Reasons for Hair Loss
Hair loss may be caused due to several factors. The influences on the hair cycle vary from person to person. While some factors cause permanent hair loss, others may be a temporary phase. This reference, while not complete, covers most of the common causes of alopecia, chemotherapy and trichotillomania (hair loss) in both women and men.
Genetics play a major role in hair loss problems. Children who have even one parent suffering from hair loss are at a higher risk of facing hair loss or thinning. A high number of family members with hair problems may imply a higher chance of the individual facing the same in the future.
The male hormone androgen often acts upon the hair follicles, leading to a reduction in size of the hair follicles. This, in turn, reduces the diameter and subsequently the length of the hair produced by them. This phenomenon is often present in people with genetic hair loss. Hypothyroidism (thyroid with reduced functioning) or some other endocrine gland malfunction is also responsible for hair loss in men and women. Women suffer other hormone related problems that affect the hair cycle and can lead to hair loss, such as taking birth control pills, irregular menstruation, giving birth and going through menopause.
At times hair loss is caused due to illnesses. Certain illnesses are likely to result in hair loss, especially if high body temperature is part of the symptoms. Anesthesia given during surgery can also cause hair loss. Lupus which is an autoimmune disease can also cause hair loss or affect the hair follicles and hair cycle.
A major cause of hair loss is medication. Lithium based medicines and anticoagulants can lead to hair loss. Some treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, cholesterol synthesis blocking agents and Vitamin A doses, taken in large quantities, also inhibit the growth of hair.
A common cause of hair loss is stress. Researchers are of the belief that during episodes of stress, the sensitivity of the skin towards the male hormone androgen increases, causing an aggravation of a pre-existing genetic hair loss problem. Telogen Effluvium (diffuse shedding of hair) is often influenced
by severe levels of stress. Trichotillomania (pulling out of hair) and Alopecia Areata (patchy hair) have been associated with stress as well.
The growth of the hair slows down due to undernourishment. Undernourishment results in a deficiency of fats, basic amino acids and vitamins that are important for the growth of healthy hair. Research conducted in the recent times proves that hair shedding can also increase due to low folic acid levels, deficiencies in vitamin B-12 and low iron stores. Inadequate protein consumption, dieting to lose weight and excessive intake of certain fat soluble vitamins is also likely to lead to temporary hair loss.