Causes of Hair Loss | Women and Men Hair Loss Causes
The causes of hair loss in men and women are varied, and studies show that as many as 21 million women and 35 million men are affected by hair loss bald spots, receding hairline and hair thinning in the United States. While a large portion of those individuals are older (in their 40’s and 50’s), about 40% of men will have noticeable hair loss by the age of 35. By 60, 65% of men will have noticeable hair loss. There are numerous causes of hair loss, ranging from medications to genetics that will be discussed below.
Main Causes of Hair Loss In Men – Androgenetic Alopecia
The main cause of hair loss, Dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, is a derivative of the male hormone, testosterone. DHT binds itself to receptors in the follicles, shrinking follicles and ultimately causing hair loss. Both men and women with high levels of testosterone or DHT may experience hair loss. Typically, pattern baldness, also called androgenetic alopecia, is one of the causes of hair loss that can be blamed on genetics. Those with family members who have experienced male or female pattern baldness may also experience hair thinning and loss.
Female Pattern Baldness – Hair Loss In Women
Women experiencing female pattern baldness can experience temporal hair loss, but often they have an overall thinning. It is unlikely female pattern baldness will result in balding.
Medical Causes of Hair Loss
While genetics do play a role, certain medical conditions can also be responsible for hair loss in men and women. Although diseases such as thyroid disease, diabetes and lupus can cause hair loss, your overall health plays a role in hair loss.
Surgery and extended illness also cause hair loss, which often shows as a sudden hair fall, bald spots or thinning. Vitamin deficiencies have also been fingered as one of the causes of hair loss. In many of these cases, when the original problem is treated, the hair loss will be stopped and even reversed.
Hair Loss Caused By Drug or Prescription Medications
Chemotherapy is one of the most well known causes of hair loss. Additional medications can also cause this problem. Acne medications, antibiotics and antifungals, antidepressants, birth control pills, blood thinners, cholesterol-lowering drugs, immune system suppressants, breast cancer treatments, and epilepsy drugs are just a few medications that can contribute to hair loss. High blood pressure medications, hormone replacement therapy, mood stabilizers, steroids, and thyroid medications can also add to the problem. Always read the side effects before taking any prescribed medication, and discuss loss of hair with your doctor.
Hormonal Changes Cause Hair loss
Menopause, pregnancy, and other periods of hormonal change can bring about hair loss in women. This cause of hair loss is temporary, that will reverse itself as the hormones regulate themselves.
Improper Nutrition & Loss Of Hair
Male and female hair loss can also be attributed to poor nutrition in certain cases. Doctors have found hair loss present in individuals who have tried massive calorie-restrictive diets, fad diets, and those with certain digestive issues. Similarly, men and women who suffer from eating disorders can lose their hair due to the lack of vitamins and nutrients. Iron and vitamin B deficient individuals may suffer from hair loss as well as those who suffer with eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia.
Hair Loss from Illness or Surgery
A loss of hair can occur after a period of illness or a surgery. This may result from the illness itself, drugs used during the illness, stress, poor health, or a combination of all of them. Often, this hair loss is temporary.
Why Stress Causes Hair Loss
Stress is a condition that causes a huge array of health conditions, including the possibility of hair loss. This may include continuous stress or sudden traumatic stress. Those who have been in an accident or other traumatic event may notice extreme hair loss. The degree of hair loss is dependent upon how genetically predisposed to alopecia an individual is, the type of trauma or stress, and the levels of DHT present in the body.
Types of Stress Hair Loss;
- Alopecia areata – Patches of sudden hair loss that can result from periods of extreme hair loss.
- Telogen effluvium – Hair goes into it’s resting phase, called telogen. This results in hair loss in two to three months of the stress.
- Trichotillomania – This is intentional pulling of the hair, done because of emotion issues and stress. Causes thinning and bald spots, which is often seen in children.
It is important to keep in mind that hair will likely grow back after many of these causes; especially if the hair loss was caused by stress, poor nutrition, or medication. However, genetic hair loss generally doesn’t grow back without treatment. Treatment is based on a range of variables, including the individual, the causse of hair loss, and the budget for treatment.