According to the American Hair Loss Association, more than 50% of women experience hair loss at some point in their lifetime, and by the age of 50, 85% of men are balding.
Although this can be due to aging, there are also underlying factors that can contribute to hair loss.
Stress is known to negatively impact the body in a multitude of ways, which can include the loss of hair.
During periods of prolonged, chronic stress, the body focuses on preserving the vital organs and foregoes tasks that are not necessary for survival. This includes hair growth. More specifically, stress can trigger a large number of hair follicles into a resting phase, thus, growth is no longer occurring.
If this continues for a few months, these hairs may fall out by simply washing or brushing your hair, which can lead to a noticeable amount of hair loss.
A deficiency in essential nutrients such as iron can lead to the loss of hair.
This is due to the fact that iron helps red blood cells transport oxygen throughout the body. A lack of iron means red blood cells cannot deliver enough oxygen to hair cells in the body which can result in hair loss as well as brittle nails and fatigue.
Medications such as oral contraceptives can lead to hair loss. Oral contraceptives can cause the hair to transition from the growing phase to the resting phase at a faster rate, increasing the rate of hair loss. This form of hair loss is called telogen effluvium and large amounts of hair can fall out during this process.
Other medications that can cause hair loss include:
- Acne medication containing retinoids
- Anti-clotting drugs
- High blood pressure medication
A common cause of hair loss is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). This condition leads to cysts on a woman’s ovaries. PCOS is rooted in metabolic dysfunction and is often associated with an imbalance of insulin. When insulin levels are elevated, it can increase the amount of testosterone produced, which in turn can cause hair loss.
Hair loss that shows up in patches may be linked to an autoimmune condition. Alopecia areata is associated with significant hair loss as the immune system attacks hair follicles and it can be triggered by severe stress.
Other autoimmune conditions that are linked to inflammation can also result in hair loss. Inflammation involves increased blood flow and temperature as the immune system is triggered. In the scalp, this can result in thinning and eventually loss of hair loss.
When the production of T3 and T4 is disrupted, many bodily processes are disrupted including hair development. Such thyroid dysfunction interferes with the development of the root of the hair and can lead to hair falling out that is not replaced by new growth.
Hair loss linked to thyroid dysfunction involves the entire scalp as opposed to specific areas. The hair is uniformly sparse but this can be improved once the thyroid disorder is properly treated for an extended period of time.
Hair loss can leave you feeling insecure, overwhelmed, and impact how you see yourself. If you are suffering from hair loss and feel there is an underlying issue that is not being addressed, contact Holtorf Medical Group today.