Why do I have hair loss ?

by Dr.Ashwin Budihal on Dec. 1, 2020

Almost each and everyone of us who have experienced excessive hair loss, have tried to find an answer to the question . Why do I have hair loss ?

On an average a person loses about 50 to 100 hair per day and is considered normal. If anything exceeds this number or if you find a progressive reduction in the thickness of hair or bulk, then it's time to see your Doctor. The doctor will analyze your scalp, do certain tests and find out the reason behind excessive hair loss and treat accordingly.

Here we list a few common causes for hair loss, so that you can self evaluate about your condition.

1. Family history / hereditary factors - This is the most common cause of hair loss in men. The hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) produced in the body, binds to the hair follicles and causes gradual thinning of hair and eventually leads to baldness. Whether the Hair follicles are sensitive to DHT or not is genetically determined (depends on your family history). Hence some people get bald and some don't.

2. Hormonal factors – Numerous medical conditions can cause hair loss, either temporary or permanent. Medical conditions like Poly Cystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD), Congenital Adrenal hyperplasia, Hypothyroidism etc can lead to hormonal variations and thus cause excessive hair loss.

3. Alopecia areata – A condition where body’s immune system attacks one's own hair follicles leading to their damage and cause patchy hair loss. These patches gradually enlarge in size if left untreated. The course of the disease is unpredictable even with medications or treatment.

4. Telogen effluvium – A condition of the scalp characterized by excessive shedding or thinning of scalp hair due to early entry of hair into telogen phase (shedding phase). There are a numerous causes for telogen effluvium. Few of them are -

  • Febrile illness (typhoid, malaria, Tuberculosis etc)
  • Post pregnancy & lactation (due to hormonal changes)
  • Organ dysfunction (Renal failure, Hepatic failure)
  • Malignancies ( lymphoma, leukemia)
  • Mental stress, emotional disorders, depression etc

5. Scalp infections – A clean and healthy scalp, free of infections would reflect a good quality hair. Infections of scalp will cause damage to hair follicles and thus cause hair loss and baldness.

  • Recurrent folliculitis or furuculosis of scalp (bacterial infections)
  • Severe dandruff or Seborrheic capitis
  • Fungal infections – Tinea capitis

6. Scalp psoriasis – An auto immune condition of scalp, which presents as thick white scales can be a reason for hair loss at the site of lesion.

7. Drugs or Medications – People who take certain medications like Statins, beta blockers (propranolol), Carbamazepine, NSAIDs (chronic aspirin), anti thyroid medications(PTU), Oral contraceptive pills, Chemotherapy drugs etc experience severe hair loss.

8. Scarring alopecia – Trauma, burns, road accidents or inflammatory conditions affecting the scalp cause damage the hair follicles, leading to baldness .

9. Nutritional deficiency – Crash dieting & rapid weight loss, calorie or protein deprivation, chronic iron deficiency , zinc & multi vitamin deficiency.

10. Environmental factors – Smoking, Pollution, Physical & mental stress, repeated and prolonged use of hair care products like dye / styling gels , Repeated hair straightening etc weaken your hair follicles and lead to hair fall.

Don't neglect if you are facing severe hair loss issue. Ignorance can be turn out to be expensive ! Remember - ‘‘A stitch in time saves nine’’.

Try to evaluate from the numerous causes mentioned above as to what might be causing you lose your hair. Consult your dermatologist for further guidance.

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