Why Is My Hair Falling Out?

There are millions of Americans who have issues with hair loss. The fact is that it is normal to lose a certain amount of hair each day. However, when your hair loss becomes more frequent and in larger amounts, then there may be an underlying issue that needs treatment.

 

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, an average person loses anywhere from 50 to 100 strands of hair each day. This may seem like a lot but keep in mind that it's normal to lose and re-grow hair. However, when you aren't seeing any re-growth, then it's typically a sign that you may have an issue with your hair.

 

There are actually two types of hair loss, scarring and non-scarring. Scarring hair loss means that the hair follicle is being damaged and hair can no longer grow. Non-scarring means that you have hair loss but it does grow back. Hair loss can be attributed to a variety of different issues including heredity, illness and medications. When you are losing larger than average amounts of hair, and you don't know the reason, then it's a good idea to get a check-up that includes blood work.

 

How do you know when you have greater than average hair loss? For starters, you will see more hair falling out when you shampoo and comb your hair without tugging or pulling. You will notice more than usual amounts of hair on your hairbrush, pillow case, clothes, etc.

 

There are a variety of reasons for hair loss, including autoimmune diseases, severe illness, hormones, stress, poor nutrition, medications and even poor hair care. Even anesthesia from surgery can cause temporary hair loss. At this time, it's important to go to the crux of the problem. When you know the reason, then you can properly treat whatever underlying condition you may have. 

 

Unfortunately, not all hair loss problems are reversible. There are some medical conditions that can cause permanent hair loss. For example, alopecia is one of those conditions. Alopecia is an autoimmune disease whereby the immune system attacks the hair follicles, which can lead to scarring and permanent hair loss. Other autoimmune diseases such as Lupus, psoriasis or seborrheic dermatitis can also be a cause. In fact, there are about 30 different illnesses that can cause hair loss, including thyroid conditions and anemia. By treating the disease, hair loss can often be stopped or reversed.

 

So, what else can cause hair loss? Besides anemia and thyroid conditions, there are many other causes. These can include chemotherapy, certain medications, a severe illness or surgery, giving birth, menopause, low iron levels,  Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), extreme stress, physical trauma, dramatic weight loss, eating disorders, higher than normal vitamin A levels, hormones, and the list can go on and on. Further, hair loss can also be self-inflicted by using harsh products such as bleaches or dyes, frequent blow drying, frequent flat ironing, tight braids, cornrows, tight rubber bands, etc.

 

The bottom line is to take care of you and your hair. If you are experiencing more than normal hair loss, and you don't know the reason for it, then make an appointment to see your doctor. Ask him/her to check all your blood levels to see if there is an underlying condition or deficiency. Tell him/her of all your other symptoms and possible stressors that may have contributed to this problem. Knowing the actual cause of your hair loss hopefully will enable your doctor to recommend a treatment plan.

 

It is also good to know that if you have hair loss, there are many options out there today. Many women, even those with healthy hair are wearing wigs and extensions every day. Here's to you, your health and your hair!

 

Added to Women's Health, Anatomy, Symptom Definition on Mon 03/12/2012