Top 9 Health Conditions That Cause Hair Fall

hair fall causes

Hair fall or hair loss is a widespread problem faced by people from all walks of life. While men are more likely to develop a hair fall problem as compared to women, the issue is nonetheless omnipresent. With changing lifestyle and habits, every one of us is most likely to develop a hair fall condition at some stage of life. While several diseases can also lead to hair loss, there are some common causes that may be behind your thinning hairline.

Top 9 Health Conditions That Cause Hair Fall

Here are the top 9 common hair fall reasons and what you can do to get rid of the condition.

1. Nutritional Deficiencies

Deficiency of important nutrients in the body is one of the leading reasons for hair fall. Extremely low levels of iron, zinc, Vitamin B or Vitamin D can lead to hair loss. Deficiency of Vitamin D is also known to cause Alopecia (an autoimmune condition that causes baldness)[1]. This condition was originally tracked down just to men, however, women are also known to be plagued by the condition.

To prevent hair fall due to such a reason, one must make sure to include a healthy balance of vitamins and nutrients in their diet. Nutritional supplements as prescribed by a certified doctor could also be very useful in treating this condition. As is the case with everything else, anything in excess could have a detrimental effect. Taking excessive protein or vitamin supplements is also not advisable, as it could lead to drastic hair loss.

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2.  Pregnancy

Pregnancy is one of the most common hair fall reasons for middle-aged women. Women do not usually lose hair during pregnancy. Post-childbirth, women generally report hair loss, as the rise in hormones during pregnancy cause the hair to grow thicker and fuller. However, post-pregnancy when the hormones return to normal levels, women are likely to experience hair loss. This hair loss can range from normal thinning of hair to severe loss of hair as well. You can easily reduce hair fall caused by pregnancy within a couple of months once your body recovers from the post-partum effects[2].

3.  Physical Trauma

When you experience physical trauma due to an accident, severe illness or surgery, you could have temporary hair loss problem. Since the stress caused to your body in such situations is sudden, it might affect the overall body functions. Such conditions can trigger a common hair fall condition known as telogen effluvium. Usually, when you have just experienced a sudden physical trauma, your body is still getting used to the unusual activities happening in your body which might result in hair shedding. Our hair has a natural shedding phase, and such conditions causing physical trauma can push your hair to shed more for a temporary period. If such conditions are the cause of your hair fall, you need not worry, as your hair will grow back normally once your body starts recovering[3].

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4. Traumatic Alopecia

Treating your hair with too many chemicals or too often can also lead to drastic hair fall and, in some cases, even baldness. Vigorous hair treatments and styling over several years can cause your hair to fall out. Excessive hot oil treatments, artificial hair color, chemical relaxers, or procedures such as weaving, tight braiding or cornrows can cause extreme hair fall problems. In fact, if these chemicals end up affecting your hair roots, your hair may never grow back at all.

In such a case, to prevent hair fall problems, you should exercise moderation in taking such treatments and take care during regular activities such as hot-ironing, and conditioning. If you do end up encountering hair loss due to such chemicals, the early cures might include drugs for the regrowth of your hair as prescribed by your doctor. The cures that you can utilize in the later stages could include hair implants or other similar surgeries[4].

5. Excessive Stress

Stress is a common reason for hair loss in men and women. Unhealthy work habits and hectic schedules not only cause fatigue and loss of stamina but also lead to severe hair loss problems in some people. In fact, emotional stress is likely to cause much more damage to your hair as compared to physical damage. While there is a lot of evidence that connects stress to hair fall, the development of hair loss problems is unlikely to stem from it. Stress is much more likely to exacerbate the existing hair fall problem as opposed to causing it.

Taking regular steps to combat stress could help in curbing hair loss caused due to anxiety or emotional stress. Getting more exercise, meditation, or if needed, even talk therapy can help to reduce stress, thus reducing hair fall caused due to it[5].

