myUpchar प्लस+ के साथ पूरेे परिवार के हेल्थ खर्च पर भारी बचत

Summary

Hair fall is a symptom of an underlying condition. Loss of more than 100 strands of hair each day is called as hair fall or hair loss and needs medical intervention. The causes can range from an easily correctable vitamin deficiency to a serious condition like chemotherapy for cancer. Most often, hair fall is easily treated using simple remedies like vitamin supplementation, stress release or withdrawal of the drug causing hair fall.

  1. Why does hair fall occur
  2. Hair fall reasons in women
  3. Causes of hair loss in men
  4. Diseases that cause hair loss
  5. Medications that cause hair loss
  6. Hereditary hair loss
  7. Protein deficiency causes hair loss
  8. Too much Vitamin A causes hair loss
  9. Hair loss because of cancer treatment
  10. Stress causes hair loss
  11. Hair fall due to sudden weight loss

The average hair growth cycle lasts two to three years with each strand of hair growing about one centimetre every month. The cycle consists of three phases: anagen, telogen and exogen. At a time, about 90 % of the hair on your scalp is growing (anagen phase) while the remaining 10 % are in a resting phase (telogen phase). In every three to four months, the resting hair falls off (exogen phase) and is replaced by new hair. This shedding and growth of new hair is part of the normal hair growth cycle. When hair fall occurs excessively in some regions of the scalp, and new hair does not replace the lost hair strands, the condition is called hair loss. Hair loss is a common health issue affecting both men and women. Normally, there are about 100,000 strands of hair on the scalp. Losing 50 to 100 strands of hair every day is normal as they soon grow back. However, it becomes worrisome when bald patches appear on the scalp indicating permanent hair loss. In medical terms, complete or partial loss of hair is called alopecia.

Hair loss in pregnancy

  • Pregnancy-related hair fall usually occurs following delivery. During pregnancy, the body’s altered physiological state causes an increase in the number of hair strands that are in the resting phase. Hence, following delivery, women may experience excessive hair fall. Increased hair fall after pregnancy is not a serious problem as the condition resolves on its own within three to four months of delivery. Also, hair fall after pregnancy does not cause any bald patches; thus, no need to be stressed out about post-pregnancy hair fall.
  • If you experience hair loss during pregnancy, you might be suffering from vitamin or mineral deficiency that can be easily corrected by supplements.
  • Hair fall may also occur due to abortion, stillbirth, and miscarriage.

Hair loss due to PCOS

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a syndrome that is characterised by the development of fluid-filled cysts in the ovaries, which affects their function in women. Thinning of hair due to hair fall is one of the common symptoms of PCOS.

Hair loss from over styling

Hairstyling and various hair care products may have a damaging effect on your hair, thus inducing hair loss.

  • Frequent bleaching and hair dyeing and regular use of hair sprays, gels, and other such products cause hair fall. Dermatologists recommend a minimal use of such products for healthy hair.
  • Blow dryers, hair straighteners, and curling irons expose your hair to very high temperatures. Blow dryers also dry out the moisture in the hair shafts making your hair dry and brittle. Straighteners and curling machines use much higher temperatures than a blow dryer. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends to air-dry the hair and then style the dry hair. It also recommends limiting the use of hair straighteners and curlers.
  • Hair clips and rubber bands can hold the hair too tightly leading to breakage and hair loss.
  • If you pull and tie your hair tight in hairstyles, such as ponytails, braids, and buns, too often, it may cause a form of hair loss in the forehead area known as traction alopecia, which gives rise to a receding hairline.
  • Excessive shampooing may also lead to hair fall. More than 100 strokes of combing and hair brushing in a day can also lead to hair loss.

Anemia causes hair loss

It is a condition in which the red blood cell count is lower than normal or the oxygen carrying capacity of these cells is reduced. Hence, these cells are unable to meet the oxygen demands of your body. The most common cause of anaemia is iron deficiency. Other causes of anaemia include deficiency of folic acid and vitamin B12, chronic inflammation, infections among others. The deficiency of these essential nutrients in anaemia leads to hair loss.

