Hair loss is a common problem that occurs both in males and females. In Few cases even children can experience hair loss due to some medical conditions. The falling of hair is a natural episode as, after a normal hair cycle, each hair will fall from the scalp. The hair cycle lasts for 2 to 3 years on an average. After completing its cycle and then completing a resting period, each hair falls from the scalp and new hair grows in its place. Hence, losing hair and growing new ones in its place is natural. However, when the loss of hair is more than normal and growth is not compatible with the loss, it becomes a factor of worry.

Causes of Hair Loss in Males, Females, Children

About Hair Loss:

Hair loss is a problem that almost every person experiences at least at some point of time in their lives. Sometimes, hair loss occurs due to breakage of damaged hair. However, it is different from that of losing hair from the roots, where there is no recurrence of hair or no new hair growth.

After about two years in the anagen phase or growth phase, each hair resides into a catagen or a transit phase that lasts for two to three weeks. During this phase, the hair follicle shrinks. Once this transition period is over, the telogen phase begins and in this phase, the hair rests for two to four months and finally sheds off. In the anagen phase, every person on an average grows 6 inch long hair. At a time, 90% of the hair on the scalp is active in the anagen phase and only 10% are in the telogen phase. An average hair loss number can vary within 50 to 100 strands a day. When the number reaches more than 250, it is deemed as a hair loss problem, as mentioned by the American Academy of Dermatology.

Types of Hair Loss:

  • Hair loss can be of two types – the permanent-pattern baldness or male baldness or common baldness and the female-pattern baldness. The baldness can be of different types such as –
  • Andogenetic Alopecia – Caused due to the effect of male hormone testosterone and is also a genetic condition
  • Telogen Effluvium – Caused due to traumatic health conditions like surgery, pregnancy, accident, etc.
  • Traction alopecia – Caused due to excessive pressure on the hair especially due to different hair styling techniques
  • Alopecia Areata – Caused due to immune system problems like thyroid disorders, etc.
  • Anagen Effluvium – Caused by different drugs, injections, medications, fungal infection, autoimmune disease or radiation therapies.

Common Causes of Hair Loss:

  • Genetic Reason for Hair Loss:

Genes play a very important role in your hair loss. If hair loss has been in the family, it will pass on to you. The Andogenetic Alopecia is a common example of this kind of hair loss.

  • Medications Causing Hair Loss:

Certain prescription medications, such as vitamin A supplements, gout medications, blood thinners, birth control pills, some arthritis medications, blood pressure medications, antidepressants and medications for certain heart problems are common reasons for hair loss. These medicines have potential side effects like hair loss.

  • Hair Loss Caused due to Thyroid Disease:

If you have an overactive or an underactive thyroid gland, then it is very likely that your hair will be lost at a rapid rate. However, with thyroid treatment, this type of hair loss can be reduced and prevented.

  • Physical Stress- As a Cause for Telogen Effluvium:

When a body experiences physical stress such as an accident, a surgery, any disease such as flu or any other severe illness that made the body weak, it can cause hair loss. This kind of hair loss is also known as Telogen effluvium. Anesthesia adds to this problem. However, the other factor associated with this problem is that when the stress is reduced, hair starts to grow back on the scalp.

  • Hair Loss Caused due to Anemia:

Poor diet, problems with iron absorption and loss of blood, are some of the causes behind iron-deficiency anemia. This type of anemia is a cause of hair loss associated with health conditions.

  • Hair Loss Caused due to Using Hair Appliances:

At many times, it is seen that using non-branded and cheap quality hair appliances and using them in the wrong method can lead to hair loss. When blow dryers, curling irons, straightener and similar appliances that use heat to style your hair are used on wet hair, it boils the shafts of hair or hair follicles, making the hair brittle.

  • Diseases and Medical Conditions and Treatment Side-Effects Causing Hair Loss:

There are many diseases that are associated with potential hair loss and these are cancer treatments, ringworm and other fungal infection in the scalp. In these diseases, the hair is lost gradually.

  • Too much Vitamin A and Deficiency of Vitamin B:

If you are on an overdose of supplements, medicines and foods containing Vitamin A, hair loss can be a persistent problem for you. Vitamin B on the other hand, should be taken adequately. Lack of Vitamin B can trigger hair loss.