6.  Genetic hair problems

Hereditary and genetically passed conditions could also be the root cause of hair fall problems.  Similar to the Male Pattern Baldness, thinning of hair caused due to genetic issues can be observed in women too. Research suggests that a woman is more likely to have a receding hairline or hair thinning problem if someone in her family has had the same issue. Even though hereditary issues have not been narrowed down as a primary cause for hair fall in women, for men, this could be one of the primary reasons for extreme hair loss after a certain age. While hereditary hair problems are a definite issue, it is not usually as common as other causes that might end up leading to hair loss. In such cases, taking extra care of your hair and ensuring that you do not do anything to trigger the hair loss might help[6].

7.  Male Pattern Baldness

Male Pattern Baldness or Androgenetic Alopecia generally causes baldness on the top and front of the head in men. It generally starts with a noticeably receding hairline and thinning on the top of the head. It is one of the most popular hair fall reasons in men, and the causes include stress, anxiety or in most cases, genetics. Since it is a common condition, many treatment options are now available to fight this type of hair fall. Drugs such as Minoxidil and Finasteride are generally prescribed to prevent hair fall in such cases, or even in more advanced stages; the doctor may suggest hair implantation or surgery[7].

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8. Cancer (Chemotherapy)

The drugs that are injected during chemotherapy can lead to severe hair loss as well. The hair fall might be characterized as mere thinning of hair to complete baldness depending on the dosage of drugs being injected into the body. Since the primary aim of these drugs is to destroy cancer cells and their growth quickly, they also end up destroying the healthy ones in the body[8]. The hair loss during such a time is not just limited to the scalp, and one may end up losing eyebrows, armpit hair, pubic hair and other body hair in the process as well. If hair fall is caused due to chemotherapy, the hair usually regrows at the normal rate, after the course of treatment is completed and the effect wears off.

9.  Hypothyroidism/Hyperthyroidism

Did you know that your thyroid gland might be responsible for your hair loss too? Hypothyroidism is a condition in which your thyroid glands are not producing enough hormones. In such a case, you might start losing hair on the scalp as well as the area around your eyes. Hyperthyroidism, on the other hand, refers to a condition where your thyroid glands generate excessive hormones. In both cases, there is a hormonal imbalance which disrupts the regrowth cycle of hair that you shed. As a result, the regrowth of hair on your body and scalp may either stop or slow down to a major extent. While you might not be able to prevent hair fall in this case, your hair will regrow at a normal pace once the thyroid disorder is under control[9].

Hair fall and hair loss is a growing concern for both men and women. Knowing the common hair loss and hair fall reasons will help you in avoiding some and preparing for others. Some may suggest that consulting a dermatologist may help in reducing hair fall, be sure to check whether that would be helpful. Comment below and let us know whether any of the reasons mentioned above is the cause behind your hair fall.

(The article is reviewed by Dr. Lalit Kanodia, General Physician)

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Hair Loss Treatment: Medicines For Hair Fall And Hair Regrowth

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[1] Gerkowicz A, Chyl-Surdacka K, Krasowska D, Chodorowska G. The Role of Vitamin D in Non-Scarring Alopecia. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2017;18(12):2653.

[2] SCHIFF B. Study of Postpartum Alopecia. Archives of Dermatology. 1963;87(5):609.

[3] Whiting D. Traumatic alopecia. International Journal of Dermatology. 1999;38(S1):34-44.

[4] Tosti A, Gray J. Assessment of Hair and Scalp Disorders. Journal of Investigative Dermatology Symposium Proceedings. 2007;12(2):23-27.

[5] Botchkarev V. Stress and the Hair Follicle. The American Journal of Pathology. 2003;162(3):709-712.

[6] Richards J, Yuan X, Geller F. Male-pattern baldness susceptibility locus at 20p11. Nature Genetics. 2008;40(11).

[7] Charlish P. Male pattern baldness. Prime. 2011;1(2):68-71.

[8] West H. Chemotherapy-Induced Hair Loss (Alopecia). JAMA Oncology. 2017;3(8):1147.

[9] Vincent M, Yogiraj K. A descriptive study of alopecia patterns and their relation to thyroid dysfunction. International Journal of Trichology. 2013;5(1):57.

[10] Tosti A, Misciali C, Piraccini B, Peluso A, Bardazzi F. Drug-Induced Hair Loss and Hair Growth. Drug Safety. 1994;10(4):310-317.

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