What Causes Excessive Hair Loss?

At any one time only around 90 percent of your scalp hair is growing, the remaining 10 percent is in its resting phase.  After two to three months the resting hair sheds to be replaced by new hair. So it is perfectly normal to lose a few hairs everyday as part of the hair cycle. However, when the amount of hair fall is more than normal, it can be considered as excessive hair loss.

But what are the causes of excessive hair loss?

The genetic make-up of the person is pointed to be the primary reason why most people experience hair loss. The scientific term for this is androgenetic alopecia or male pattern baldness which can happen to both males and females. Usually for men, androgenetic alopecia is characterized by thinning of the hair on certain parts of the scalp like the crown or recession of the hairline. In women, hair loss happens all over the head but it rarely leads to total baldness. There are also non-genetic factors that can result to thinning of the hair. Stress, whether from personal life or work related, causes the body to react and stop producing needed nutrients to grow hair normally. Hair loss caused by this is temporary and can be averted if the person controls his/her stress level or totally free him/her from stress. Physical trauma like a death of a family member or a car crash can also result to hair loss.

About half of the population experience hair loss due to natural aging. While no one can stop aging, proper diet and controlling stress levels can help keep hair follicles healthy thus slowing down the amount of falling hair.  Another cause of rapid hair thinning is hormonal imbalance. For some women, thinning of the hair occurs about 12 weeks after giving birth. This is because certain levels of hormones related to pregnancy go high which prevent normal hair to fall down. But once these hormone levels return to their pre-pregnancy levels, the cycle of hair growth/loss goes back to normal. Imbalance on hormones such as androgens (for male) and estrogens (for female) can cause massive hair loss. The abnormal activity of thyroid gland which can be related to thyroid disease may also be a factor in hair loss. Correcting these hormone imbalance and treatment of thyroid disease may stop hair loss. For children, hair loss occurs when there is fungal infection on the scalp. However, it can be easily treated with antifungal medicines. Using tightly fitting hair rollers, wearing cornrows and pigtails can put an enormous amount of stress to the scalp which leads to scarring and eventually, permanent hair loss. The hair can begin to grow back if the pulling of the scalp is stopped in time. Hair follicles can also be damaged by chemicals in hair products and hot oil treatments which also result in hair loss.

Finally, certain types of surgery or illness cause rapid loss of hair. This usually happens 3 months after the person has undergone the surgery. There are certain types of medicines that can contribute to hair loss such as those used in chemotherapy, medicines for gout, blood thinners or anticoagulants, antidepressants, and birth control pills. Excessive Vitamin A intake can also lead to hair loss as well as deficiencies from certain nutrients including iron, amino acid, L-lysine, zinc, or vitamins B6 and B12.