Causes of Hair Loss
A number of things can cause excessive hair loss. For example, about 3 or 4 months after an illness, major surgery, giving birth, different types of medications,Trichotillomania or Chemotherapy and in some cases hair loss due to hair extensions and chemically damaged hair.
Hormonal problems may cause hair loss. If your thyroid gland is overactive or underactive, your hair may fall out. This hair loss usually can be helped by treatment of thyroid disease. Hair loss may occur if male or female hormones, known as androgen and estrogen, are out of balance. Correcting the hormone imbalance may stop your hair loss.
Many women notice hair loss about 3 months after they've had a baby. This loss is also related to hormones. During pregnancy, high levels of certain hormones cause the body to keep hair that would normally fall out. When the hormones return to pre - pregnancy levels, that hair falls out and the normal cycle of growth and loss starts again.
Some medicines can cause hair loss. This type of hair loss improves when you stop taking the medicine. Medicines that can cause hair loss include blood thinners (also called anticoagulants), medicines used for gout, medicines used in chemotherapy to treat cancer, vitamin A (if too much is taken), birth control pills and antidepressants.
Certain infections can cause hair loss. Fungal infections of the scalp can cause hair loss in children. The infection is easily treated with anti fungal medicines.
Hair Loss Due to Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy may cause hair loss all over your body not just on your scalp. Sometimes your eyelash, eyebrow, armpit, pubic and other body hair also falls out. Some chemotherapy drugs are more likely than others to cause hair loss.
hair loss may occur as part of an underlying disease, such as lupus or diabetes. Since hair loss may be an early sign of a disease, it is important to find the cause so that it can be treated.
Different Types of ALOPECIA
Alopecia is the medical word for baldness - loss of hair.
We can lose up to 100 hairs a day without cause for concern. However, when the hair starts coming out in handfuls there will be an underlying reason.
Hair is one of the most important parts of our appearance and we often invest a good deal of time and money getting the right look, usually encouraged by the fashion of the day. To discover that we are losing more of our hair than usual can cause distress and we start looking for answers and help.
Alopecia presents itself in a number of ways:
Small circles of baldness AREATA
Total loss of hair - sometimes facial hair as well TOTALIS
Total loss of all body hair UNIVERSALIS
Loss of hair in the aftermath of pregnancy POST PARTUM
Percentage loss of hair all over the scalp TELEGEN EFFLUVIUM
Making the hair look thin and wispy DIFFUSE ALOPECIA
in men, hair loss which is genetic rather
than hormonal (i.e. passed down from MALE PATTERNBALDNESS
generation to generation.)
as above, for females FEMALE PATTERN BALDNESS
CIRATRICIAL ALOPECIA /TRICHATILOMANIA
Bald patches caused by tugging and pulling hair.
Scarring of the scalp
Starts by the development of small bald patches, usually round, on the scalp. The condition is considered to be of a nervous cause, and often follows a shock or worry but there is also a hereditary tendency - can run in the family.
Where the whole head of hair falls out, an extension of areata. This condition causes the most distressing outcomes of balding. All the hair follicles have entered telogen. It sometimes affects the eyelashes and eyebrows too.
The complete loss of all body hair. The causes can be both physical and/or medical in origin.
It is generally accepted that in physical causes the hair follicle mechanism is "switched off" by anti-bodies in our immune system, the system which protects us from unwelcome visitors such as bacteria, viruses and other "baddies". There is poor understanding of how we can restart or trigger the hair follicles into activity. Certain medical treatments will cause hair loss. For example, chemotherapy contains "cell toxic" elements needed to stop cancer cells from growing.
The human hair grows in cycles lasting from 2-7 years. There are 3 stages in the cycle:
The active growing phase. New hair in early anagen grows faster than older hairs, the average rate of growth being 125cm (1/2 inch) a month/6 inches a year. Approx. 85% of the follicles are in anagen at any one time.
The change into the resting phase lasts about 2-3 weeks and no new cells are produced in the follicle. About 1% of scalp follicles are in catagen.
The resting phase of the follicle which lasts 3-4 months. About of 13% of scalp hair is in this stage.
POST PARTUM :(after childbirth)
Any time from 1-4 months after the birth some women may experience hair loss. There are two stages of alopecia areata - small round bald patches which can appear anywhere; and diffuse - where up to 50% of the hair is ejected form the scalp leaving the whole head looking thin and wispy.
Both conditions are caused by the change in hormones readjusting to prenatal levels and recovery is usually from 3-12 months for a full head of hair.
TELEGEN EFFLUVIUM / DIFFUSE ALOPECIA:
These are the same condition. There is a shedding of hair of up to 60%, usually caused by the hair mechanism being "switched off" causing hair to fall out at the same time instead of at the end of the normal life span. This condition and its trigger are poorly understood, however it can follow distress and may not appear for up to six months after the event. Recovery is vague.
MALE PATTERN BALDNESS / ANDROGENICA
New research has confirmed that MPB is genetic and not hormonal in principal. Those with this inherited condition are affected to different degrees. The enzyme 5 ALFA-REDUCTASE speeds up the activity of the hormone TESTOSTERONE turning it into DEHYDROTESTOSTERONE - 8 times more active. Because of this activity there is an over-stimulation of cell reproduction causing the hair to grow faster but with a substantially reduced lifespan. Why this condition mostly affects the top of the male head is poorly understood.
FEMALE PATTERN BALDNESS
Unlike men, women do not lose the hair on top of their heads. It does however thin to a degree that is noticeable, and on some ladies very noticeable. The hormone changes do come into play at the onset of menopause when the levels of testosterone rises against the levels of the female hormone oestrogen.
CIRATRICIAL ALOPECIA (Scarring Alopecia)
This is the term applied to permanent hair loss which follows the destruction of the hair follicles. The cause may be medical or mechanical in origin. DOCTOR WILL ADVISE AS TO THE BEST COURSE OF ACTION.
A condition which occurs when someone pulls out their own hair, creating bald patches. This condition is on the increase and is a sign of stress and in some cases dislike of one's self. Most sufferers are embarrassed to seek help. The use of a wig or hairpiece can be used to aid the recovery of hair, in conjunction with help and counseling.
Chemical Damage And Hair Extensions