Hormones and genetic factors cause hair loss

A family history of hair loss in men and other genetic factors predispose a man to have hair loss as well. This predisposition leads to a change in the magnitude of response of the hair follicles to the androgens (hormones that play an important role in developing and regulating male traits and sexuality) released in the body. This is known as male androgenetic alopecia or male pattern baldness. This is the most common cause of hair loss in men and studies suggest that around 30-50% men are affected by it.

Helmet causes hair loss

If you travel long distances regularly on a two-wheeler, you should wear a helmet throughout your journey. Although wearing a helmet is mandatory for safe travel, long-term use of a helmet may damage your hair by increasing the stress on your hair or through excessive sweating. If you have problems of dandruff and excessive sweat, this may also cause hair loss. But, this doesn't mean that you stop wearing a helmet. There is a simple solution to prevent this problem. Tie a napkin or handkerchief on your head before wearing a helmet. The napkin will soak the sweat and prevent damage and loss of hair. 

Smoking causes hair fall

Smoking is a well-established risk factor for several life-threatening health conditions. It is also associated with various negative effects on the skin. Currently, several research studies indicate that smoking has a direct adverse effect on your hair growth. Cigarette smoke affects the dermal hair papilla (the indentation at the base of a hair follicle), and the genotoxins in the smoke damage the DNA of the hair follicle causing hair loss. Baldness caused by smoking can be prevented by being aware of the adverse effects of smoking and the positive impact of smoking cessation on an individual’s health.

There are about 30 diseases which have hair loss as one of their symptoms. The list of diseases includes but is not limited to hypo- and hyperthyroidism, anaemia, and cancer. Also, a significant amount of hair fall occurs during and after an illness which involves major surgery, flu, or a severe infection.

  1. Ringworm causes hair loss
  2. Infections cause hair loss
  3. Thyroid disorders cause hair fall
  4. Alopecia areata causes hair loss
  5. Eating disorders cause hair loss
  6. Hair loss due to Trichotillomania

Ringworm causes hair loss

Ringworm is a fungal infection that may lead to excessive hair fall. It is a contagious disease commonly seen in children. If it is not treated in time, it may lead to baldness.

Infections cause hair loss

Following a high fever or an infection, you may suffer from hair loss for a period of four weeks to three months. This type of hair loss mostly resolves on its own. Occasionally, it requires treatment. Also, an infection of the scalp also results in significant hair loss over a period of time. Conditions such as a fungal infection, dandruff, dermatitis in the scalp, and inflammation of the hair follicles (folliculitis) affect hair growth and cause hair loss.

Thyroid disorders cause hair fall

An underactive thyroid gland results in a reduced production of thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism) that can cause hair loss. The hair loss due to thyroid diseases can be cured by taking medications prescribed by your doctor. Also, an increased production of thyroid hormones (hyperthyroidism) also results in hair loss. In both the conditions, hair loss is seen all over the scalp rather than in specific areas. 

Alopecia areata causes hair loss

In this disorder, there is no hair formation in the hair follicle. Hair falls abruptly from its root, creating small, round, and smooth patches or on the scalp. Alopecia areata can affect children and adults of all ages.

Eating disorders cause hair loss

Anorexia is an eating disorder in which there is a loss of appetite along with a fear of gaining weight. Due to this, the individual either does not feel hungry or does not eat and receives incomplete nutrition. A deficiency of essential nutrients required for hair growth can lead to hair loss. Bulimia is another eating disorder where the person induces vomiting after eating, resulting in the deficiency of essential nutrients leading to hair loss.

Hair loss due to Trichotillomania

Trichotillomania is a disorder in which an individual pulls out his/her own hair. The individual may also feel an urge to pull out hair from other body parts like eyelashes, eyebrows, and nostrils.

