Hair loss can occur on the scalp or all over the body and affects individuals of all ages. While it’s more common amongst older adults, it can also affect children or young adults. It is natural to shed a few hair strands every day, which is insignificant considering that the average human head has hundreds of thousands of hair strands. Typically, new hair replaces the lost hair but this is not always the case. Hair loss can occur slowly over time or rapidly. Depending on what’s causing your hair loss, it may be a temporary problem or a permanent one. Read on to learn more about the most common hair fall reasons and who is likely to get affected by this problem the most.
Who Suffers from Hair Loss?
Hair loss can be a result of a variety of hormonal and genetic factors. It affects millions of men and women around the globe. The condition can occur in anyone at any age, but is most commonly seen in:
- Women going through menopause
- Men over the age of 50
- Individuals with a family history of androgenetic alopecia
What are the Common Hair Fall Reasons?
There are plenty of reasons for hair loss. Some of the common hair loss causes include:
Hereditary hair loss is one of the most prevalent causes of hair fall worldwide and affects both men and women. “In women, hair thinning tends to occur at the crown of their head, whereas in men, it tends to affect the hairline and the back of their head”. In men, it is referred to as male pattern hair loss, while women experience female pattern hair loss. However, regardless of gender, the medical term for this condition is androgenic alopecia. Essentially, it means that a person has inherited genes that cause their hair follicles, which are responsible for hair growth, to shrink and eventually stop growing hair. Although this shrinkage may start as early as the teenage years, it often begins later in life.
Ageing is another one of the most common hair loss causes. As individuals age, they typically experience some degree of hair loss due to a decrease in hair growth. Eventually, hair follicles stop producing hair, resulting in a reduction in hair volume on the scalp. Additionally, hair may begin to lose its pigmentation, leading to a change in colour. Women may also experience a natural recession of their hairline.
It is a medical condition, which causes the body’s immune system to attack hair follicles, which results in hair loss. This can affect any part of the body, including the scalp, nose, ears, and other areas. In some cases, individuals may even lose their eyebrows or eyelashes due to the condition.
An imbalance of hormones is one of the most prevalent hair fall reasons in females. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a frequent cause of hormonal imbalances that can result in hair loss. This condition is characterised by the formation of cysts on the ovaries, as well as other symptoms. Discontinuing certain types of birth control pills can also cause temporary hormonal imbalances in some women, which may lead to hair thinning or hair loss on the scalp.
Apart from PCOS and birth control pills, other hormone-related conditions can also contribute to hair loss. Given that thyroid hormones play a crucial role in regulating various bodily functions, including hair growth, imbalances in these hormones can negatively impact hair health. Notably, hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid) and hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid) potentially cause hair loss due to a hormonal imbalance. Autoimmune diseases affecting the thyroid gland, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Graves’ disease, may also contribute to hair loss.
In addition to the aforementioned conditions, hormonal imbalances resulting from the fluctuating hormones after pregnancy and childbirth can also be a reason for hair loss in females. During pregnancy, oestrogen levels increase significantly, which can temporarily alter the hair growth cycle, leading to reduced hair loss. However, after delivery, as oestrogen levels normalise, there may be a noticeable increase in hair fall. It is quite common for new mothers to experience hair thinning or bald patches postpartum due to these hormonal changes.
Hair loss can be induced by high levels of stress, such as undergoing surgery or developing a disease that exerts stress on the mind and body. Additionally, experiencing a significant period of stress, such as the loss of a loved one or a divorce, can also trigger hair loss. In some instances, individuals may pull on their hair as a way of alleviating stress, without realising they are doing so. This medical condition is known as trichotillomania.
Hair loss and reduced hair growth can result from deficiencies in specific vitamins and minerals that play a crucial role in the cellular turnover and hair growth cycle. Inadequate intake of certain vitamins, biotin, zinc, iron, or protein, can lead to hair fall. A lack of proper nutrition, as well as extreme or fad diets, can result in various nutritional deficiencies, which can ultimately result in hair loss ranging from slight hair thinning to huge bald patches.
In addition to these, there are several other factors that can cause extreme hair fall, such as poor or too much hair care, physical trauma, certain autoimmune diseases, and some medications.
There can be a wide variety of hair fall reasons, some of which can be prevented, while others are inevitable. Understanding the causes of hair fall and who is at risk of hair loss is crucial for maintaining hair health. If you notice symptoms of uncontrollable hair loss, then it’s advisable to consult with a doctor to figure out the underlying cause and start appropriate treatment. By making lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy diet, reducing stress, and using gentle hair care products, it is possible to slow down or prevent hair loss.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the common causes of hair loss?
There are several common hair fall reasons, including genetics, stress, hormonal changes, nutritional deficiencies, medications, and certain medical conditions.
Who is at risk of hair loss?
Hair loss can affect anyone at any age, but some factors increase the risk of hair loss, such as being over 50 years of age, going through menopause, pregnancy, high stress levels, etc.
Can poor nutrition cause hair loss?
Yes, poor nutrition can be a contributing factor to hair loss. Inadequate intake of vital nutrients, such as zinc, iron, and biotin, can result in hair thinning and loss.
Can stress cause hair loss?
Yes, stress can be a factor in hair loss. Stress can interrupt the natural hair growth cycle, causing increased hair fall.
Is there a way to prevent hair loss?
While some hair loss is inevitable, there are ways to prevent or slow down the process, such as maintaining a healthy diet, reducing stress, avoiding harsh hair treatments, and using gentle hair care products. In some cases, medical treatment may be necessary.