Causes of Hair Loss that are Common
This article debunks the myth that baldness can’t be cured, giving many patients hope. It emphasizes the significance of discovering the underlying reasons for hair loss and getting expert assistance before beginning a treatment plan.
One of the most concerning parts of hair loss therapy is that many people seek treatments without first knowing what is causing their hair loss.
At best, patients may spend money on ineffective “miracle cures” or even real therapies that aren’t fit for their specific circumstances. In the worst-case scenario, some individuals may be putting their health at risk by self-prescribing strong pharmacological medications. I have no objection to hair loss patients saving money by obtaining inexpensive generic medications over the internet, but I believe they should at the very least get confirmation from their physician that a chosen prescription is appropriate for their specific requirements.
Before we look at the most prevalent reasons for premature hair loss, it’s important to note that some hair loss is completely natural. Hairs are produced by follicles, which are small organs in the skin that are designed to produce a single hair that follows this cycle:
1. Long growth period (Anagen Stage) – this stage typically lasts two to seven years, with an average annual growth rate of six inches (15cm).
2. Short transition phase (Catagen Stage) – the Catagen Stage is a two- to the four-week transition period. The hair shaft becomes separated and travels higher within the follicle during this phase.
3. Resting period (Telogen Stage) – this phase lasts three months and allows the hair to separate from the scalp before falling out.
A new hair begins to develop at this stage, completing the typical hair growth cycle. Unfortunately, a variety of conditions can cause hair thinning or early baldness by interfering with the natural hair development process.
Androgenetic Alopecia is the most prevalent cause of hair loss in both men and women, accounting for up to 95 percent of all pattern hair loss. It’s frequently linked to aging and progresses in predictable phases over some time. Each follicle has its own genetically programmed development cycle, with some follicles being designed to be active for a shorter period of time than others. This leads to the formation of genetic baldness patterns that we are all familiar with.
The following variables must be present for this form of baldness to occur:
- Hair loss is caused by a hereditary tendency (as explained above).
- Male hormones are present.
- Aging – or, in other words, sufficient time for the first two variables to take effect.
Male hormones such as testosterone and DHT are produced by both men and women. These serve a beneficial purpose in both sexes, yet they are found in significantly disparate amounts. Males have larger amounts of androgens than females, which explains why men are more affected by this type of hair loss.
In a nutshell, these hormones have the following effects on the hair growth cycle:
1. Some hair follicle and sebaceous gland cells have high quantities of the 5-alpha-reductase enzyme.
2. Testosterone is converted to DHT by the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase.
3. DHT induces miniaturization of the terminal hairs.
4. This results in vellus hairs that are short, delicate, and fluffy, with insufficient scalp covering.
5. The growth stages progressively shorter and shorter until the hairs are completely gone
Alopecia areata is a condition that affects the immune system and causes follicles to stop generating hair in places on the head. It can progress to the point where all hair on the head is gone (Totalis Alopecia) or when there is no body hair at all (Totalis Alopecia) (alopecia Universalis).
The hair will usually regrow on its own, but until then, the condition may be quite stressful for patients, especially because the reason can be difficult to pinpoint. If you suspect you’re experiencing this type of hair loss, consult your doctor, who will perform a physical examination and order blood tests to discover the cause.
Telogen effluvium is characterized by a widespread thinning or loss of hair over a period of months in those who have recently endured trauma. Childbirth, major surgery, severe sickness, psychological stress, and chemotherapy are all common reasons. The good news is that telogen effluvium’s aberrant development pattern is only transient and reversible.
There is a slew of other less prevalent reasons for hair loss that must be ruled out before deciding on a treatment plan. Hair loss caused by persistent tugging, generally as a result of hairstyle, is known as traction alopecia. Broken hairs can lead to thinning, which is frequently caused by over-styling or exposure to chemicals and the sun. Finally, serious infections or nutritional shortages might result in varying degrees of hair loss as a side effect.
I hope that this little post has conveyed the point that determining the true reasons for hair loss is not always an easy task. Once you and your doctor have figured out what’s causing your hair to fall out, you may concentrate on returning it to its former splendor. The good news is that most types of hair loss may be properly addressed. In the next installment of this series, we’ll look at some of the most effective hair loss treatments currently on the market.