  • Hair Loss Caused due to Lack of Protein:

If your diet does not supply enough of protein, it can be a significant cause of hair loss.

What Causes Hair Loss in Males?

Two out of every three men are seen to lose their hair by the time they reach the age of 60. There are different reasons for this baldness. Although the general reasons are also applicable on men, the most common and exclusive reason for male baldness is–

  • Male Pattern Baldness Caused By Hormone:

Male pattern baldness or androgenetic alopecia is most commonly seen to occur in males and all because of the presence of the male hormone testosterone. One of the derivatives of this hormone namely the Dihydrotestosterone or DHT has enmity with the hair follicles and under certain circumstances; it damages the hair follicles, leading to baldness.

What Causes Hair Loss in Females?

  • Pregnancy as a Cause for Hair Loss in Females:

Another very common cause of hair loss in women is pregnancy. The factor associated with hair loss related to pregnancy is that rather than losing hair during pregnancy, the women actually lose hair after they have given birth to the baby. This is because the childbirth process too is quite traumatic. Hormonal changes also contribute to this factor.

  • Hair Loss in Females due to Menopause:

During menopause, most women experience thinning of hair and lose their hair. However, within years, the hair again comes back on the scalp. But of course, it does not have the same fullness like young age.

  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome as a Cause for Hair Loss in Women:

This is a common medical condition that is found frequently in women. With this problem, hair loss is a persistent difficulty.

What Causes Hair Loss in Children?

Not only the adults, but also children experience severe hair loss. The different kinds of hair loss in children are –

  • Hair Loss in Children Caused due to Tinea Capitis: This is an infection that forms scaly, ring-like lesions and attacks the hair. This is a commonly spread contagious fungal infection that the school-aged children acquire causing hair loss. Flaky and scaly scalp and skin appears at the area of hair loss.
  • Alopecia Areata: In this hair loss condition, the hair on the scalp starts to fall suddenly, taking an oval pattern. The bald is not inflamed, but smooth. When the immune system of the child is weak, hair loss due to Alopecia Areata occurs and it is a rare phenomenon.
  • Telogen Effluvium: When most of the hair on the kid's scalp is in the telogen or resting phase, it is known as the Telogen effluvium. Injury, stress and medicinal side-effects can be causes for Telogen effluvium in Children.
  • Hair Shaft Trauma: When the hair on the scalp of a child experiences tremendous friction and consistent pulling, it is called the hair shaft trauma. It is cause of hair loss in many children. Trichotillomania is a mental condition that causes the hair shaft trauma to occur. In this condition, the patient suffers from mental illness and pulls hair obsessively as a phenomenon.

Coping and Preventing Hair Loss:

Hair loss is a persistent problem for many people. Some experience it hereditarily and some acquire it as a side-effect or impact of some other condition. Whatever the reason may be, it can be an emotionally traumatizing condition that might reduce your self-confidence. However, if you are suffering from this condition, you must understand that it will not stop you from living a normal life. By changing your fashion statement, you can certainly avoid public eyes. Moreover, what is most important is that you take hair loss as a part of your life and enjoy life as you did.

You can certainly try and prevent hair loss or at least decrease the amount of loss. In fact, with the different therapies, hair can be grown back on the scalp. Those, who are encountering hair loss due to deficiency or overdose of some other nutrients, can manage hair loss. All that needs to be done is restrict or increase the amount of nutrients and supplements according to the limit. If the hair loss is a side-effect of some medicine, it needs to be substituted by some other drugs. Those, who have not already got a smooth scalp and have hope to re-grow hair on the scalp, can still try the different home remedies such as –

  • Using hot coconut oil massage on the scalp
  • Make a pack of Indian gooseberry, henna and eggs
  • Apply onion and garlic juice on the scalp
  • Use licorice root and aloe vera gel to stop itching problems.

You can also see a good dermatologist to take help of certain medicines and other hair loss treatments. There are various artificial ways of fixing hair on the scalp that will give you the natural look, without depending on the wigs. This is an expensive option, but certainly a useful and safe way of having hair on the scalp.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: June 27, 2016

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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