8 Causes for Why You're Losing Your Hair and What You Can Do About It
8 minute read
Maybe it started as just a few extra hairs on your sweater or in the drain, but now you can’t deny it anymore—you’re losing your hair. This is a realization no one wants to admit, but you can take heart in the fact that you are not alone.
The first step in battling hair loss is learning why you’re losing your hair and if it’s something you can reverse. Here are some of the possible causes:
1. Sudden Weight Loss
Planned weight loss that occurs suddenly is a type of physical stress for the body and typically resolves once your body gets used to your new weight and healthy routines.
The exception to this is if the person has anorexia or bulimia. While the weight loss people with eating disorders experience may cause hair loss, it’s not as simple as their body adjusting to a new lifestyle. The eating disorder must be diagnosed and managed, usually with the help of a healthcare professional, before their body will respond by correcting the hair loss.
Not going on a diet, but your regular diet, and a potential lack of nutrients, has been shown to affect your hair. Don’t accept your hair loss is irreversible and inevitable, it could be that you’re just lacking in some important nutrients, or you could even be consuming too much of something.
Some diet culprits in the hair loss realm include:
♦ Too much vitamin A
♦ Lack of vitamin B
♦ Not enough protein
♦ Anemia, or lack of iron
There are many other vitamins, minerals, and nutrition sources that can affect your hair. If you haven’t had a physical in awhile it might be a good idea to make sure you’re not lacking in some vital nutrients.
You can also add a good multivitamin to your diet for blood sugar and insulin support, and try to eliminate excess carbohydrates and make healthier food choices to keep your body well-nourished. Once you’ve figured out what it is (or isn’t) in your diet that’s causing the hair loss and remedied it, then you should begin to see your hair responding favorably.
3. Female Hormone Events
There are many times in a woman’s lifespan when her hormones fluctuate and sometimes even stop. It’s the change in hormones during these events that can cause changes in your hair.
Not all women experience hormonal hair loss, some report having thicker and more luxurious hair during hormonal changes. Some of these events can include:
♦ Giving birth
♦ Starting and stopping breastfeeding
♦ Changing birth control methods
The good news is that some of these hormone-changing events are only temporary; when your body returns to normal, your hair will follow suit. But obviously menopause is not a temporary situation, and if your birth control causes hair loss, you may want to change it.
In both of these situations, you should visit with your healthcare provider to look into hormone replacement therapy or different medications.
Stress affects our lives in many ways, so it probably shouldn’t be a surprise that it can cause hair loss too. Whether the stress has a physical source, like an accident or illness, or an emotional one, it can shock your hair cycle and begin the shedding phase.
The interesting thing is you probably won’t notice the hair loss until three to six months after the event. But the good news is that your hair will most likely fall back into the cycle and return, especially once you are able to identify the possible anxiety disorder or reduce stress.
5. Your Hairstyle
Believe it or not, you’re stressing out your hair and the follicles when you style it. Hot oil treatments, harsh chemicals, and high heat can burn off the hair and even damage the roots.
If the hair is burned off, it will typically grow back. However, if the root is damaged, you may have permanent hair loss.
Another culprit is the tight braiding that may be used for hair weaves, cornrows, or as a style of their own. This continual pressure affects the roots and can cause Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia (CCCA), an irreversible form of hair loss.
Getting treatment for your health concerns is important, but you should know that some medications cause hair loss. Often this hair loss is temporary and goes away once you’ve stopped taking the medication or your body becomes adjusted to it.
Some of the common medications associated with hair loss are:
♦ Acne medications
♦ Antidepressants and mood stabilizers
♦ Blood thinners
♦ Gout medications
♦ Weight loss drugs
These medications can trigger one of two types of hair loss, telogen effluvium or anagen effluvium. The first kind is short-term temporary hair loss. Even though you’ve lost some hair, your hair continues growing so the thinness is quickly remedied.
| Related: Do Antidepressants Cause Withdrawal? Symptoms & Side Effects |
The second type, anagen, is a long-term condition and often extends beyond your hair on your head and includes other body hair.
7. Male Pattern Baldness
While hair loss and baldness can affect both men and women, this type of baldness typically only affects men. Women that suffer this type of hair loss can consider the same treatments men use.
This is typically not a temporary type of hair loss and not easily treatable but there are topical creams and oral medications that might help stop hair loss and even grow some hair. If these options don’t work for you, hair transplants may be an option.
8. Alopecia Areata
This is an autoimmune disease where a hyperactive immune system decides to attack hair follicles and destroy the hair.
Like most autoimmune diseases, alopecia areata is a little confusing. Some people lose hair in small patches and then it grows back, others lose it all over their entire body and it never returns.
While there is no cure for this disease, there are some treatments you can try to help your hair regrow. Your healthcare professional can either help you try different therapies or can suggest a dermatologist help you manage this diagnosis.
The Bottom Line
The key is knowing that once you notice your hair thinning or patchy bald spots, there may be steps you can take to fix the situation. Not all hair loss is permanent and many times it may resolve itself after the instigating factor is either removed or your body adapts to its new normal.
Of course, your own personal research online can never substitute for the expert advice of your physician or dermatologists. Be sure to consult a professional if problems linger. Just remember that you have more control over your hair than you might think.