - Some autoimmune disorders, such as lupus, can cause hair loss, as it causes your immune system to attack your hair follicles or other tissues or cells necessary for hair growth.
Physical illness or trauma - Being in an accident, being seriously ill, undergoing surgery, running a high fever or other physical trauma to your body can cause a shock to your hair follicles and result in your hair falling out, sometimes months after the trauma. This is usually temporary and your hair will grow back as your body recovers.
Infections - Some infections can lead to hair thinning or hair loss. Syphilis is one such infection but other can too. Treating the underlying infection can help restore your hair.
Tight hairstyles - This includes pulling your hair back in ponytails, or having your hair in tightly braided or twisted styles, such as cornrows or dreadlocks. This normally causes hair to thin at the hairline from constant pulling.
Trichotillomania- Chronic picking or pulling your hair out can lead to permanent baldness in spots because of scarring from repeated pulling. If this is stopped before permanent scars, the hair will grow back.
Thyroid problems - Your thyroid produces and regulates hormones in your body. Whether you have hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) or hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid), you can have a hormone imbalance which can lead to hair loss.
Medications - There are a number of medications that can lead to hair loss, for example, some hormone therapy, birth control pills, anti-thyroid medications, anti-convulsants, some depression medications, anticoagulants and beta-blockers. Chemotherapy for cancer can also cause hair loss.
Vitamin or mineral deficiencies - Malnutrition or being deficient in certain vitamins, such as iron, as well as minerals, can lead to hair loss. Going on a crash diet or poor eating habits can also cause hair loss. Besides deficiencies, too much Vitamin A and medications based on Vitamin A (retinoids) can cause hair loss as well.
Stress- Both physical stress (such as surgery or severe illness) and emotional stress can cause hair loss. This type of hair loss is usually temporary and your hair will grow back once the stress has ended. However, it can take months for your hair to return to its previous fullness. So far it is not understood whether long-term or chronic stress will cause permanent hair loss.
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Eileen Bailey is a freelance health writer. She is the author of What Went Right: Reframe Your Thinking for a Happier Now, Idiot’s Guide to Adult ADHD, Idiot’s Guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Essential Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Love, and Essential Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. She can be found on Twitter @eileenmbailey and on Facebook at eileenmbailey.