Drug-induced hair loss involves two phases which are as follows:

  • Anagen effluvium
    It is the loss of actively growing hair. It may occur due to cancer drugs, colchicines (extract of colchicum plant), or due to poisoning with chemicals like arsenic, bismuth, and boric acid.
  • Telogen effluvium
    It is the loss of hair in the resting phase. The shedding of hair in the resting phase occurs due to medications, such as anticoagulants like heparin and warfarin; anti-hypertensives (to control high blood pressure) like beta-blockers and ACE inhibitors; hormones like oral contraceptive pills, hormone replacement therapy, and androgens; anticonvulsants (to treat epilepsy and seizures) like valproic acid, carbamazepine, and phenytoin; antidepressants and mood stabilizers; and other drugs like antithyroid drugs, cholesterol-lowering drugs, antipsychotic drugs, antianxiety drugs, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Heredity

Hair loss is common in both men and women. With advancing age, there is an increased thinning of hair and hair fall. The amount of hair thinning and hair loss varies from person to person, which is related to the familial pattern of hair fall and not to any medical condition. Besides heredity, this type of hair loss is also linked with ageing and hormonal changes (as in menopause) in the body. It leads to baldness, more commonly seen in men than women. Male pattern baldness can be seen at any age after puberty; about 80% of men suffer from hair loss by 70 years of age.

When the protein requirement of the body is not adequately met, as in conditions like kwashiorkor and marasmus, the severe deficiency of protein can lead to hair thinning and hair fall. In such conditions, the body tries to save the available protein for more vital functions. Cessation of hair growth is one of the ways by which the body compensates for a deficiency of protein. Hair loss can be observed only after two to three months of inadequate protein intake. Increasing protein intake can help to treat hair loss. You can increase the amount of protein in your diet by eating fish, eggs, and meat. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, you can add beans and nuts to your diet to increase your protein intake and treat hair loss.

Excessive amounts of vitamin A in the body due to more intake of oral or injectable supplements can cause hair loss. As soon as you stop consuming excessive vitamin A, the hair fall subsides and hair regrowth begins.

Certain cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiotherapy can also cause hair loss. These treatments lead to the destruction of hair follicles, a poor health status, weak metabolism and stress. However, this type of hair loss is not permanent, and hair usually grows well once the treatment is complete and the person starts recovering.

Hair fall can be triggered (half to three-quarters of total hair) by some kind of physical or emotional stress like the death of a loved one, divorce, high fever like flu, after a surgery, and severe infections. In such conditions, hair fall may continue for weeks to months after the episode of stress and decrease after six to eight months. Generally, this type of hair loss is temporary, but can also become a long-term issue.

If you lose about six to eight kilograms of weight in three to six months, hair loss can be observed. This is a common cause of hair loss and does not need any specific treatment as the hair regrows on its own when the person maintains a healthy weight and eats a nutritious and balanced diet.

और पढ़ें ...

References

  1. American Academy of Family Physicians. Hair Loss. [Internet]
  2. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: US National Library of Medicine; Hair loss
  3. American Academy of Dermatology. Rosemont (IL), US; Hair loss
  4. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: US National Library of Medicine; Hair Loss
  5. American Pregnancy Association. [Internet]; Pregnancy And Hair Loss.
  6. American Academy of Dermatology. Rosemont (IL), US; HAIR LOSS: WHO GETS AND CAUSES
  7. World Health Organization [Internet]. Geneva (SUI): World Health Organization; Anaemia.
  8. Trüeb RM. Association between smoking and hair loss: Another opportunity for health education against smoking?. Dermatology. 2003; 206(3):189-91. PMID: 12673073
  9. Sharma L, Dubey A, Gupta PR, & Agrawal A. Androgenetic alopecia and risk of coronary artery disease. Indian Dermatol Online J. 2013. Oct-Dec; 4(4): 283–287.
  10. Guo EL & Katta R. Diet and hair loss: Effects of nutrient deficiency and supplement use. Dermatol Pract Concept. 2017. Jan; 7(1): 1–10. PMID: 28243487
  11. Cranwell W, Sinclair R. Male Androgenetic Alopecia. [Updated 2016 Feb 29]. In: Feingold KR, Anawalt B, Boyce A, et al., editors. Endotext [Internet]. South Dartmouth (MA): MDText.com, Inc.; 2000-.