What causes hair loss and thinning hair?

There are many possible causes of hair loss. It is important to discover the cause of your hair loss to get the right treatment and therapy for it.

Certain types of hair loss also occur more frequent in men or women.

Alopecia Areata, Totalis and Universalis

If you are experiencing rapid hair loss that is coming out in clumps? This could be a sign of an areata disease, Alopecia Areata, Totalis and Universalis. Alopecia areata is a non-contagious autoimmune skin disease in which your body’s own immune system sees your hair follicles as foreign, and so, attacks them causing follicle cell destruction and hair growth to completely stop. It can affect men, women, and even children.

Alopecia Areata – One or more bald spots or patches develop in a period of a day or days. It could start with a single bald spot but sufferers could experience multiple spots or larger patches.

Alopecia Totalis – if you have this condition, you will suffer total scalp loss including eye brows and eylashes, possibly within a week. Alopecia totalis is an extreme version of areata. Many things can trigger it, and unfortunately could be permanent.

Alopecia Universalis – with this condition, you’ll experience complete hair loss to your entire body, including scalp hair, ear hair, nasal hair, eyebrows, eyelashes, pubic hair, again possibly within a week. About 20% of people whith Alopecia Areata go on to develop Alopeica Universalis, including children.

There can be other reasons for rapid hair loss besides Alopecia Areata, Totalis or Universalis, but not are as sudden or severe.

Are you losing your hair slowly across your entire scalp?

Hair loss that develops gradually over many years could be one of the following conditions:

Telogen Effluvium – Three versions of this disorder are explained, including acute telogen effluvium – this can be confused with alopecia areata because both can develop very quickly. However, acute telogen effluvium causes thinning across the whole scalp (diffused), whereas areata is more localized and severe (small bald spots and bald patches).

Male Pattern Baldness – Androgenetic Alopecia

Male pattern baldness falls into the most common type of hair loss, called Androgenetic Alopecia.

If your experiencing receding temples, a bald patch at the back or both, this is tipical of male pattern baldness. However, some men might only experience gradual hair thinning from androgenetic alopecia.

In women, it usually develops as gradual thinning rather than severe baldness. It affects them in the same region as in men (i.e., front, back and crown) and this distinguishes it from the telogen effluvium conditions which involved thinning over the whole scalp.

Pregnancy – Postpartum Telogen Effluvium

Some women may experience hair loss due to pregnancy. This is usually caused by a combination of hormone imbalance, changes to your immune system and increased stress levels.

Some women may delay their pregnancy into their 30’s or 40’s. This delay may cause the body’s ability to restore normal hormone balance following childbirth. During pregnancy, female hormone rises, which encourages hair growth. However, after childbirth, there is a corresponding drop in female hormone levels, which can lead to hair loss.

Postpartum Telogen Effluvium is a hair loss condition due to hormonal changes due to pregnancy. It causes gradual hair thinning and hair loss and occurs within the first 5 months after giving birth.

Postpartum thyroiditis involves inflammation of the thyroid gland, and is thought to develop due to changes in the immune system during pregnancy, affecting approximately 10% of women after childbirth. This is a thyroid related hair loss condition, but is not permanent, and should go back to normal within a year.

Existing Medical Condition

Hair loss could occur due to an existing medical condition. As mentioned before, thyroid conditions such as Hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism and thyroiditis can all cause hair loss. Fibromyalgia is another medical condition that can cause hair loss. It is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. It is considered a mental disorder and affects about 2% of the population, mostly women.

Hair Accessories – Traction Alopecia

Source: Newsweek

Traction Alopecia or Friction Alopecia is hair loss due to accessories or hairstyles that are pulling, tugging, or rubbing at your scalp. People wearing tight braids, bands, caps, hats, helmets, clips that constantly pull, tug or rub against the scalp or cornrow hairstyle and weaves can cause hair loss. Although not considered a permanent hair loss condition, long term use of hair accessories can become a long-term problem.