Hair is an important aesthetic element and, therefore, any unexplained, excessive hair loss can be a major cause for worry. Although it is normal to lose hair when you are taking a shower, doing blow dry, or brushing, it becomes a problem if you lose too much hair for no clear reason. When this happens, it is time to seek help from a qualified dermatologist.
Experts warn that excessive hair loss could be a sign of a more serious ailment. This article provides seven of the main causes of excessive hair loss.
Some cases of excessive hair loss are hereditary, a condition commonly referred to as Androgenetic alopecia. According to many medical researchers, this condition is the most common cause of unexplained hair loss in both men and women. Although it mostly affects people whose mother and father had hair loss, this gene can be acquired from either your mother or father.
The condition progresses slowly, manifesting its first symptoms in your 20s. Other than excessive hair loss, this condition is characterized by thin hair at the hairline behind the bangs. If your mother suffers from this pattern of thinning hair, then your chances of acquiring the condition are higher than other people.
Medical studies have revealed that many people with scalps suffer from this condition. In many instances, the hair loss is diffuse, implying that it is spread across the whole scalp. Most dermatologists examine the pattern of your hair loss to determine whether it is a hereditary condition.
The thyroid gland is an essential part of our body as it helps to produce thyroid hormone, which is responsible for a number of bodily processes, including the growth of hair, nails, and skin. However, sometimes the body fails to produce enough thyroid hormone, leading to a condition commonly referred to as hypothyroidism. When the body produces too much thyroid hormone, the condition is called hyperthyroidism.
So, if your body lacks enough thyroid hormone, your bodily processes will change. One of the first symptoms of hypothyroidism is unexplained hair loss. This hormonal deficiency causes the hair, skin, and nails to become stiff and easy to break.
Hypothyroidism is more common in women who are over 50 years old. A blood test is necessary to establish whether your body is producing enough thyroid hormone. Sometimes the doctor will prescribe medication that can help to restore your hormone levels to normal.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease that affects a person’s immune system. When you acquire this chronic disease, your immune system begins to attack your healthy tissues. The condition is said to affect over 1.5 million people worldwide and tends to be common in women who are in their child-bearing years.
Some of the most common symptoms of lupus include oral ulcers, painful, swollen joints, extreme fatigue, butterfly-shaped rash on the bridge of the nose, fever, anemia and hair loss. People with this condition lose hair when they are shampooing or brushing their hair. In the most extreme cases, the hair falls off in patches and is accompanied by rashes on the scalp.
This condition can be diagnosed through the examination of joints and the surrounding tissues for inflammation or a blood test to check the levels of antinuclear antibodies (ANA). So, if your hair loss comes with fatigue and joint pain, ask your doctor to check if you have lupus.
Iron is an important nutrient that enables the body to produce more red blood cells. These cells help to transport oxygen to other cells all over the body, ensuring you have enough energy. With iron deficiency anemia, you experience extreme fatigue, pale skin, and weakness.
In some cases, you may experience cold hands and feet, headaches, lack of concentration and hair loss. The doctor will do a blood test to check your level of ferritin, which is the protein responsible for storing iron in your body. Your doctor might also check the level of hematocrit, which shows how many red blood cells are in your body.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
The polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a condition associated with hormonal imbalance where ovaries produce excess male hormones. Medical studies have revealed that this condition can easily cause infertility in women. Affecting over five million women in the US, PCOS often starts as early as 11 years.
Some of the most common symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome include facial hair growth, acne, ovarian cysts and irregular periods. And although you experience hair growth in other parts of the body, this condition causes excess hair loss on the scalp. It is usually diagnosed through a blood test to check for excess testosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEAS).
With an unhealthy scalp, your skin is susceptible to different kinds of inflammations that may deter hair growth and cause loss of hair. Some of the common skin conditions that cause hair loss in this instance include seborrheic dermatitis also known as dandruff, fungal infection, psoriasis among others.
Your doctor will do a physical examination of the affected scalp to determine whether you have any of these skin conditions. To check whether you have ringworm, which is a fungal infection, your doctor will look for fungal cultures and do a biopsy of the scalp. You can easily treat this problem by taking medication for the skin condition you are suffering from.
Your hair will fall off if it is exposed to too much shampoo, dye, or styling tools. Studies have revealed that too much heat and too many chemicals harm the hair tresses, which render the hair weak, causing it to fall out. People who combine hair treatments, such as coloring, blow-drying and keratin are at a higher risk of losing their hair.
Hair loss caused by excessive styling can be diagnosed by checking whether the falling hair has those club-shaped telogen bulbs at the end. Excess chemicals and heat cause the hair to simply break, so it doesn’t have these bulbs.
If you are suffering from hair loss, before you conclude that your excessive hair loss may be a result of any of the above-mentioned conditions, consult a qualified doctor for the necessary tests and treatments that may involve hair growth vitamins.