Finding hair in your brush is normal: We shed. When you start losing an unusual amount of hair, however, it can be cause for concern.
Losing hair normally doesn’t have much effect on your appearance or warmth, as your head has plenty more to make up for the daily loss. But there may be a more significant reason for your hair loss when you start seeing your scalp or bald spots.
When you think of hair loss, you may think of the genetic factors, like male pattern baldness. Hormones, thyroid problems, infections, medications, and other diseases can all cause hair loss too.
So what are these various causes and how do you know if they’re to blame for your excessive shedding?
Women may lose hair following childbirth or while in menopause. Aside from genetic male pattern baldness, man can lose hair as their hormonal composition changes with age.
Perhaps one of the most common hormone-related causes for hair loss is a thyroid problem. Both too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism) and too little (hypothyroidism) can lead to hair loss. Treating the thyroid disorder can often reverse the hair loss.
Low intake of zinc and iron are the most common nutritional causes of hair loss.]
Physical and emotional stress can cause hair loss. Surgery, high fevers, and blood loss can cause enough stress to cause excessive shedding. Childbirth can result in hair loss for several months after delivery. As for psychological stress, the link is less well defined, but many people have reported losing hair at times of extreme mental stress or anxiety.
Fortunately, the causes of physical stress are often temporary and the hair loss subsides as the body heals. You can combat mental stress with daily exercise, proper nutrition, meditation, and removing known stressors from your life.
Pharmaceuticals can come with a long list of side effects, including hair loss. Chemotherapy is the most well-known culprit, but others include:
- thyroid medications
- some oral contraceptives
These medications affect people differently, and may not cause hair loss in everyone.
Zinc and iron deficiency are the most common nutritional links to hair loss. But some evidence indicates that low intakes of fats, vitamin D, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin A, copper, selenium, and biotin could also be to blame.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can cause hair loss. Generally, the hair loss is patchy and accompanied by lesions on the scalp. Some lupus medications also may lead to hair loss.
Other Medical Conditions
Many other medical conditions can lead to abnormal balding, including:
- renal failure
- inflammatory bowel disease
- liver disease
Skin conditions like psoriasis and dermatitis can occur on the scalp and interfere with hair growth.
Your search for causes and potential treatments is understandable. Research has tied hair loss to lower self-esteem, body image, and increased anxiety. Fortunately, many of these non-genetic causes for hair loss can be successfully treated and the hair loss averted and even reversed.
Talk with your doctor about your concerns and the potential causes for your hair loss. They can recommend a treatment that’s right for you.